RATTAN’S RUMBLE: Canadian federal politics in state of flux

Stephen Harper PMO photo
Stephen Harper PMO photo

CANADIAN federal politics is in a state of flux.

But there are some indicators:

1. The Conservatives under Prime Minister Stephen Harper are headed for defeat in the next election – even if Harper tries to spring a surprise in spring by calling an election instead of waiting until fall (the federal Liberals say they are keeping that in mind as they nominate candidates around the country) – unless there are some dramatic developments.

2. The NDP under Tom Mulcair are firmly in third place – and so firmly are they there that that’s where they will remain. I can’t see any development that could possibly change that.

3. The federal Liberals under Justin Trudeau are headed for victory next year – unless Trudeau makes some horrible, horrible, horrible mistake or mistakes. Yes, I used ‘horrible’ three times because, rightly or wrongly, too many Canadians seem absolutely infatuated with the young, fresh face that evokes memories of Trudeaumania (dad Pierre Trudeau was prime minister from April 1968 to June 1979, and again from March 1980 to June 1984).


THE latest Nanos weekly tracking (ending August 15) figures show that the Conservatives actually hit a 12-month low in accessible voters, losing support from males.

The report noted: “The proportion of Canadians who would consider voting Conservative is at 36.1 percent (a new low) compared to a high of 44.1 percent and a 12 month average of 39.5 percent.

“In contrast 53.5 percent of Canadians would consider voting Liberal, 44.3 percent would consider voting NDP, 30 percent would consider voting Green and 30.8 percent of Quebecers would consider voting for the BQ.”

What is more, the report noted: “Trudeau is opening up a lead on the preferred Prime Minister front with  31.8 percent of Canadians identifying the Liberal leader as their preferred choice, followed by Harper at 25.5 percent, Mulcair at 18.7 and May at 6.3 percent respectively.”

Also: “Of note, a review of the index tracking strongly suggests there has occurred an erosion of positive perceptions towards the Conservatives among male voters.  A corresponding erosion has not occurred among female voters.  Both the NDP and the Liberals have over the past weeks improved their index scores among male voters.”


SO what’s wrong with the Conservatives?

Harper and his Conservatives seem to be living in a bubble – tenaciously clinging to the same strategies even when they clearly do not work. They think that by repeating them endlessly, they will somehow manage to convince Canadians that they are right.

Do they really believe that Canadians are so dumb?

As I have written several times before, no matter what distorted and false propaganda that Harper and the Conservatives have hurled at Trudeau, especially on the MARIJUANA front, nothing has been able to make a dent in his popularity – in fact, it all goes up in smoke, so much so that even doctors groups have refused to take part in a government anti-marijuana campaign!

Hmmm, please edify me: Why would the Conservatives want to launch such a campaign to “protect” our kids NOW? What were they doing (or should I say “smoking”) all these years in power?

Is it because we are going to have an election soon?

And do the Conservatives’ really believe that immigrants (non-white groups like South Asians and Chinese) will be swayed enough by all this propaganda against Trudeau’s idea of legalizing marijuana (he wants it to be regulated and taxed as is done with alcohol) that they will vote for them?

The fact is that MOST Canadians, especially British Columbians, just do not think marijuana is a big deal. Poll after poll has shown that.

And in the South Asian community, it’s ALCOHOL – not marijuana – that is causing huge problems. We all know that.

Harper’s systematic destruction of environment and health inspection standards, his attack on a slew of organizations such as Statistics Canada, his attack on the gun registry and his blatant pro-Israel policy has actually frightened decent Canadians.   

His only supporters now are the hardcore Conservatives – who visible minorities actually fear! – and they aren’t enough to get him a majority again.

That fact has been reflected in poll after poll ever since Trudeau took over the Liberal Party.



Justin Trudeau Photo: Chandra Bodalia
Justin Trudeau Photo: Chandra Bodalia

ON the other hand, Trudeau appears to be young, fresh, relaxed, honest, warm, friendly and highly approachable to all Canadians – in stark contrast to Harper who comes across as frigid, distant and untrustworthy.

That has many wondering if someone like JASON KENNEY should take over from Harper – before it’s too late!

Yes, Trudeau lacks the intellectualism of his dad – and he will never come anywhere close to his dad’s stature – not for a long time anyway.

But Canadians just want a change from the frosty and slimy ways of the Harper regime.

There is no other explanation really for Trudeau’s remarkable steady – and growing – popularity with Canadians.

The consistency of the polls so far gives solid cause to believe that Trudeau can become the next prime minister.

However, Trudeau needs to choose his candidates with care and not let dirty lobbyists, especially in the ethnic communities, MISLEAD him or he might end up ruining his image.


MULCAIR is no Jack Layton.

MP Sana Hassainia who just quit the NDP, accusing Mulcair of being too pro-Israel, said: “For me, a party leader should be loved like Jack Layton and not feared.” Mulcair has been accused of muzzling his MPs on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. 

Mulcair has failed to fire up his ranks – and all polls show that.

Indeed, if current polls hold until election time, I know many NDP supporters will vote for Trudeau just to get rid of Harper and his Conservatives.

So don’t be surprised if many NDP MPs end up losing their seats.



Tom Mulcair Photo: Chandra Bodalia
Tom Mulcair Photo: Chandra Bodalia

INDEED, it will be interesting to see how Canadians vote in the next election.

It may mark a NEW CHAPTER in Canadian politics – and culture.

It’s going to be terribly exciting!