Year End Uptick for the Federal Conservatives

A “heads up” for environmentalists and Federal Opposition Parties: two Globe & Mail stories suggest the Federal Conservatives chances of re-election are improving.

A front page headline read: Conservatives well ahead of the Liberals, NDP in Fundraising.   The story pointed out that with such a lead the Conservatives could advertize well before the official campaign period, after which advertizing expenditures are more limited.

We recently heard one of these ads, ridiculing comments of the Liberal Leader, Justin Trudeau, on balancing the Federal Government budget.

A second headline read: “Support for Harper’s green record appears to grow”.  The story referred to Ipsos Reid polls in December that showed increased public approval of the Conservative performance on environmental matters.

According to the Ipsos Reid poll, the percentage of Canadians with negative opinions of the environmental performance of the Conservatives decreased, while the percentage of Canadians with positive impressions increased.

Just before the Ipsos Reid polling, Prime Minister Harper said it would be “crazy to limit” oil and gas emissions at a time of falling oil prices. He  shelved indefinitely regulations first promised by the Conservative in 2008 and frequently repeated since then.

The Conservatives did not perform well on other environmental issues: opposition to pipelines has grown; at the recent COP meeting at Lima  Canada once again contributed nothing beyond the oft-repeated and inaccurate platitudes, and Environment Canada confirmed that Canada would fall short of its 2020 emission targets.

Against these negatives, there were two recent positives.  Harper agreed to advance $300 million (Can.) to the International Green Climate Fund   He also endorsed an Alberta Regulatory Scheme that could be a model for setting a price on carbon.

As the polls suggest, Canadians are not convinced that climate change is central to their lives. There is only a small possibility that climate change will be the make-or-break issue in the next Federal election.

Our next blog will examine what factors lead to such favourable polling results.

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