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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics September 16, 2007
  Sep 16, 2007

A random sample of 2,400 respondents throughout Canada between September 6-15, 2007. This deluxe ROBBINS poll features a margin of error of 2.2-3.0% based on the ROBBINS formula of evaluation, 19 times out of 20-95-97% competency/confidence. Put these numbers in the vault-

Question #1
There are news reports speculating that the United States might be heading for a recession. Canada’s economy historically follows the United States with a six month time lag. This, coupled with a rising Canadian dollar which affects US purchase of Canadian exports may affirm the possibility of future recession in Canada. If Canada is forced to confront the real possibility of an economic recession which ‘type’ of government in your opinion is BEST suited to deal with it? (rounded to nearest one half)
A majority government    65 %
A minority government    24 %
Undecided    11 %
Question #2
Prices of Canadian homes and real estate have jumped dramatically over the past few years. In your opinion over the next few years what will happen to the price of Canadian real estate? (rounded to nearest one half)
It will continue to increase    28 %
It will stay the same    35 %
It will decrease    37 %
Question #3
Which leader and political party is BEST suited to manage Canada’s economy in the coming years? (rotated) (rounded to second decimal)
Stephen Harper and Conservatives    45.13 %
Stephane Dion and Liberals    23.12 %
Jack Layton and New Democrats    23.77 %
Gilles Duceppe and Bloc Quebecois    5.76 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party    2.57 %
Question #4
The Royal 22nd Regiment is a famous French Canadian infantry regiment, known as the Van Doos (vingt deux), who have in the past months been introduced to the military theatre in Afghanistan. This regiment has a long history of bravery through both world wars and Korea fighting on behalf of Canada. Do you unconditionally support these French Canadian troops currently fighting in Afghanistan? (rounded to nearest on half)
Yes    71 %
No    29 %
Undecided    01 %
Question #5
Do you support the extension of Canada’s participation in Afghanistan past ‘the end’ of 2009? (rounded to nearest one half)
Yes    38 %
No    48 %
Undecided    14 %
Question #6
Which of the following BEST depicts how you see yourself as a citizen in this country? (rotated) (rounded to nearest one half)
I am a Canadian    79.5 %
I am a Federalist    2.5 %
I am both a Canadian and a Federalist    03 %
I am a Canadian but not a Federalist    04 %
I am a sovereigntist    4.5 %
I am not a citizen of Canada    6.5 %
Question #7
Recently, former Progressive Conservative Prime Minister Brian Mulroney released a book wherein he was very critical of former Liberal Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. While he was alive, Mr. Trudeau seldom had much good to say about Mr. Mulroney. Of these two Canadian Prime Ministers, for whom do you have the most respect?
Brian Mulroney    30 %
Pierre Trudeau    29 %
I don’t Know/Can’t Answer    44.5 %
Question #8
In your opinion was former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien’s political footprint good or bad for Canada?
Good    26.5 %
Bad    71 %
I don’t know/Unsure/Undecided    23 %
Commentary
Observations:
A clear majority of respondents are of the opinion that a ‘majority government’ is BEST if Canada is confronted with an economic recession. The highest number choosing a majority “(a)” are located in Alberta (84%), with BC (67%) and Ontario (66%) following. Is there a correlation between Alberta’s history of majority governments and its extremely buoyant GDP per capita?
The highest number of respondents for minority government are in the Atlantic Provinces (38%). The highest ‘undecided’ pool of respondents is also in the Atlantic Provinces (23%).
The Atlantic Provinces have a history of quasi economic poverty, which explains in part why their political leaders are such ‘bitches’ when they feel threatened on this front particularly as it relates to oil revenues and equalization payments from provinces to Ottawa. I would probably feel the same way if I were them, but act as Prime Minister Harper has if I were he.
(63%) of Canadians are of the opinion that real estate prices will stay the same or increase over the next few years, while (72%) are of the opinion that it will stay the same or decrease over that same period. This means that (46%) of Canadians are ‘somewhat optimistic’ about real estate while (54%) are ‘somewhat pessimistic.’ This split in economic confidence (as it relates to real estate particularly) may explain why the Bank of Canada has been sending almost ‘schizophrenic’ signals pertaining to interest rates over the past four months. Respondents in this ROBBINS poll in Vancouver are slightly more inclined (46.5%) to be somewhat positive, while respondents in Toronto (44.5%) reflect a less ‘somewhat positive’ outlook. Of the two, I prefer the Toronto indicator because that city is a more comprehensive and better grounded financial district, and BC is living in a clearly false economy where GDP per capita is floundering or static. (‘Native’ British Columbians do not have a lot of disposable income).
