CALGARY, May 9 /CNW/ - The success of Stephen Harper's majority
government hinges on the performance of Alberta's economy. That's the
most significant finding related to western Canada in the first
nationwide qualitative study of voters' hopes, fears, and expectations
of the new Parliament and government released by Ensight Canada.
On Tuesday, May 3 - less than 24 hours after the polls closed - Ensight
Canada conducted a qualitative study of voters across the country that
included two sessions in Calgary as well as online panels of young
voters that included Albertans.
"Canadians have given Prime Minister Harper permission to go full steam
ahead on the economy," said Jaime Watt, Ensight Canada Principal. "As a
result, his success will directly be tied to the economy. If we slip
into recession again and jobs disappear, he's in trouble."
"Alberta is particularly important in this equation because it has
emerged as the economic engine of the country."
Among the other key findings:
While voters were firm in their desire to see public health care
maintained, many were receptive to the idea of Harper exploring a
greater range of options to improve quality and contain costs.
Unlike 2006 and 2008, this time Canadians had minority fatigue. They
crave stability and action on the economy. They blamed Michael
Ignatieff for triggering the election, although Harper did not escape
The so-called ethics issue had virtually no electoral impact, the result
of an ineffective messenger flogging a tired message to an electorate
fed up with political games.
Fear of a NDP-led coalition was particularly pronounced in Alberta. With
the Bloc decimated and an Orange Wave sweeping through Quebec, an
eastern-based government once again loomed. That spooked voters in the
west perhaps more than anywhere else in the country.
Voters did not "rise up." Michael Ignatieff failed to offer them a
reason why they should. The Liberal brand is damaged but remains
strong, but unlike 2008, there is no clear choice for a new leader.
"Some pundits claim they see an American-style polarization among
Canadians in these numbers. That's not what voters told us," said Robin
Sears, Ensight Canada Principal. "Canadians want strong economic
management and centrist government."
About Ensight Canada
Ensight Canada specializes in government relations and stakeholder
management at the strategic level. Ensight Canada was created out of a
strategic partnership between Navigator Ltd and Enterprise Canada, two
of the country's leading research, strategic communications and
government relations firms. Designed to serve clients in today's tough
regulatory atmosphere, Ensight Canada was created to provide clients
with a team experienced at delivering results in Ottawa, and
disciplined by the new era of accountability.
SOURCE Ensight Canada
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