As Sir Steve of the North searches for votes and the lost ships of the Franklin expedition in the far north, it’s time for us to search for the latest in political intrigue.
I’m not sure why Harper is becoming the face of the lost Franklin ships. Perhaps he plans to refloat the one found this week and make it the lead ship in Canada’s northern navy. It wouldn’t be a lot older than the ones currently defending our shores.
Anyhoo, let’s talk polls.
In polling news this week, Premier Christy Clark’s approval rating is falling (she’s at 32 per cent) as the teachers job dispute continues. However, I’d bet BCTF Union Leader Jim Iker’s approval rating wouldn’t be much higher if that were polled. A pox on both their houses, I say!
I have a message for both of them. Neither of you look good. About all that is happening this week is media posturing, as both try to force the other side to make a move, while they themselves make a move that is in no way a move, if you get what I mean. Stop it. The only group getting lost in the shuffle right now are the students.
Across the country, some premiers are enjoying happier times. If you look at an approval rating of 50 per cent or above as a barometer of relatively solid support, there are quite a few premiers in great shape. Leading the pack is Premier Brad Wall of Saskatchewan at a 66 per cent approval rating. That’s big, really big. Next comes Stephen McNeil of Nova Scotia at 53 per cent (pretty good), Tom Marshall of Newfoundland and Labrador at 52 per cent (also pretty good) and Phillippe Coulliard of Quebec at 50 per cent (not bad). Kathleen Wynne of Ontario has a 41 per cent approval rating, which considering her past year is more than acceptable. Then it’s our own Christy Clark at 32 per cent, Greg Selinger of Manitoba at 31 per cent and Dave Hancock of Alberta at 29 per cent. The Alberta stat is impressive considering the mess Alison Redford left behind. But Hancock will not have time to celebrate his polling mediocrity as Jim Prentice has won leadership of the Alberta Conservatives. Although, won may not be the correct term. Grudgingly accepted?
Also, Angus Reid Global, the agency who conducted the poll, didn’t poll Prince Edward Islanders. Why not PEI, Angus Reid? What did the denizens of the bright red mud ever do to you? I’m sure Premier Robert Ghiz of PEI would like to know where he stands. So I’ll tell you. He is at 55 per cent according to a recent Corporate Research Associates poll, placing him among the highest approved premiers, and pushing our Premier Clark down the list.
Federally, the Liberals are leading the polling in the 38 to 40 per cent range. The Conservatives range from 32 to 34 per cent and the NDP at about 19 per cent. These numbers have been holding fairly steady for the past few months, notwithstanding Harper’s big work on the Franklin expedition find.
We know there will be a federal election in 2015, the question is when? Will Prime Minister Harper call it early? The polls aren’t entirely favourable but there is another factor hanging over the decision, that being the dates of the Mike Duffy trial. Most legal experts spitball that the trial is unlikely to begin until next fall. When it does begin, Nigel Wright, the PM’s former Chief of Staff and writer of the infamous $90,000 cheque, will be on the stand. There is also a push to have the Prime Minister himself testify.
That’s not something you want on the minds of voters. You’d really like an opportunity to get in front of the voters before the trial begins to dominate the news cycle. So I’m betting we get a spring election call. I’m betting the writ is dropped within days of a Duffy trial date becoming known, no matter what the polls say. Or maybe another of the lost Franklin ships will be found, doubling our northern navy might. In any event, low polls or Duffy trial? I’d go with low polls.
And we all know polls can be wrong. Just ask Alison Redford. Or Christy Clark.
Carolyn Grant is Editor of the Kimberley Daily Bulletin