OTTAWA, May 5 /CNW/ - Stephen Harper's majority comes with clear
boundaries. The election's dramatic results - particularly the Orange
Wave - do not signal a tectonic shift in Canadian politics towards a
two-party state, rather the vote was a singular event based on a
specific set of circumstances. These are the major findings of the
first nationwide qualitative study of Canadian voters' hopes, fears and
expectations of the new Parliament released today by Ensight Canada.
On Tuesday, May 3 - less than 24 hours after the polls closed - Ensight
Canada conducted a qualitative study of voters in Halifax, Montreal,
Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver. It included new Canadians, parents,
urban professionals and baby boomers. For the first time, it also
assembled online panels of young voters and rural voters across the
"Canadians have given Prime Minister Harper permission to go full steam
ahead on the economy," said Jaime Watt, Ensight Canada Principal.
"However, he does not have carte blanche to pursue an ideologically
driven agenda." Jack Layton won his victory because voters were not
happy with the alternatives. Voters want him to earn his position as
Leader of the Opposition and they will not tolerate him acting like a
Prime Minister in waiting.
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 private
involvement 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.
The Orange Wave is inextricably linked to Jack Layton's personal
popularity - not the NDP platform - and to a large extent resulted from
Canadians' embrace of his positive message and tone.
Memories of the Rae government in Ontario and unhappiness with the
current Nova Scotia NDP government blunted the Orange Wave in both
Quebec voters share other Canadians' economic concerns, and want to park
sovereignty - but in Quebec City, not Ottawa.
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.
"Tolerance for hyper-partisanship and political nastiness is at an all
time low," said Peter Landry, Ensight Canada Consultant. "Canadians
expect this majority parliament to end that. They expect a fundamental
change in tone from their elected representatives."
"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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