BARLOW ELECTION VIDEOS: Maude Barlow’s third election video-commentary is now available. The two-minute video can be viewed below or at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ukqw2derkRE. Her first week of the election commentary (which has had 1236 views) can be seen at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ueixe7SIF70; her second week commentary (with 547 views) is at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3hXiyT-PXsM. Check them out and be sure to forward them.
ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES: CTV reports, “The environment has largely been relegated to the back seat (of party platforms). …The following are a few key environmental pledges from each of the major parties: NDP – Develop an assessment of the tar sands and bring in regulations to protect fisheries and waterways; Ensure Canada meets targets of 80 per cent lower greenhouse gas emissions, compared to 1990 levels, by 2050; Reinvest revenue from emissions permits auctioning into green technologies, conservation and public transit. Liberals – Develop and deploy technologies to reduce environmental impact of tar sands, bring in tougher regulations and end tax breaks for the industry; Establish a cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gases; Quadruple Canada’s “low-impact renewable energy production from 2009 levels by 2017. Conservatives – Establish a new national park in the Rouge Valley in the eastern part of the Greater Toronto Area; Support economically viable clean energy projects that will help replace fossil fuel with renewable energy sources, such as the Lower Churchill project; Extend by one year the ecoEnergy Retrofit-Homes program. Green Party – Cap Athabasca River withdrawals by industry, monitor and enforce pollution by the industry, place a moratorium on future oil sands development; Ban tankers from Canada’s West Coast; Bring back incentives for wind power project development.
RISK IN AFGHANISTAN: The Vancouver Sun reports, “The safety of Canada’s men and women serving in Afghanistan — whether on combat or training missions — can never be wholly guaranteed, Conservative leader Stephen Harper said Saturday. Later this year, Canada’s troops are set to end their combat mission and will transition to a new training mission. Harper has said the new mission will be relatively safe since predominantly, it will take place on NATO bases. But with violence in the war-torn country not showing any signs of fading — and even highlighted by a brazen suicide attack that killed five foreign soldiers and four Afghan soldiers Saturday — Harper changed is message during a campaign stop in Vancouver. ‘Afghanistan is an extremely dangerous country,’ he said, repeating that the mission Canada is moving toward should pose less risk. ‘But there are still risks, yes, of course there are still risks.’ During the 2008 campaign, Harper committed to a complete withdrawal of Canadian troops from Afghanistan by 2011.”
11 DEBATES: Council of Canadians chapters are involved in 11 all-candidates debates. They include Medicine Hat (April 18), Brockville (collecting questions for a debate on April 18), Calgary Centre-North (April 19), South Surrey-White Rock-Cloverdale (April 18-19), Prince Albert (April 20), Williams Lake (April 20), and Red Deer (April 28) – and the ones that took place in Vancouver Island North (April 13) and Kamloops (April 15). The Charlottetown chapter may be at an all-candidates debate on the environment on April 18 to pose questions about fracking. 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!
TARGET BC: CBC reports, “Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff will both campaign in B.C.’s Lower Mainland on Sunday, while NDP Leader Jack Layton continues his push in Atlantic Canada. Conservative Leader Harper, who spent all of Saturday in the province, will hold an event in Vancouver on Sunday morning before heading north for a rally in Yellowknife. The Tories currently hold 21 seats in British Columbia and are hoping to gain ground with wins in several hotly contested swing ridings.”
THE NORTH: The Globe and Mail reports, “Stephen Harper and Michael Ignatieff are leaving the suburbs and heading north – way north – Sunday night as both the Conservative Leader and the Liberal Leader are scheduled to arrive in Yellowknife. Both parties clearly view the two-term New Democratic Party candidate, MP Dennis Bevington, as vulnerable in the Northwest Territories. …Prior to 2006, the three territories – which are also divided as three federal ridings – were Liberal strongholds. But after the NDP’s 2006 breakthrough, Conservative Leona Aglukkaq managed to win a tight race in Nunavut in 2008. That leaves the Liberals with Yukon, where Larry Bagnell has held the riding since 2000. The Conservatives have tried their best to make the long-gun registry an issue in the territories and are hoping that pays off on election day.”
IT’S OVER STEVE: Reporter Amber MacArthur writes in the Globe and Mail, “While lurking about on @margaretatwood’s Twitter feed, I noticed she posted a link to a video from ‘the women of Hamilton’ who were declaring that their ‘relationship’ with Prime Minister Stephen Harper was over. As part of the ‘It’s Over Steve’ campaign on YouTube, moms, wives, and daughters are demanding better from this country’s leader. These women are also asking others across Canada to post their own Harper break-up videos, and they’re demanding that they make sure to vote in our upcoming federal election (against Harper). The first episode has already raked up more than 30,000 views.”
TODAY’S POLL: On a national level, the Tories remain firmly in first place, garnering the support of 39 per cent of decided voters in the Nanos poll. The Liberals sit at 28.3 per cent support, the New Democrats 18.4 per cent, and the Greens at 3.6 per cent support. The Bloc Quebecois won 9.6 per cent support from poll respondents. …(In the Prairies) the Conservatives continue to dominate in the Prairies, holding 59.7 per cent in the latest Nanos poll, far ahead of the Liberals (24.7 per cent), the NDP (13.3 per cent) and the Greens (2 per cent). The Tories face a much tighter race in Ontario where they hold 42. 8 per cent support, compared to 37.4 per cent support for the Liberals. The NDP sit at 17.1 per cent and the Greens at 2.7 per cent. In Quebec, the Bloc Quebecois sit at the front of the pack with 38.7 per cent support, followed by the NDP at 19.5 per cent, the Conservatives at 18.7 per cent, and the Liberals at 17.7 per cent. The Greens hold 3.2 per cent support in la belle province. The picture in Atlantic Canada is very similar to Ontario, with the Tories (41.5 per cent) leading the Liberals (36.7 per cent) by a margin of less than five percentage points. The NDP (18.7 per cent) and the Greens (2.4 per cent) remain well behind the two front runners in this region. … The Tories (are) at 35.9 per cent in B.C., more than eight percentage points ahead of the Liberals (27.3 per cent) and 10 percentage points ahead of the New Democrats (25.5 per cent). The Nanos poll found that 8.6 per cent of voters support the Greens in B.C… Previous Nanos polls have shown stronger Conservative support in B.C., as high as 48.4 per cent on April 4.”