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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics November 27, 2006
  Nov 27, 2006

A random telephone sample of 535 respondents throughout Canada’s three largest provinces representing (70%) of Canadian voters between November 23 and 27th, 2006. Some of the random respondents were garnered from an internal sample of previous ROBBINS Sce Research responses, on a blind basis (telephone numbers only) from corresponding areas in each of the three provinces referenced, including but not limited to: Greater Vancouver, Coquitlam, Kelowna, Prince George (BC). Montreal , Quebec City, Hull (Quebec); Toronto, London, Scarborough and Sudbury Ontario. For efficiency purposes: potential respondents were first asked if they ‘generally vote in federal and provincial elections’ before they were asked any other questions. Question #1 was IN FACT asked last and responses were rotated to the best of caller’s abilities. This poll conducted between November 23 and 27th, 2006 within the context of a ‘quasi-national’ poll has a margin of error of 5.0%, 18 times out of 20 @ 95% competency. This poll was funded by New Trend Optical, proprietor Jim Van Rassel (604) 942-9300.

Question #1
For what federal political party did you vote in the last federal election?
Conservatives    37.5 %
Liberals    29 %
New Democratic party    19 %
Green party    06 %
Bloc party*    8.5 %
*Bloc only offered in Quebec-#'s shown are relative to all 3 provinces in total     %
Question #2
Do you agree with Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s parliamentary motion that Quebec “is a nation within a united Canada…. but will never be independent”?
Yes    58 %
No    42 %
Question #3
The federal Liberal party of Canada will select a new leader in the next week, and there is a strong likelihood that the country will go to the polls in the next few months. Have Stephen Harper and the Conservatives done enough to earn your vote?
Yes    40 %
No    60 %
Commentary
This poll of Canada’s largest provinces: Ontario (255) respondents, BC (155); Quebec (125) reveals that a clear majority of Canadians agree with Prime Minister Stephen Harpers’ Quebec “is a nation within a united Canada, but will never be independent” statement. What is amazing is that (61%) of respondents in Ontario agree with this motion! (58%) of Quebecers agree with the motion and (52%) of British Columbians agree with this Conservative statement on Quebec’s role within the country. (25%) of the Bloc supporters agree with this motion, while (92%) of respondents in British Columbia who indicated they voted for the Conservatives in the last federal election (Q#1) support the motion. A handful of respondents in BC who indicated they supported the New Democrats did not support the motion, while (27%) of respondents from Quebec indicated they supported the Conservatives in the last election.
With this announcement (and possibly others), the Conservatives have ‘busted through’ in Ontario and particularly Quebec, and lost little in British Columbia as it is likely to positively influence progressive Conservatives in that province, while a handful of Reform Conservatives continue to cry foul. While the Tory announcement on Quebec has benefited the party, it appears to have helped the federal Liberals as well. The advantage is more to the Tories as their apparent support in the city of Montreal is on the rise.
50 respondents in total were counted from the city of London, Ontario where 31 respondents indicated they supported the Prime Minister’s Quebec motion, while 18 respondents in that city indicated they voted for the Tories and 17 indicated they voted for the federal Liberal party (after the fact of Question #2-{see methodology}
Conclusions/Glen P. Robbins The world is a busy place. The world of Canadian politics over the past two weeks has become a very busy place. A race to the wire to determine the next federal Liberal leader, and a series of spectacular political announcements by Prime Minister Stephen Harper, on the heal of some otherwise pedantic dialogue between the Chinese and Canadian governments, provides the colorful backdrop to some dramatic political scene changes in this fast developing storyline of ‘O Canada 21st century’.
China quickly became a ‘who cares’ with the explosion of exciting and unexpected announcements from the Conservative government. China is essentially a zero sum trading partner, and PM Stephen Harper calls that country on its awful human rights record. Politically astute in the extreme with a sense of timing that would make Charlie Watts blush, the Tory PM drops the second ‘shoe’ by advancing a motion that declares that Quebec “is a nation within a united Canada”.
The federal Conservative party and Prime Minister Stephen Harper blew the proverbial lid off the federal political scene with this recent announcement and responses in this poll clearly reflected this. Although the precise significance of this announcement may not yet be making the rounds in cocktail bars, and at the soccer field, it will sooner than later, and it will be all anyone is talking about. Without question the western argument that 10 provinces are equal and thus Quebec should not be considered in the manner the Conservative motion sets out, is out of time with the development of Canada as a total sovereign country. In principle this criticism is true, in practice it can never be. It is far too rigid and thus poses potentially greater harm to the country if the obvious is not considered. This is not an intellectual stretch, although for some it may be a political one. If other contrarians suggest that a similar recognition should be provided to first nations than I say perhaps, but insofar as Canada’s history as a sovereign country is concerned, the first remedy must be with Quebec. The focus of this necessary remedy to Quebec falls to an amendment, not an entirely new Constitution which is not something the country can stomach. Within the context of the word nation, and given Canada’s history, this motion is quite obviously in step with our countries current advancement. To ignore it, becomes more a matter of denial, and accordingly as much as psychological shortcoming of its detractors than a sensible position against the motion.
I did not want to like Michael Ignatieff but he is extremely talented, there is no question that Bob Rae is a professional, Gerard Kennedy is a cool alternative, and I always like Quebec politicians, so Stephen Dion is a very interesting federal Liberal candidate, but Stephen Harper’s announcement on Quebec revealed that he controls the political agenda, and the potential implications of a Quebec nation within a united Canada as a just and reasonable response to the realities of our wonderful countries evolution is very exciting. Could this be the beginning of a “True New beginning”? Gerard Kennedy will probably regret that he chose to go against the motion in the final days before the federal Liberal leadership contest, or had expected to lose and has a plan to be kingmaker. This is a long way to go to communicate the fact that you haven’t mastered a second language. If Liberal delegates follow Ontario on this, than the right approach is to support the Prime Minister. If Bob Rae endorses the motion he buries Mr. Ignatieff in his own hand notes on the subject, while Stephan Dion may want to sit this one out, but if he does, he loses any opportunity to become the federal Liberal leader. As I have suggested, it would appear that the Prime Minister has decided the Liberal leadership contest for them.
Canadians are feeling pretty good about themselves, and are reaching out to Quebec. I believe Quebec is reaching back, and that is what makes this Conservative motion so significant. On the political ROBBINS scale this is a 9.
This is a bombshell announcement and what isn’t for sure is how much water the Bloc ‘ship of state’ is taking on right now. Gilles Duceppe maneuvered as well as anyone could, but I think he’s hurt, though perhaps not mortally. I hope Jack Layton has something interesting to do, while Elizabeth May is confronted with either a marginal (but noteworthy) benefit or a loss depending on how she responds.

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