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article imageOp-Ed: Canada — Liberals extend lead but 2 recent events may help NDP

By Ken Hanly     Oct 15, 2015 in Politics
Ottawa - In the last couple of days, polls show the Liberals extending their lead marginally over the Conservatives. The NDP decline appears to have halted and it has a marginal increase in support over the same period while Conservative support has dropped.
The averages as reported by Eric Grenier's CBC poll tracker show the Liberals leading with 35.6 percent of the vote, an increase of 0.5 points from the last polls. The NDP had 23.8 percent support, up the same amount, 0.5. The Conservatives lost ground declining by 0.6 percent but still at 30.4 percent, well ahead of the NDP. The Liberals are also gaining in average seat projections with 140. The Conservatives are at 110 and the NDP trail with 86. During the last few days, there are at least two events that may help the NDP.
Mulcair has differentiated himself from both Harper and Trudeau by going on the attack against the giant Trans Pacific Partnership(TPP) trade deal during the later stages of his campaign. He has emphasized that the TPP may hurt the auto industry and dairy farming, the latter quite important in Quebec. He has also insisted the Canadian people should know what is in the text before the election. This is not to be. There is no final text as yet and will not be until after the election. However, the text could have been released with the parts that may change highlighted. International Trade Minister Ed Fast said the Conservatives would release the text before the election: International Trade Minister Ed Fast says the Conservative government will release the full text of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade agreement before the election, so Canadians can have all the information they'll need to cast their ballot on Oct. 19. Instead the Privy Council Office agreed to hold a briefing on the TPP but those who attended had to swear to keep the information secret. Mulcair immediately rejected the offer since he could not reveal details as to what was in the deal:
"Every Canadian has the right to know what is in that trade deal before Monday. And I call on Stephen Harper to release the full text of the TPP so Canadians can vote accordingly." Kory Teneycke, spokesperson for the Conservative campaign said that at first the Liberals agreed to attend the briefing to be held on Friday but the NDP turned the offer down. The Liberals deny this and refer to a letter sent by Liberal candidate John McCallum, quite critical of Harper's lack of transparency and of Fast breaking his promise. The NDP's firm stance lately on the TPP coupled with the Conservative's continuing lack of transparency may help the NDP cause.
Another very recent event that could help the NDP is the resignation of Daniel Gagnier, who was co-chair of Trudeau's election campaign until he resigned to try and deflect attention from recent allegations:“The Canadian Press is reporting that Mr. Gagnier e-mailed TransCanada Corporation with privileged information about the size of the presumptive Liberal cabinet, the key people lobbyists should target in order to ensure the timely construction of the Energy East Pipeline.”
While Gagnier is not currently a registered lobbyist, he has been as recently as last year when he lobbied for the Calgary-based Energy Policy Institute(EPIC). The Conservatives are not likely to make too much fuss about Gagnier and his connections to the oil industry. Here is why: One of Liberal leader Justin Trudeau’s top advisors sat on the board of an energy industry-funded think tank while Bruce Carson allegedly illegally lobbied for the same organization, according to a court document filed by the RCMP. Daniel Gagnier, the Liberal party’s 2015 campaign co-chair, is currently president of the Energy Policy Institute of Canada (EPIC) which the RCMP alleges benefited from illegal lobbying by Carson, who was once acting chief of staff in Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s office. Gagnier was a vice chair of the organization during a portion of time that became the focus of the RCMP’s investigation into Carson’s activities. Emails obtained by the RCMP show that Gagnier even pushed EPIC’s agenda with Jean Charest who was premier of Quebec at the time. There is much more sordid detail here and here.
Both the Liberals and Conservatives like to cozy up to Big Energy. Perhaps in the last few days of the campaign many voters may decide that the NDP' s stand against this and Mulcair's defence of dairy farmers and the auto industry from the TPP is more significant than his support for a woman's right to wear a niqab while taking the citizenship oath. Note in the appended video how Justin Trudeau rails against Harper for his choice of people for key positions and to be around him.
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 2015 canadian federal election, CBC polltracker, TPP, dan gagnier
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