Canada will go to the polls on May 2. That election has just got a whole lot more interesting. The latest poll has the New Democrat Party at 28% and rising, while the Conservatives, Liberal and Greens are falling.
Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper has led a minority government since 2008. The election was brought on because the Liberal party forced a vote of confidence in March, and the NDP and Bloc Quebecois all supported it. Harper had to apologise for the royal wedding and go to the polls.
If this trend holds through to the election next Monday, and that is a big “if” in Canada’s FPP system spread across the North American continent, these numbers could see a legitimate NDP-led minority government. According to the pollster: “Together, the NDP and Liberals would have a clear majority with 38 more seats than the Conservatives, as well as a collective 20 more points in popular vote”. That would be huge.
The NDP was formed by the Canadian Labour Council and the Co-operative Commonwealth foundation in 1956. It has never been in government federally, but is the current provincial government in Manitoba and Nova Scotia. I have many good friends in the CLC and NDP and would love to see it do well – we can learn a lot from them.
Again according to the pollster: “The NDP rise is not a blip, but rather a steady progression throughout the campaign that exploded last week and is now rocking most parts of the country. And because the NDP leads as the second-choice pick for voters, Graves said the growth potential may not be fully exhausted yet. Women and younger voters are the biggest demographic groups moving over to the NDP camp. Graves believes Layton’s leadership style, his message of change and scandal-free record are appealing to voters. “They like his positive style, funny disposition, courageous demeanour with his cane and getting out there talking about the average guy. I think that’s really working,” he said. “It’s a nice contrast to what they see as this sullen, controlling style of the prime minister or this intellectual style of Michael Ignatieff (the Liberal leader).”