Opinion polls suggest that Canada will have another minority Conservative government after the nation votes again, in May. Analysis of the latest EKOS poll suggests that the Liberal opposition led by Michael Ignatieff is doing better among younger, but less likely-to-vote Canadians and the Conservatives are doing better among seniors. The Conservatives are also raising more than twice as much money as the Liberals – and more than all the other parties combined.
One opinion poll even has the Canadian Tories 14% ahead.
Canada goes to the polls – in about six weeks' time – after Stephen Harper lost a confidence vote in parliament.
The presence of a large number of separatist MPs from French-speaking Quebec mean that it is very hard for any mainstream Canadian party to now win enough votes to form a majority. Canada is a left-leaning country but the Left is balkanised – splitting between the Liberals, NDP, Greens and, to some extent, the Bloc Quebecois.
This won't stop Harper trying, however, and the Globe and Mail reports his hope for a breakthrough among women voters to give him those crucial extra seats. The last budget included a "tax credit for caregivers; relief for medical expenses and a tax credit for children enrolled in arts and crafts programs" as part of this female-friendly Conservatism.
Stephen Harper recently completed five years as PM and we reviewed his record here. Terence Corcoran for the National Post has argued that the Canadian Conservatives have been transformed by politics rather than have transformed politics themselves:
"There is no Harper Nation. After five-plus years in office, the Harper Conservatives have singularly failed to change the Canadian ideological landscape. Instead, Canadian politics changed the Conservatives. In power, they transformed themselves into another basely partisan party that willingly and even eagerly pandered to whatever the political three-ring circus put on display. This week’s budget, in which $2-billion in loose cash was promptly distributed to a score of special interests and political agendas, left in place a $40-billion deficit for 2010 and solidified a $100-billion increase in the national debt over five years."
Corcoran may be correct but Harper has never been able to govern as a majority Conservative when he has needed other parties to pass every budget.