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ELECTION 2011: Vote for Democracy

Day 28

NEWSPAPER ADS: The Council of Canadians will be running an ad campaign in Metro newspapers from coast to coast starting this coming Tuesday. The ads, mostly on the front-page of the newspaper, have the potential to reach more than 200,000 voters. You will see our ‘Vote for Democracy’ ads in those newspapers, but also on our e-mail lists, on social media, and more. For an advance look in video-format, go to http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fxfMcwARE5o. You can also see it as the top banner on our website now at www.canadians.org.

PERIMETER SECURITY: Toronto Star columnist Tim Harper writes, “Perhaps nothing better illustrates the evolution of political thinking in this country than the complete silence on the campaign trail as the relationship between Canada and the U.S. is being reshaped. A generation ago, a historic trade deal with the U.S. dominated a dramatic campaign. Ten years ago, when a U.S. ambassador called for a North American security perimeter, this nation convulsed. But in 2011 Stephen Harper can launch secret negotiations on a security perimeter with the U.S. and no one blinks. Harper’s government was so worried about push back on its negotiations with President Barack Obama that it deliberately kept plans secret while it knit together its best sales job on a wary electorate. It identified opponents (including the Council of Canadians). …Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff is concerned only with the process, not the goal. …NDP Leader Jack Layton has worked hard to present a more moderate face to voters and, now surging in polls, he is not about to jump on a chair and scream about the U.S. bogeyman. …Part of the collective shrug can be explained by the fact that any deal involving Obama goes down much better in Canada than anything that was negotiated with George W. Bush. …Lack of transparency and accountability are the hallmarks of the Harper government, but opposition to that governing style was supposed to be central to the Ignatieff campaign. On this count, it looks like Harper got away with one.”

PARTY PLATFORMS: CTV reports, “According to results of the Nanos poll conducted for CTV and The Globe and Mail, more than half of voters continue to rank party platform as their top deciding factor. That far outstrips those whose decision is based on the party leader (21.2 per cent), local candidate (14.8 per cent) or traditional support for a particular party (8.8 per cent).” To see those platforms, go to:
Conservatives – http://www.conservative.ca/media/ConservativePlatform2011_ENs.pdf
Liberals – http://cdn.liberal.ca/files/2011/04/liberal_platform.pdf
New Democrats – http://xfer.ndp.ca/2011/2011-Platform/NDP-2011-Platform-En.pdf
Greens – http://greenparty.ca/files/attachments/green-book-2011-en.pdf
Bloc Quebecois – http://www.blocquebecois.org/accueil.aspx

CONSERVATIVE A NO-SHOW AT CHAPTER DEBATE: The Langley Advance reports, “Four of five of Langley’s federal election candidates took part in a forum Monday organized by the Council of Canadians at the Langley Seniors Resource Centre. The lone no-show was incumbent Conservative candidate Mark Warawa. Organizer Peter Thompson suggested in an email that Warawa decided ‘belatedly’ not to attend. Warawa said, however, that he told organizers well in advance, as he had an appointment to meet voters at another location. He was campaigning that afternoon at the Magnolia Gardens seniors residence.”

ANOTHER NO-SHOW: Wendy Prothero, Sharon Waldman and Marion Whiteford write in a letter to the Comox Valley Echo, “We were fortunate enough to attend an all-candidates meeting at North College sponsored by North Island College Student Union, Comox Valley Elder College and The Council of Canadians. It was astounding that there was a vacant seat at the debate table – Mr John Duncan, our MP chose not to attend. How can this be? The North Island College Theater full of seniors and students and our MP absent. According to his campaign manager he was visiting fire fighters and door knocking in Cumberland and had been advised not to attend this meeting as it was in part sponsored by the Council of Canadians. For us this is another example of the anti-democratic bent of the Conservative government. No wonder they are the first government in the Commonwealth to have been held in contempt of parliament. Hopefully we will have a new government that is respectful of its citizens. After all they are accountable to us.”

AND ANOTHER NO-SHOW: Trevor Scott Howell writes, “Despite having weeks notice, Michelle Rempel, the federal Conservative candidate for Calgary Centre-North bowed out of an all-candidates debate — disappointing more than 200 voters. It’s become a bit of a running theme for Rempel this election. She bailed on a candidates’ debate at the University of Calgary because her campaign team… wait for it… didn’t like the moderator because of supposed Liberal ties. She couldn’t use that excuse this time, the moderator was CTV reporter Chris Epp. So her campaign manager went with the old standby: prior commitments.”

CHAPTER ORGANIZED DEBATES: Council of Canadians chapters are involved in all-candidates debates across the country. The next is in Red Deer (on April 28). Debates have taken place in Prince Albert, Williams Lake (April 20), Calgary Centre-North, South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale, Peterborough (April 19), Medicine Hat, Brockville, South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale (on April 18), Kamloops (April 15), and Vancouver Island North/ Comox Valley (April 13). The Council of Canadians is offering $250 to chapters to help cover the costs of organizing all-candidates debates. Please be sure to let us know if you are organizing or involved in an all-candidates debate. And take pictures and let us know how it went!

TODAY’S POLL: CTV reports, “Heading into the Easter holidays, the federal Liberals and New Democrats are in a statistical tie, according to the results of a new election campaign poll that also shows the Conservatives still short of majority territory. (The Conservatives are at 37.8 per cent, the Liberals are at 26.1 percent, the NDP is at 23.7 per cent.) The Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party round out the ranking at 7.4 per cent and 3.5 per cent support respectively.” CBC reports, “A spate of polls in the past 24 hours showing surging support for the New Democratic Party nationally, particularly in Quebec, has cast a new dynamic on a federal election campaign with just 11 days to go. ….An online survey done by CROP…shook up the race in Quebec overnight Thursday, showing a surge for the NDP. The CROP survey indicated NDP had the support of 36 per cent of respondents in Quebec, compared with 31 per cent for the Bloc Québécois. The Conservatives were third with 17 per cent, and the Liberals were trailing with 13 per cent of vote, according to the poll. …When the election was called, the Bloc held 47 of Quebec’s 75 seats, but the sudden shift in apparent voter intention toward the NDP is forcing Duceppe to change his tactics, taking full aim at Layton and trotting out some star power from the Quebec sovereignty movement. …The NDP only controls one seat in Quebec, which is held by Thomas Mulcair in the Montreal riding of Outremont.”