A new Canadian government will be chosen on January 23. Five main parties are fighting for this aim. According to the last poll, the Conservatives, under Stephen Harper, could obtain 39% of the voters, Liberals, Paul Martin, 27% and respectively NPD (New Party Democratic), Jack Layton, 16%, the Bloc Québécois, Gilles Duceppe, 12% and lastly the Green Party with 5% of the votes hopefully. And so if we factor out the Bloc Québécois, which represents Québec only, and the Greens, who are too marginal, then in fact we have three opposing parties.
The NPD is located on the left and is fighting for the same values as the similar parties in Europe with moderate tendencies (as in comparison to Europe). For his leader, it is very important to consolidate the party's position for the next years. His priorities are in particular: protecting seniors, creating better for children and youth, defending and improving public health care and cleaning up corrupt government. But by refusing to talk about what they had lobbied for under a Liberal or Tory scenario, the NPD presents a muddy picture to voters about what they will be able to do after Canadians go to the polls January 23. Layton doesn't also seem to have a wider appeal even though he looks very clever. With the actual government, party’s role has been to counterbalance Liberal's power.
Liberal is a centre party. His leader, Paul Martin, defends the good results of the last ten years economic growth (+40%) and has the wish to continue for a better Canada with Quebec. His personality is cool, more appeal and he is very close of people, however he seems a little tired by a very hard campaign across such a big country, with several campaigning stopovers, two double public debates in December and January, including one day in English and the following in French. He has also faced up to charges of corruption, not about himself, but surrounding his government. And now how Tories are surging in the poll, Liberals are attacking them with controversial ads, like in particular: “A Harper victory would put a smile on George W. Bush's face”, Harper is also against the Kyoto agreement, a better regulation for guns, pro choice for women, marriage between people of same sex, and in favour Iraq’s war, station armed soldiers in the streets of Canadian cities... Liberal ads tries to paint Harper as an extremist with ties to the US and the Bloc Québécois. This is a classic attack but strategically, it seems wrong to attack this viciously right now, just ten days before the elections. So Martin's popularity has taken a hit in the poll, now standing at 25%, especially after the last debates in comparison with Harper, who has 32% of good opinions.
Is this all said and done ? From the way I see it, I will answer yes, unless there is a spectacular change. Harper who has seemed dry, very academic and unapproachable is changing. The Globe and Mail of January 12, on the first page, shows a picture of Harper who is throwing a snowball at photographers,
showing him in a different light, more appeal, cool, “a warmer Harper !” He has also assured Canadians that he has evolved from when he lost the elections 18 months ago. We are going to a Tory victory, January 23, and perhaps not very far from a parliamentary majority ? In my opinion, whatever the party, Canada, has serious challenges for the future, in particular: pollution, climate change, native people, immigration, water policy, urban and country planning, invasion of guns from USA, crime, drug, poverty, health care etc…but also many assets like dynamism, cultural diversities, natural resources and a beautiful country with a gorgeous nature.
NB La traduction en français n'est malheureusement pas disponible, cependant rassurez-vous les prochains articles seront en français, ce qui sera aussi un peu moins laborieux pour moi. Et pour ceux que le sujet intéresse vous pouvez vous référer au quotidien en français Le Devoir, mentionné en lien. A bientôt...