The Radio Equalizer: Brian Maloney

10 April 2005

Canadian Conservatives Gain On Liberals

Martin's Survival Struggle
Did American Blogger Hurt Liberal Party In New Poll?

Canada's hopelessly corrupt and overconfident Liberal Party may have a harder time maintaining power, especially if a new election were to be called, according to a new poll.

While the Liberals have been slowly losing support for years, several things kept them in power, including a divided opposition. In last year's national elections, a new and unified Conservative Party of Canada helped to hold the Liberals to a minority government for the first time in ages.

A minority government exists, under the parliamentary system, when a party takes a majority of seats in the House of Commons only by forging alliances with smaller parties.

The Gomery Inquiry has investigated a particularly sinister corruption scheme, where millions in taxpayer money was funneled to Liberal Party coffers via advertising agencies, made to look like legitimate expenditures.

The ban on publishing its proceedings, put in place by Judge Gomery and only lifted on Thursday, drove interest in the investigation to stratospheric levels.

When Canadians evaded the ban by leaking information to American blog Captain's Quarters and "Captain Ed" Morrissey, a firestorm erupted across Canada, with Liberals and the media they dominate expressing outrage over public disclosure about their dirty dealings.

Canadians were threatened with criminal prosecution for merely linking to Captain's Quarters. It saw an enormous surge in readership as Canadians sought out its details.

Now, a newly released poll shows Liberals have but a four-point lead over the Conservatives, down from 11 in the previous survey:

(Reuters- 10 April 2005)

Cash-For-Favors Scandal Hits Canada Liberals: Poll

TORONTO (Reuters) - Canada's ruling Liberals, hammered by a scandal and holding a precarious minority in Parliament, are just 4 points ahead of the Conservative Party in a poll released on Saturday, suggesting they could be in trouble if a snap election were called.

The Ipsos-Reid poll found 34 percent of respondents would vote for Prime Minister Paul Martin's Liberals, while 30 percent would vote for Stephen Harper's Conservatives. The Liberals held an 11-point lead in a poll taken in February.

The Ipsos-Reid poll, conducted for the Globe and Mail and CTV, was taken this week as reports of damaging testimony from the Gomery inquiry -- set up to investigate allegations of government waste in federal advertising programs in Quebec -- began to filter out to the public.

"What this shows is the first significant movement in voter opinion since the end of the last election campaign (last June)," said Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos-Reid.

A publication ban on the details was lifted on Thursday, releasing most of the testimony of ad executive Jean Brault. He alleged that senior Liberals in Quebec asked for and received big kickbacks in return for government contracts.

There's no doubt Gomery has hurt Prime Minister Paul Martin's party, but would support have dropped so suddenly, if Captain's Quarters hadn't leaked its testimony and proceedings?

Martin's in a tough spot now: if he calls a snap election, the Liberals might lose to the Conservatives outright, or in a Tory-third party coalition, perhaps with Quebec nationalists.

If he hangs on and doesn't call an election, Martin risks the government collapsing outright in one of several ways.

Two exciting developments from this story: we've now seen the potential future power of bloggers, an ability to help bring down a government, or change the world.

Secondly, American conservatives are finally emerging from their recent isolationist sentiments and learning to work with like-minded opposition activists, in relatively unfree countries such as Canada.

The notion that American conservatives are alone in this world is a media fantasy that too many on the right have been conditioned to believe.

Do we have friends in France? Germany? Elsewhere? It's time to find out.

(For the latest Canadian developments, try Colbert's Comments, Small Dead Animals and CIVITATENSIS.)


  • You definitely have friends up here in Canada, in spite of what the mafiosi of our national government have led people in the US to believe for all these years.

    By Anonymous kaqchikel, at 11 April, 2005 01:21  

  • Thanks, that's good to know, we're following events in your country closely. Good luck in what will hopefully be upcoming elections.

    By Blogger Brian Maloney, at 12 April, 2005 11:23  

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