There is a lengthy and data filled article on the Angus Reid Institute web site ~ published before Jody Wilson-Raybould’s bombshell testimony ~ which says that “As political watchers across the country await with bated breath testimony from former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, the latest public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute shows the SNC-Lavalin affair taking a toll on the fortunes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government … [because] … While it remains unclear exactly how much – if any – pressure Trudeau and his staff put on Wilson-Raybould not to prosecute the Quebec-based engineering firm for fraud and corruption charges stemming from its business in Libya, most Canadians (66%) say they believe there is a deeper scandal in the Prime Minister’s Office. Moreover, a similar number (63%) say they believe SNC-Lavalin should be fully prosecuted under the criminal code, rather than allowed to negotiate a remediation agreement, as the PMO reportedly would have preferred … [and] … These findings correspond with low marks for Trudeau himself. Fully six-in-ten Canadians (60%) say they have an unfavourable view of the Prime Minister, and a nearly identical 59 per cent say their opinion of him has worsened over the last month or so. While this is driven largely by the negative views of right-of-centre voters, it’s notable that three-in-ten (28%) who would vote for Trudeau’s Liberal Party in an election held tomorrow also say their view of the PM has worsened … [the end result is that] … All of this creates a political landscape in which Trudeau’s Liberals would find themselves trailing Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party of Canada by seven percentage points (38% to 31%) in the event an election were held tomorrow.” My guess is that polls being taken soon after Ms Wilson-Raybould’s bombshells will be worse for the Liberals/
But the article says that there are other key findings, some not so bright for anyone:
- “Trudeau isn’t the only party leader viewed unfavourably by a majority of Canadians. Most also hold unfavourable opinions of Scheer (54% do) and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (64%);
- Political preference informs opinion on the SNC-Lavalin affair, with those who would vote for the Conservatives in an election held tomorrow overwhelmingly taking the view that there is a deeper scandal to uncover (95%), while most Liberal supporters feel it has been overblown (72% do); and
- Trudeau stands out from the other major party leaders because of the number of Canadians whose opinion of him has worsened in recent weeks. Six-in-ten (59%) say this of Trudeau, while roughly half as many say this of Scheer (25%) or Singh (29%).”
Clearly, Andrew Scheer has got some work to do and it seems to me that the NDP needs to dump Jagmeet Singh, quickly and cleanly, and but in a new leader ~ maybe Nathan Cullen?
All across Canada a substantial majority (from only 60% : 40% to in Ontario all the way to a whopping 79% : 21% in BC) believes that Gerald Butt’s resignation does not settle the issue and that, as more information emerges, a deeper scandal will be revealed:
In every region except Québec a majority of Canadians believes that SNC-Lavalin should be prosecuted:
These two sets of data are telling: quite clearly, if I’m reading this correctly, most Canadians suspect that Justin Trudeau’s PMO is hiding something worse than we can now see, something worse than just pressuring to Jody Wilson-Raybould to strike a remediation agreement with SNC-Lavalin; and, again it seems clear that most Canadians think a remediation agreement is not warranted. This goes back to something I mentioned a couple of days ago: Justin Trudeau seems far, far more concerned about the fate of the few thousand employees of one Québec company than he does about the livelihoods of tens, even hundreds of thousands of Western Canadians who work in the energy sector.
For Justin Trudeau the news in these data is nothing but ba, Bad, BAD; in only one region of Canada does he have a lead and in the key province of QC his Liberals tied with the CPC while in BC and, especially in critical ON he is behind by 5% and 3%, respectively:
But the news is not great for Andrew Scheer. His popularity is, now, somewhat higher than Prime Minister Trudeau’s but all three main party leaders have negative favourable ratings and the Conservatives need, above all, a vote split on the progressive left which Jagmeet Singh does not appear to be delivering. There is still a full half year to go before the next election … thus, despite the barrage Ms Wilson-Raybould fired just a day ago, Justin Trudeau still has time to pull a campaign rabbit out of the hat. Therefore, the Conservatives need to:
- Keep pressing on all fronts ~ this major scandal, cash for access, illegal migration, NAFTA/USMCA, pipelines, taxes and the middle class, used jet fighters and everything else;
- Enunciate a suite of policies that will be attractive in the working and middle class suburbs around e.g. Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal, Quebec City and Halifax and then sell those polices, using a team effort so that Andrew Scheer doesn’t have to carry all the load; and
- Hope that the NDP and/or the Greens eat into Liberal support in many ridings.
