In the Globe and Mail today there was a Leger Poll suggesting that the Grits are 11 points ahead of the hapless CPCers:
"The problem isn't the leader, it is the party and its social policies," pollster Jean-Marc Léger said in an interview yesterday. "The Conservatives have not shown they can be a credible alternative to the Liberals. Despite a full year of minority [Liberal] government, despite the sponsorship scandal, despite the fiery debate over the budget, the Conservatives have not made any inroads across Canada. In fact, they have lost some ground. And the problem isn't Stephen Harper.....Part of the Conservatives' problem, the survey suggests, may have more to do with the number of Canadians, especially in Quebec and Ontario, who are mistrustful of Mr. Harper's stand on social issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage as well as his pro-U.S. positions.
globe and mail
I am amused to see the SSM position coming home to roost.
When I, and a few righty bloggers like Sean at Polspy
and Nick at Ghost of a Flea
said we couldn't vote for the CPC simply because of its position on SSM we were roundly condemned by our more partisan Tory friends.
Their argument was that the vital thing was to elect a Consevative government and to do that the Tories needed all hands on deck.
Along with my principled position on SSM being the right thing to do for equality before the law reasons, I was also convinced that the anti-SSM position was political suicide in urban Canada. Not just on the issue itself but on what the issue symbolized.
Now I have little time for Leger polls, they do yo-yo. But the trend they indicate confirms my suspicion the CPC has made exactly the wrong choice of cleavage issue. What they should have focused on was debt repayment, tax reduction, service improvement and responsible government using the Adscam fiasco as the spring board to rip into the Liberals spend until you drop fiscal management. Instead, on matters fiscal, they wander around behind Martin yelling "me too". Which means their cleavage issue is SSM which makes them look like bigotted hicks and lets the Grits off the drubbing they should be taking on dumb ass ideas like federal daycare.
I have not the slightest clue what Harper's personal beliefs on SSM are. I suspect, like many of us of this generation, he might well see it as a non-issue at a personal level.
But what Harper and the CPC did was, when faced with the opportunity to take a stand in favour of an equal rights position and run with that agenda into the many areas where rights are not equal, cave to the socons.
Maybe they thought they needed to in order to keep the old Reform Party folk on board, or maybe they were intimidated by the Focus on the Family/anti-abortion people taking on and winning nominations. Or maybe they simply were asking the wrong questions in the overnights: "Are you in favour of gay marriage?" will poll very differently than "Do you support equal rights for all Canadians?"
Whatever the reason the CPC and Harper collapsed and it is costing them big in urban Canada, Quebec and, apparently, on either side of the 401.Update:
The Globe runs an article
on how the Focus on the Family evangelical Christian socons have been taking over CPC riding associations. All fair and democratic but suicidal for the Tories if they hope to win government.
"The Defend Marriage Coalition engaged in a concerted effort to help pro-marriage candidates become nominated," Dr. McVety said.
"There is a desire to see pro-marriage nominees as candidates right across the country. We know that we have 141 pro-marriage MPs now and our hope is to achieve a pro-marriage Parliament."
globe and mail
Would you like a torque with that spin Dr. McVety? It is hardly as if people seeking the right to be married are, well, anti-marriage
Now that I am linking to Kinsella again, great spin on the CPC's theocon dilemma:
Well, if it's true, they're done like dinner. Stick in the proverbial fork, man.
But it's also an opportunity for Stephen Harper. Let a few more ridings get hijacked, then make a big show out of refusing to sign their nomination papers. Kick out the wackos, if need be.
Kills two birds with one stone: gets rid of a bunch of single-issue troublemakers. And gets you Ontario.
This one's a test.
Of course that would pretty much kill Harper's commitment to party democracy and leave a bunch of fundys disinclined to vote Tory - but it would be a balance against VRO.