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November 4, 2005
Liberals Take Body Blow From Gomery

Now that the other Gomery Inquiry shoe has dropped on the Liberal Party, the Canadian electorate has begun to deliver its own verdict on the corruption that rose to the highest levels of government. Fresh polling by the Global National and Ipsos shows that the Liberals have lost seven points almost overnight and that their main rivals, the Tories of the CPC, have picked up four and now find themselves in a virtual dead heat (via Newsbeat1):

While Federal NDP leader Jack Layton flirts with the possibility of pushing a Christmas election, an exclusive Global National/Ipsos Reid poll shows the Liberals taking a heavy beating in popularity, dropping seven per cent since the Gomery Report was released Tuesday. ...

According to the poll national vote support for each major Federal party current sits at:
31% for Paul Martin and the Liberals (-7 points)
30% for Stephen Harper and the Conservatives (+4 points)
19% for Jack Layton and the NDP (+1 point)
5% for Jim Harris and the Green Party (unchanged)

A majority of Canadians have, for the first time, decided that the Adscam corruption scandal demonstrates that the Liberals should not control the executive. The Liberals lose on that question by a whopping 16 points, 54%-38%, indicating that the exoneration of Paul Martin in the final Gomery Report has done little to shore up the reputation of the Grits. The Liberals did not face that kind of daunting judgment from the electorate even during the actual testimony in the spring, when Martin barely held onto power by peeling off enough help from the NDP and the disloyal girlfriend of the Tories' deputy leader.

Martin has fought back this week, trying to woo the NDP back into the fold with a new health-care deal. Last spring, Martin coughed up over $5 billion in spending to satisfy Jack Layton's demands for NDP patience in calling for the Gomery report before any new elections. Now, with Layton considering a bold Christmas election, Martin promises to root out supposed corruption in the delivery of medical services to convince Layton to ignore the corruption that perpetuated Liberal rule in Canada:

A crackdown on double dipping by doctors will be part of a proposal by the minority Liberals today to gain the support of the New Democrats to stave off defeat in the House of Commons.

Health Minister Ujjal Dosanjh is drafting the offer to the NDP as the government tries to survive the fierce political fallout from Justice John Gomery's blockbuster findings on the sponsorship scandal.

Double dipping refers to a practice in which some doctors offer patients the same services in the insured public system or more quickly in private clinics for higher fees. Some medicare advocates have been urging Ottawa to guarantee that the public health system be kept completely separate from privately delivered services. ...

Although the practice of double dipping is not widespread, both Layton and Dosanjh have expressed concern about it and Layton, in his talks with the Liberals, has been demanding a ban on it in the Canada Health Act. Such a provision would head off any future attempts by the provinces to allow it. Dosanjh and New Democrat MP Jean Crowder, the party's health critic, are expected to meet this afternoon to discuss the Liberals' health-care proposals. If the offer meets with Crowder's approval, there will be discussions between Layton and the Prime Minister.

In other words, the Liberals want to buy off Layton with a promise to keep Canadians from accessing medical care through private payments for faster service. They are perfectly willing to throw seriously ill Canadians under a bus to make a slimy deal to keep themselves in power -- and Jack Layton appears willing to accommodate such a bargain, at least for a moment.

Keep your eyes peeled on how this works out. With the numbers falling -- and privately, the Tories think the numbers have underestimated their true support -- this will be the time to give the Liberal government the final push. The CPC and BQ must strike while voter outrage hits its peak, or risk the apathy that so quickly arrived after the testimony that comprised the Gomery Inquiry went public in the spring.

Sphere It Digg! View blog reactions
Posted by Ed Morrissey at November 4, 2005 6:01 AM

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