In British Columbia, Premier Campbell is a good promoter, but has proven to be a weak financial manager, launching a movement in part toward the erstwhile BC Conservatives who have captured a lot of cache with the party name label, but not the players ‘yet’ to devastate the BC Liberals. However 65-70 BC Conservative candidates in a provincial election (2009) reaching ‘Delanian’ totals of even 4% plus rising interest in the BC NDP in that province federally and provincially (federally 33%) will make an NDP win in 2009 far more likely than any of the ‘suspect’ press gives credence to (the aboriginal vote actually favours Carole James, leader of the BC NDP-because it permits the augmentation of their voter base with independents, reformers, and others who do not want land from the agricultural land reserve used in land treaties, and who have become fed up with claims based on a myriad of reasons which include the fact that aboriginals began their ’quest’ for ‘spiritual lands’ which has now evolved into a desire to develop condos-casinos).
Give any settlement money to the women and children, family by family and stop this unabated whoring of the taxpayer so that lawyers, consultants, politicos and Aboriginal Chiefs share the largesse. They won’t do it this way, because there is no way to roll dirty money into bigger deal for political brokers to be paid if the settlement money goes for the real aboriginals who need it. The condo conversation, race based fishing and other bias laws, causes a lot of revulsion among the people.
The BC Liberals or BC Conservatives would do well to bring on Vancouver Conservative MP David Emerson who has the intellectual dexterity and the experience to manage through these types of complex economic times, while Mr. Campbell operates more on a wish, prayer and backroom deals which is kind of 90’s. The people are too well informed for these olden acts of politicians.
Similarly in Ontario, Premier McGuinty is a good man and a decent leader, but if as the forecasting in this ROBBINS poll suggests, (that the country may be heading for choppy economic waters), the Chief Executive skills of Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party leader John Tory may be what the province will opt for, particularly when so many naysayers in this poll ,are looking to NDP leader Jack Layton (Howard Hampton) to ensure the bottom doesn’t fall out of the economy with confused policy on taxation. Tory has shown he has the grit by sticking to his guns on his education announcement (which makes McGuinty’s good record on education look somewhat incomplete. I would be surprised based on the abstract of this ROBBINS poll if Tory can’t knock out McGuinty over policy and economic issues. John Tory need to convince the voting public in Ontario that he and only he can manage the economy properly. He needs to make this argument convincingly and unequivocally. McGuinty needs to assure the public that because of his stewardship the economy is just fine. Ontario’s NDP leader Hampton needs to capitalize on the fact that one quarter of the people in the province don’t trust either market liberals or conservatives on the economic question.
In Quebec, the rising trend toward support for Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s measured and calculated leadership plus his attention to detail to Quebec’s ’needs’ is taking hold, garnering traction and moving forward and his numbers will be up somewhat dramatically in that Province in the next election (mid 30’s). Current federal leader Stephane Dion has the economy third on his list as a priority, but if I were he, I would make a more concerted effort to wrap that 140 IQ of his-more around matters economic. He will have to consider this when contemplating further party position on the environment, which remains attractive to many Canadians (see other ROBBINS polls), but who also don’t understand the kind of money which may be involved. The economy and the environment are not necessarily mutually inclusive policy discussions if the overall economic picture isn’t rosy. Between saving the planet and surviving, people will pick the latter short term. His party’s political future has a six month to one year window, while environmentalists have given us a few more than that before we implode.
Economic events in the United States, the war in Iraq, Democratic and Republican nominations and 2008 Presidential race will feature vigorous discussion about the United States economic future. If China continues to be the factory for much of the free world, while enduring massive pressures relating to environmental abuses, and a declining consumer confidence in Made in China products, coupled with huge trade deficits on the part of the U.S. in its trade relations with China, PLUS some talk of export taxes, the ripple affect on economic policy on all western democracies and related stock markets- could be ‘incredible‘. The ability to manage economies may ultimately be the number 1 issue in all elections, which are taking place now in the United States, and will likely occur in Canada over the next six months given these ROBBINS numbers.
Stephen Harper has clearly made his point that he can manage the country, and although he may not be ‘loved and adored‘, he is unquestionably respected and should convert this as quickly as can reasonably be expected (given the complex world of politics generally and the more demanding world of minority governments specifically) into votes.
