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Why the NDP Is Leading in the Polls

07/16/2015 05:34 EDT | Updated 07/16/2016 05:59 EDT
Bloomberg via Getty Images
Tom Mulcair, leader of Canada’s main opposition New Democratic Party, speaks during an interview in New York, U.S., on Thursday, March 14, 2013. During a visit to Washington this week Mulcair told U.S. lawmakers and executives that he opposes the Keystone XL oil pipeline, according to the Edmonton Journal. Photographer: Peter Foley/Bloomberg via Getty Images

In the past two months, the NDP was basically leading in all the national opinion polls. The Globe and Mail recently published an election forecast with the backup of polling numbers and other data. The national paper says if the election was held today, the NDP had a 49 per cent chance to form the next government, whereas the Conservative Party had 50 per cent and the Liberal Party only three per cent.

Last month, an EKOS poll result indicated that the NDP had a national support of 31.3 per cent, the Conservatives 29.2 per cent and the Liberal Party 23.9 per cent. The significant part of this survey is that the polling firm also asked the participants to name their second choice as a measurement of room for growth. After including the second choices, the NDP's support reached 51.2 per cent, enough to form a majority government, whereas the Conservative Party got merely 35.8 per cent. That means that while the NDP is leading, there is still room for their support to grow. As for the governing party, even with the second choice votes, it is not enough to even win the election.

So why did the NDP pull ahead in the recent months? Some said leading or peaking three months ahead of an election is not a good sign but I disagree.

The upcoming federal election is very much like the Toronto mayoral election last year. Like Rob Ford, Harper's Conservative Party is despised by the majority of voters. Since winning a majority government, the Conservatives' extreme policies, legislations and governance have shocked people of insight. Just to name a few examples: their new Citizenship Act turned all immigrants into second-class citizens; they have had over a dozen legislations struck down by Canada's Supreme Court because they are contrary to the constitution. Not only did such scrutiny waste taxpayers' resources, the valuable time of the court and the parliament, it also caused chaos in the government's operation and enforcement of the law. Prime Minister Harper and Justice Minister MacKay's unprecedented attacks on the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court last year undermined our justice system and were outrageous.

The cancellation of the census' long-form resulted in over 1,000 Canadian municipalities having no adequate and reliable data to make informed planning and govern. All these extreme measures have put the Conservative government in a league with the infamous Mayor Rob Ford.

In the beginning of the last Toronto mayoral election, Olivia Chow was viewed as the most likely candidate to beat Rob Ford. Thus those who hated Rob Ford flowed to Chow and gave her a lead in the opinion polls. Later Chow was surpassed by John Tory. Then we saw Chow's support drop and move over to the leading candidate. In the end, Tory won with 390,000 votes, Doug Ford got 330,000 votes and Chow was left with 220,000 votes.

The situation of the coming federal election is similar. When Justin Trudeau became leader of the Liberal Party, he became the nation's favorite son and led in the polls. It was not until early this year that his continuous missteps ended his long honeymoon period. His recent vote to support the Conservative government's Anti-Terror Bill made the public realize that the Liberal Party is in fact not much different from the Conservatives, especially in such a major matter of principle. Basically Trudeau Junior is tearing apart the Charter of Rights and Freedom established by his father. When Bill C-51 went to the senate, the Liberal senators voted against the bill and their leader.

With the NDP, the Alberta provincial election result has stunned the country. Not only did the NDP beat the Progressive Conservatives and won a majority government, they even defeated the Conservatives in the prime minister's Calgary riding. Canadians now realize that the most likely party that could defeat the federal Conservatives and bring real change is the NDP. As a result, we could see from the recent polls that support for the Liberals is withering whereas that for the Conservatives is stagnant, and that for the NDP is rising.

Indeed, there are still three months before the election and in politics, the sky and the earth could turn upside down in a week's time. What we can expect is this: with Tom Mulcair leading in the polls, the Conservatives and the Liberals will change their tactics and turn their big guns to the NDP. Thus, we saw recently the Maclean magazine's "breaking news" of Tom Mulcair being exposed for his willingness to serve the Conservative government in 2006/07 and this not coming about because Mulcair asked for too much money. Later, the media revealed that Conservative insiders verified that was not the case. The "news" was allegedly made up by Harper's former press secretary Dimitri Soudas, who was the boyfriend of the infamous Conservative MP Eve Adams who crossed the floor to join the Liberal Party.

Actually, journalists with a little common sense could easily see through the trick. Mulcair was the cabinet minister of Jean Charest's Quebec government. If he was an opportunist, he certainly would not run for the NDP in the 2007 by-election. At that time, the NDP was the fourth party in parliament and had never won any seats in Quebec.

Can the NDP build an even bigger legacy and make history by winning the upcoming federal election? The next three months will be very interesting to watch.

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