The Toronto Star , the Liberal Party's ever-faithful newspaper, and EKOS Research, the Liberal Party's ever-faithful pollster, have lost the faith by reporting this poll:
EKOS surveyed Canadians immediately following the release of devastating testimony last Thursday by former Montreal ad executive Jean Brault at the inquiry looking into the federal government's sponsorship scandal. Brault alleged gross misconduct in the Quebec wing of the federal Liberal party.
The pollster found that only 25 per cent of respondents nationwide would vote today for the Liberals, compared to 36.2 per cent for the Conservatives. The Liberals won a minority government with about 37 per cent of the vote in June 2004.
This represents the first non-election period poll in nearly 12 years that has shown the Conservative Party, or its predecessors, leading the Liberals nationwide.
Fears that Ontario would, like their French counterparts, "vote for the crooks and not the fascists", now are being laid to rest:
In Ontario, the Conservatives now lead with 40 per cent of the vote. The Liberals are at 33 per cent. Prime Minister Paul Martin escaped the indignity of losing the government last year when the party won 74 of the 106 seats in Ontario.
It's not just the sponsorship revelations dragging the federal Liberals down in Canada's biggest province, but also the so-called "fair-share" campaign that has pitted Premier Dalton McGuinty's provincial government against Martin's Liberals.
According to Frank Graves, president of EKOS, last week's scandal revelations only "lit the fuse, igniting resentment over fair-share treatment and ultimately producing a Liberal implosion in Ontario."
When we think of regionalism in Canada, rarely do we think of Ontario regionalism, because Ontario has always acted as though what was good for Ontario was good for Canada.
Ontario has been the milk cow for the rest of Canada long before Alberta struck oil. Its immigrant and urban social liberal blocs have dutifully sent back huge Liberal contingents to Ottawa in defence of the national (i.e., Liberal) interest for four straight elections. What few promises have been made to urban Ontario (the "new deal" for cities that has never, nor will ever, materialize) have been casually broken because the Grits have always been able to keep Ontario in line with dark hints of "Alberta rednecks" and "hidden agendas".
The cities continue to decay, the highways are full of potholes, the tax base keeps fleeing to suburbia even as more demands fall on it, and still the Liberals keep taking Ontario for granted.
This Toronto Star editorial explains it all for you in greater detail.
Adscam has also finally stuck to Paul Martin personally:
By a ratio of two-to-one, Canadians are more likely to see Martin as part of the problem than as part of the solution to the sponsorship mess, the EKOS/Star poll shows.
A full 60 per cent of respondents said they saw the Prime Minister as "an essential part of the Liberal government since 1993 and now, as leader of the Liberal party, should be held accountable for the sponsorship mess."
Less than half that amount — 29 per cent — said Martin "had little to do with the sponsorship mess and deserves credit for calling the inquiry."
How could Martin have expected otherwise? People who haven't been following Adscam's twists and turns can still follow this simple logic: The Liberals created Adscam. Adscam took our tax money and wasted it in Quebec. Paul Martin handled our tax money. Paul Martin is from Quebec. Therefore Paul Martin was part of Adscam. QED.
And now for the even bigger numbers:
Liberals are now trailing in every region of the country, especially in Quebec and British Columbia, where the poll shows the party under threat of obliteration.
In Quebec, the Liberals have just 15 per cent support; in Alberta, only 10 per cent.
These were the types of low, low numbers that former prime minister Brian Mulroney's Conservative government received in polls in the months before it was dumped from office in 1993 and reduced to just two seats in the Commons.
The Liberals were always good for 15 seats in the West Island and Outaouais, come what may, until now. 15% in Quebec can only mean that the francophone federalist vote outside those areas has fled to the BQ, and the federalist vote in that area is splitting.
There may not be 15 safe Liberal seats any more. There may be barely a half-dozen. Paul Martin's La Salle-Emard, with a francophone majority, probably is not one of them. Jean Lapierre's Outremont certainly isn't. Perhaps he should ask David Kilgour for pointers.