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RSR ROBBINS Research - Canada Politics June 5, 2013
  Jun 05, 2013

A targeted survey of 2011 voters in the general federal election in Canada. Respondents were sourced from ROBBINS lists from the following regions and urban areas of the country: Greater Vancouver region, Edmonton CMA - Calgary CMA - Greater Winnipeg region - Greater Toronto region - Montreal CMA - Metropolitan Quebec (City) - St John's Newfoundland and Labrador Metropolitan area -Saint John CMA - Halifax Metropolitan area. This survey represents 2,454 Canadians May 28-June 4, 2013) on the subject of current popularity for and support of main party leaders and parties, their personal assessment of where they are located on the political spectrum - and finally their views on current federal government policy on amortization rates. The Margin of Error of this ROBBINS Sce Research (1998) survey is 1.98% 19 times out of 20 @ 95% confidence.

Question #1
Which Canadian political leader and party would you currently support if a federal general election were held tomorrow? (Percentages depicted as 100% decided with Undecided noted)
Justin Trudeau and Liberal Party of Canada    33 %
Stephen Harper and Conservative Party of Canada    29.5 %
Thomas Mulcair and New Democratic Party of Canada    27.5 %
Elizabeth May and Green Party of Canada    4.5 %
Danielle Paille and Bloc Quebecois Party    4 %
Other Party/Independent    1.5 %
Undecided    10 %
Question #2
One year ago Conservative finance minister Jim Flaherty reduced the maximum amortization perod on a home mortgage from 30 years to 25 years. Amortization periods in Canada had been 40 years at one point in history. Critics of the 25 year period suggest that it frustrates entrance into the housing market and ultimately hurts the economy, while supporters suggest is keeps debt in check and ultimately stabilizes the Canadian economy. In your opinion should the Conservative government increase the amortization perod on household mortgages above the current 25 year period?
Yes    48 %
No    27 %
Question #3
Which of the following response choices best describes where your political ideology is most likely to be on the political spectrum with the very right being high conservative ideology and the very left being more social democratic?
I am more to the very right    13 %
I am to the center right    19 %
I am in the middle    30 %
I am to the center left    21 %
I am more to the very left    8.5 %
No position    8 %
Question #4
Is the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms an important and relevant document to you?
Yes    44.5 %
No    41 %
Commentary
The Conservative government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper is between a rock and hard place. Their 2011 national election totals of 39% have been frittered away under (30%) appearing more like former Reform/Canadian Alliance totals of years gone by - support lost the last 2 years following the 2011 election - with the significant beneficiary of Conservative losses being the Liberal Party of Canada-now under the leadership of Justin Trudeau.
This Conservative Party support loss is evident across the nation but most evident in Ontario (29%) and British Columbia (29%), Canada's 1st and 3rd most populous provinces, results which reflect a decrease in voter support estimated to be one third from their 2011 general election results. In direct contrast the federal Liberal Party has leapt into the lead as Canada's most popular party with support increases in every province and most evidently Ontario (37%), Quebec (26%) and British Columbia (31%)*.
*(BC PremierChristy Clark may want to inhabit her upcoming fresh off upset election win Cabinet with more centrist - liberal MLA's particularly around fiscal policy - to keep the Harper government more arm's length from fiscal public policy in that province).
The federal New Democrats under Thomas Mulcair remain statistically equivalent in support to the Conservatives and Liberals but have dropped in support overall from 2011 reflected most in Quebec (37%), where the bulk of their elected MP's are based, and nominally in Ontario (25%) sufficient to explain one half of the (8%) of the overall drop from their 2011 general election baseline totals.
(32%) of Canadians are to the right of center, while (29%) are to the left and (29.5%) are in the middle.
Conservatives dominate the very right with (92%) of decided respondents who declare themselves to be "very right" also supporting Stephen Harper and Conservatives (question 3). (68.5%) of respondents who support the centre right position also support the Conservative Party in question 1, however (26%) of respondents who support Justin Trudeau and the Liberal Party of Canada also declare themselves to be centre right on the ideological political spectrum.
These numbers reflect the reversal of fortunes for Stephen Harper's government permitting the Justin Trudeau led Liberal Party of Canada to become number 1 in the eyes of Canadian voters. This is the third consecutive ROBBINS survey reflecting a three way political race in Canada with the federal Liberal Party in the lead.
