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The political realignment in Canada last month may be more significant than first thought. When Canadians elected Stephen Harper and the Conservatives as a minority government, their modest victory was thought to have chiefly been the result of the series of financial scandals surrounding the Liberals. An Ipsos-Reid poll shows, however, that the electorate may instead have become more conservative than previously thought. Majorities in Canada would not object to the Tories pursuing a broad and controversial agenda in their new government:
A majority of Canadians say they would not support the opposition parties voting the Conservatives out if they try to cut the GST or pass legislation banning same sex marriage:
* 57% would not support bringing down the government if they “try to pass a law to cut the GST by 2% over their term” (39% would support bringing the government down if they tried to do this).
* 54% would not support bringing the government down if they “try to pass a law that makes same sex marriages illegal” (41% would support bringing the government down if they tried to do this).
Slim majorities would not support bringing the government down over sending troops to Iraq or limiting access to abortion.
* 51% would not support bringing the government down if they “send Canadian troops to fight in Iraq” (44% would support bringing the government down if they did this).
* 50% would not support bringing the government down if they “try to pass a law that limits a woman’s access to abortion” (45% would support bringing the government down if they tried to do this).
The only exception is on the issue of health care.
* Canadians are divided over whether the government should be brought down if it “moves to give private for-profit health care a bigger role in Canada”. Forty-six percent say the government should not be brought down while a slightly higher number (48%) say it should.
It's important to note that this does not translate into majority support for these proposals. It does mean that Canadian voters are open to debating the issues instead of treating them as holy dogma and unfit for political review. That indicates more flexibility and openness to traditional Conservative positions than was first thought from the election results. The Tories do not need to walk on eggshells or hide their values when working in Parliament; Canadians want an open process and appear willing to consider any reasoned point of view.Sphere It View blog reactions
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