Harper Gov’t Sailing Through Senate Scandal

Prime Minister Harper issues statement on Ukraine
Prime Minister Harper
Prime Minister Harper in what could be a telling image of how it is lonely at the top
Prime Minister Harper in what could be a telling image of how it is lonely at the top

Senate Scandal has Silver Lining for Harper Gov’t

TORONTO – Politics – The federal Conservatives are working to change the channel on the Senate Scandal. The Harper Government has been taking a pounding in the House of Commons from the opposition over the payment made by Nigel Wright to Senator Michael Duffy. However, Ipsos Reid says that “With the Harper Conservative government in damage control mode after another week of the Senate spending fiasco, the Tories can find some silver lining in the court of public opinion as a vast majority of Canadians appear to back their tentative free-trade agreement with the European Union”.

The results are according to a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of CTV News.

Four in five (81%) Canadians are ‘supportive’ (25% very/56% somewhat) of the pending free-trade deal, while just one in five (19%) are ‘not supportive’ (5% not at all/13% not very) of the deal.

The deal, which was signed by Prime Minister Harper and European Commission President Jose Manual Barroso on October 18th, has been hailed as the biggest trade deal ever concocted between Canada and another trading partner.

The deal, when fully ratified in 2015, would give Canada access to the 28-member European Union and its hundreds of millions of consumers and trillions of dollars in yearly consumer activity, according to the Harper government.

Some of the details are yet to be hammered out and communicated, and the deal is already causing concern for some sectors of the Canadian economy – dairy farmers, for example. The government has said, however, that it is devising a strategy for compensating those sectors which would be adversely affected by the new deal.

Initially, a vast majority of Canadians in every demographic group studied support the free-trade deal. Nearly nine in ten (89%) residents of British Columbia and Atlantic Canada (88%) support the deal, followed by those living in Alberta (82%), Ontario (80%), Quebec (79%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (72%).

Those with a university degree (88%) or some post-secondary education (83%) are more likely than those with a high school diploma (80%) or less (67%) to support the free-trade deal.

At this early juncture, support appears to be broad – however, this could change down the road as more information becomes available.

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos Reid poll conducted between October 22nd to 24th, 2013 on behalf of CTV News. For this survey, a sample of 1,009 Canadians from Ipsos’ Canadian online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadians adults been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

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