A distinguishable portion of respondents (68%) who declare themselves 'in the middle' of the political spectrum support the Liberal Party of Canada, while (20%) of respondents 'in the middle' supports Thomas Mulcair and the federal New Democrats-(2.5%) 'in the middle' respondents supports Elizabeth May and the federal Green Party, while (4%) 'in the middle' supports Daniel Paille and the Bloc Quebecois.
Stephen Harper's support from the middle of the political spectrum is negligable and is dervied from Saskatachewan and Alberta - (where in part the middle of the political spectrum (to them) may be perceived as more to the right - elsewhere).
Federal Government Lending Policy:
Nearly one in two respondents believe that the Conservative government should increase the amortization period from 25 years for mortgages on homes, while slightly more than one in four disagree with changing the current policy.
Respondents in Vancouver (54%) reflect the highest support for increased amortization periods above 25 years - but also the highest resistance at (29%).
The cities of Montreal and Quebec City reflect the second highest support (51%) and (50%) respectively, as well as the least resistance to a change in policy at (22%) and (19%).
Toronto (48%) "Yes", and (28%) "No" - Edmonton (47%) "Yes" and (25%) "No" - Calgary (45%) "Yes" and (27%) "No" - Winnipeg (45%) "Yes" and (26%) "No" - Regina and Saskatoon averaging (44%) "Yes" and (27%) "No" - Halifax, Nova Scotia - (48%) "Yes" (28%) "No" - St. John New Brunswick (47%) "Yes" - (28%) "No" - St. John's Newfoundland and Labrador (46%) "Yes" and (25%) "No" round out the response locations relating to our question relating to the fiscal policy of the Conservative government on amortizations periods.
It is difficult to assess with any certainty the impact of government policy a year after the fact, but it is clear that Canadians who have an interest, no longer support the Conservative's position on 25 year amortization periods for home mortgages. The rationale that higher amortization periods of 30 and 35 years was responsible for increased consumer debt did not make a lot of sense, given that the government finds high debt to GDP ratios acceptable - and amortization periods reflect long term debt.
From the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada: "The amortization period on a mortgage is the total length of time it will take to pay off your mortgage. If your down payment is less than 20% of the purchase price of your home, the longest amortization period is 25 years." "Some people choose a longer amortization period because it lowers their mortgage payments. This can make the difference between buying or not buying a home."
The Conservative policy may or may not have improved stability in the important housing market, but it detrimentally affected real estate liquidity, as new purchasers with income capable of servicing debt may not have had the 20% to qualify for the longer amortization periods. Post the 2008-2009 'recession' one has to wonder whose money is it to loan anyways - the Conservative Government of Canada or the banks?
With the US housing market appearing to make the turn for the better, interest policy at the Bank of Canada needs to remain constant until the government lifts this protectionist measure on amortization periods which is suffocating the home purchase market for many Canadians which in turn has a powerful impact on the economy -and where timing is everything.
A continued 25 year amortization policy and defensive position on the economy- may suggest that the Conservative government under Stephen Harper anticipates low employment increases, an admission of failed government policy to stimulate the economy at a time when the US economy including home sales is steadily improving and Canada is not. If US employment numbers reflect improvement to any degree in conjunction with other good news out of the US economy - the theory before us may then be that-- a democrat president has handled severe economic adversity better than a conservative prime minister.
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms:
Canada's Charter of Rights and Freedoms under our Constitution was produced with the drive and vision of former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. The document was intended to protect Canadians rights. Signed by Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Trudeau over 30 years - the document continues to evolve with decisions from the Supreme Court of Canada. Although a majority of decided Canadians deem the Charter to be both "important" and "relevant" less than (50%) consider it to be so. The highest percentages of "Yes" come from Ontario at (51%) with the lowest in Quebec (37%) and British Columbia (42%). Respondents in the Atlantic Provinces of New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Newfoundland and Labrador answered (48%), (47%) and (50%) respectively.
As a legal document purporting to be for all Canadians - Canada's Charter of Rights of Freedoms under the Canadian Constitution is still in its (relative) infancy - the coming years will be important in determining whether or not the centre piece of what it's drafters had envisioned for Canadians in terms of values and rights will become more meaningful to more Canadians.

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