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article imageOp-Ed: Majority of Canadians believe Stephen Harper has a hidden agenda

By Karl Gotthardt     Apr 8, 2013 in Politics
Toronto - It should not be a surprise to the Harper government that most Canadians don't trust Prime Minister Stephen Harper's transparency. An Ipsos poll halfway through Harper's mandate found that most Canadians think he has a hidden agenda.
As Stephen Harper nears the half way point of his term, his support is holding steady, but most Canadians disapprove of the job he is doing. According to Global News 58 per cent of Canadian are unhappy with the prime minister's performance, while 42 per cent approve. If his support holds steady, he could win an election in 2015.
Although Harper has been prime minister for seven years a majority of Canadians believe he has a hidden agenda, lacks transparency and is short on ethics.
The feelings about a hidden agenda is strongest in Quebec with 81 per cent of respondents, while in the Atlantic provinces 75 per cent thought there was a hidden agenda. Even in conservative Alberta half of the respondents felt that Harper had something to hide.
Citizens of Quebec and the Atlantic provinces were most likely to think the PM has a hidden agenda, at 81 per cent and 75 per cent respectively, followed by B.C. and Ontario at 66 per cent each. Western provinces were likely to think Harper is hiding something as well, with half of respondents in Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba expressing their belief in the proposition.
An Angus Reid online survey conducted in November 2012 is a sample of 1508 Canadians and found that 49 per cent say that Harper performed about the same as expected, 32 per cent believe he has performed worse, while only 13 per cent believe he has been better.
One-in-five Albertans (20%) and almost three-in-ten Conservative voters in 2011 (28%) think Harper has performed better than they expected, while almost half of Quebecois (46%) and a majority of New Democratic Party (NDP) voters in 2011 (52%) feel he has been worse.
One in five Canadians believe that Canada's reputation in the world, its economy and role in global affairs is better than it was seven years ago. Among the major distractions and criticism of the Harper government is that taxation, health care, ethics and accountability have been diminished in the past seven years, ranging form 46 percent on taxation and health care to 43 per cent on ethics and accountability.
The Huffington Post suggests that there is a general distrust of politicians' plans, rather than a specific wariness regarding Harper. Only 24 per cent of respondents thought that it is very or moderately likely that abortion will be re-criminalized and only 29 per cent believed that the Harper government would repeal same sex marriage.
The Harper government has two years to drum up support, while New Democrats are in the process to change their preamble and remove the word socialist, a move supported by Thomas Mulcair in an attempt to make the party more palatable and move it toward the center.. The Liberal Party is likely to elect Justin Trudeau as their new leader.
With close to 40 per cent of Canadians still supporting the Harper government, there is a good chance that it will be re-elected. Liberal hopeful Joyce Murray has advocated one time cooperation with the New Democrats and the Green party to avoid vote splitting, a move opposed by Trudeau.
Harper will most certainly define Mulcair and Trudeau, but sticking to the issues may be a thorn in the side of the Harper government. With the emergence of Justin Trudeau on the scene, Canadian politics may no longer be boring.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about cibservative government, Canada, Stephen Harper, conservative party of canada, Canadian Politics
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