The aforementioned, plus the rising Canadian dollar impacting on Canadian exports to the United States and other factors such as British Columbia’s (Vancouver’s) dependence on Hong Kong investment in BC real estate holdings, rising structural debt, and potential Olympic size deficits create a situation where Institutional financial leaders will not have an easy time keeping the positive ’groove’ of rising real estate prices going ‘up’. In Canada there isn’t enough cash flow among the middle class to maintain mortgages and maintain consumption levels. Housing prices will need to relax to ensure a manageable market. Real estate gurus who pay to advertise for themselves on radio and television propagate their own self aggrandizement in real estate matters won’t be anywhere to be found if the real estate environment sours. BC (particularly) is heading into dicey waters where so much inventory is held by Chinese investment ‘Bonds’ glued together by desperate political trade offs and Made in Switzerland management techniques designed to impose new world order efficiencies on municipalities, governments and other institutions sufficient to be cause for some serious alarm to those concerned about Canada’s independence and devotion to democratic ideals.
Just less than one half of respondents in Canada are of the opinion that Stephen Harper and his Conservative Party are BEST suited to manage Canada’s economy. Once again the highest number of respondents choosing the Prime Minister and his party on the economy are in Alberta (72%) with the lowest in the Atlantic Provinces (35%) and Quebec (40%).
If the potential threat of economic recession raises its ugly head, and the economy is a dominant election issue, watch for Stephen Harper to win a clear majority government. If the economy begins to sour AND big bucks are going to Afghanistan (predominantly allocated towards combat), I would (respectfully) reserve judgement.
Question #4 relates to the Van Doos French Canadian infantry currently in Afghanistan. This fighting force (like Canada’s military) is known for its toughness and bravery. The highest support for the Van Doos in Canada comes from Quebec (74%) where the province is gushing with pride for their own fighting men. In Quebec City, respondents supported the Van Doos by (78%).
(As an old barroom brawler I can attest to the fact that rural French Canadian men are not folks you want to easily pick a fight with. I think it’s the fabulous music. French Canadian women for my money are tougher than a lot of men from other countries (and also the most beautiful)).
The support for an extension of Canada’s participation beyond 2009 is supported by a corresponding (41%) of Quebecors in this poll. Ontario supports the extension at (42%). (politics is an unpredictable lifestyle to be sure). Alberta, BC, Sask, and the Atlantic Provinces were all in the mid 70’s support for the Van Doos while Alberta supported an extension past 2009 (59%), Saskatchewan (54%), Atlantic Provinces (44%) and BC (43%). As manipulative as this question may be, including the fact that few respondents (spoiled ballots) noticed the question permitted the extension to the END of 2009, it nonetheless provides some obvious insight into the continued support for Canada’s troops, (when support for the war may be lower) and the undeniable pride and support that Quebecors have specifically for the Van Doos, who form part of the overall Canadian military in Afghanistan.
The lowest support for the Van Doos came from Ontario with (66%) where the majority support for the troops, and specifically the 22nd is tempered with the sense in this poll that Ontario in the midst of an election where the future economy of the province is so important, is wary of overspending in Afghanistan, a war which many respondents in this poll believe either the United States will co-opt as it begins to look to eventually leave Iraq and take credit for success in Afghanistan, or partner nations will stick Canada (once again) with the workload and little credit for the success.
Most importantly, we wanted to see how Quebec would respond to this question and Stephen Harper should be delighted that a province with a distinct (lack of) taste for war and conflict, will set that aside in light of the participation of its beloved Van Doos. Of all the good political decisions the Prime Minister and his party have made, this one has to be one of the brightest.
Former Canadian Prime Minister Trudeau had all the charisma while PM Brian Mulroney had the better sense, and at the end of the day, probably understood what was best for Canada. This poll reflects the fact that while the press still treat Mulroney like shit, he was one of the best Prime Ministers the country ever had. While Trudeau hoped to avert the legacy of The War Measures Act by creating a disturbing flawed Charter for his ‘friend’s, (thank you My Lord and yes my friend and I are making quite a lot of money today) any reasonable person whether they liked him or not, understood that Meech Lake was necessary, and Quebec the second largest province and an original partner MUST become a signatory to the Constitution. If we cannot accomplish this we remain an unfinished country.
Jean Chrétien had a good run, but he was for the most part unchallenged and arrogant, and his political legacy reflects the thin short term of spoils that devotion to political correctness deservedly brings.

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