VANCOUVER, May 10 /CNW/ - The success of Stephen Harper's majority government hinges on the performance of the economy in western Canada. 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 Vancouver as well as online panels of young voters that included British Columbians.

"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."

"British Columbians drew an important connection between trade policy and growth. They also told us that they wanted to BC to take full advantage of its energy resources. The success of this government will depend on its ability to demonstrate commitment to trade in the energy sector and beyond."

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 entirely unscathed.
  • 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

For further information:

Chris Eby
(416) 642-5000

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Ensight Canada

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