Konrad Yakabuski, writing in the Globe and Mail, says that “frustrations in Canada’s Western provinces have only intensified since the demise of the Energy East pipeline, which TransCanada decided to abandon after Mr. Trudeau imposed an upstream carbon-emissions test on the project. Western Canada has been smarting ever since at what it interpreted as a backhanded move to kill a pipeline unpopular in Quebec … [but, he adds, and I agree, that] … it is an insult to the intelligence of Quebec voters to think they would be any less outraged than other Canadians at the prospect of a Prime Minister and his staff intervening in the independence of the judicial system for political ends. The PMO’s slimy attempts to bring political pressure to bear on Ms. Wilson-Raybould will not win Mr. Trudeau any votes in Quebec – and will likely cost him many … [and, he concludes] … By sickening everyone, Mr. Trudeau might have just united the country – against him.” But, I expect that Gerald Butts and Michael Wernick, in a return appearance at the Commons Justice Committee, will, as someone put it, give us an Ottawa version of The Empire Strikes Back, and that may moderate the public’s current disgust with the Trudeau Liberals.
In the same newspaper John Ibbitson says that “Jody Wilson-Raybould’s actions have confounded Justin Trudeau and his advisers because she stands outside their world. They just cannot comprehend her … [and, he says] … This is also why Western anger at the Liberal government has become so intense. Mr. Trudeau and his kind have never understood the West, or cared to try. That indifference is coming home to roost … [but] … Mr. Trudeau stoutly denied on Thursday that he sought to coerce his then-attorney-general into ordering a deferred-prosecution agreement for SNC-Lavalin Group Inc. He will not be resigning or calling an election. Nonetheless, it is clear that this government is in crisis … [and, he asks] … How could the Liberals have bungled things so badly? The answer may lie in where Mr. Trudeau went to school … [that answer, he suggests may be because] … The elites who govern this country come mostly from the same places – usually a city within the watershed of the St. Lawrence River – and went to the same universities: Western, Toronto, Queen’s, McGill, University of Montreal. They generally live in the same downtown neighbourhoods in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, and hold the same progressive but pragmatic views. On the big issues, they usually debate among themselves, reach a consensus, and implement that Laurentian Consensus, as some call it, through their preferred vehicle: the Liberal Party … [but, he explains that Jody Wilson-Raybould] … is not a politician – at least not a conventional one – she is a Liberal by convenience, and she has no particular attachment to the centre. She is, however, a former Crown attorney devoted to protecting the rule of law, a British Columbian and an Indigenous woman who I suspect took offence to all these Laurentian men trying to make her see things their way. Besides, what was SNC-Lavalin to her? … [in fact] … What is it to anyone in the West? The Liberals, based on the former attorney-general’s testimony, were willing to pervert the course of justice to protect 9,000 jobs at a Montreal-based engineering firm. But what about the tens of thousands of jobs lost in the oil patch thanks to this same government’s indifference to getting a pipeline to the sea?“
The Conservatives (and the NDP) need to understand that this is key moment when Justin Trudeau has united the country against the Liberals and now is time to offer real change: change back to Conservative competence, as dull and introverted as it may have been, and to the traditional liberal (and Liberal) values of integrity and pan-Canadianism. The Liberals are in desperate need of time, on the opposition benches, to recover and restore their own, traditional, pre-Trudeau (père et fils) values.