Wednesday, December 19, 2007

A Merry Christmas from Decima

Not that we should get too excited, but this recent polling news from the folks at Decima certainly should help to warm Liberal hearts a little the week before Christmas.

A new poll suggests Stephen Harper's Conservatives have lost their big lead over the Liberals, plunging six percentage points in popular support in just one week.

The Canadian Press Harris-Decima survey puts the Tories at 30-per-cent support, in a statistical tie with the Liberals, who are up four points to 32 per cent.

Support for the Tories dropped across all regions and demographic groups.

The striking shift comes in the wake of several controversies which may be taking a toll on the governing party:

Former Progressive Conservative prime minister Brian Mulroney's admission that he accepted cash-stuffed envelopes from arms lobbyist Karlheinz Schreiber.
Heavy criticism of Canada's position at the climate-change summit in Bali.
The political fallout from a critical shortage of medical isotopes due to the shutdown of the Chalk River nuclear reactor.
In other polling news, Decima also says while the public doesn't believe Brian Mulroney in this whole Schreiber business, they also don't want a public inquiry.

I'd submit though that the decision to go forward shouldn't be based on polls, but on whether or not there are grounds for an inquiry and issues that still need to be explained. I think there are still serious unanswered questions here that perhaps can only be addressed by an inquiry.

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900ft Jesus said...

there should also be some type of enquiry over the events surrounding the Chalk River plant. That's pretty serious, re-opening a plant that hasn't met standards due to an isotope shortage (maybe) which should have been prevented to begin with. The stories keep changing, and safety concerns shouldn't be shoved aside. The CONs won't be open about it, so it will take an inquiry.

Scotian said...

I agree Jeff. Especially after Mulroney’s unworn testimony without a shred of corroborating evidence other than his good word/name. Given that he has already shown himself to be less than honest in court documents regarding his relationship to Schreiber and has not provided a credible/believable explanation for either the money he took and how he dealt with it nor the way he shaded his testimony when he sued the feds for 50 million dollars in an act that now carries the appearance of an attempt to obstruct further investigation. What is really sad is that Schreiber's testimony has more corroborating evidence than Mulroney’s.

Take the Harrington Lake meeting and whether a discussion regarding future employment was discussed, Mulroney says no way and it was only two months after that meeting that he was approached, while Schreiber claims otherwise and according to his bank records ziezed by the German government against his will only a couple of weeks after that meeting the Britan account is set up, the one from which Mulroney is paid. That there is more credible information supporting any part of Schreiber's claims over all of Mulroney's makes an inquiry a necessity IMHO, the legal tools for cross examination and subpoenaing of documents (instead of refusing to share them as Mulroney did regarding his tax forms on his declaration of the 300/225 thousand dollar) being the only hope of finding out any real truth/reality here and the sooner the better.

While some of the main players are dead, not all of them are. Take Elmer MacKay, he has been in the thick of this since the days of Mulroney having Clark deposed, and he has also clearly stayed involved as a go between between Schreiber and Mulroney as recently as within the last year or so. There needs to be an inquiry focused on the Schreiber Mulroney relationship from when it started, through his government, to afterwards including the libel lawsuit period. If it is true that Schreiber helped provide key funding that enabled the overthrow of Clark via foreign money and then helped secure the PCPC leadership for Mulroney then there is more than sufficient reason to question whether that was the true payoff for the contracts that the Mulroney government entered into including Airbus and not the 300 thousand, which might simply have been keeping someone happy who did so much for Schreiber in terms of getting him success fees.

That there are reasonable grounds for reasonable people to think these things is more than sufficient grounds for a public inquiry IMHO, indeed I'd say they cry out for one. While few really like the idea of having any PM/former PM put under such an examination for the purposes of determining whether significant ethical to legal malfeasance happened within his government, the rule of law is something that cannot be overlooked just because it would make people uncomfortable. Even if the statute of limitations has run out it is still important to examine and place on the record any evidence that shows there was criminal behaviour or conversely proves there was not. I do know this, without this inquiry Mulroney's name/legacy will never be clean, and given the amount of Mulroney government members are in this government (not just in cabinet either, Mulroney’s finance minister is also our ambassador to the US for example) the possibility that there are those that were a part of the Mulroney shady dealings in contracting currently serving in the current government cannot be dismissed either, at least not without the inquiry.

We shall see, but there are more than enough grounds at this point IMHO, same as there was for Gomery when it was called. Whether that was a politically astute thing for Martin to do, it was the morally correct thing which is why I found it a sad irony that it was a major factor in why he lost power. If Harper truly is the principled man he and his supporters claim he is that truly cares about accountability and ethics/honesty in government he will continue with the inquiry and will not try to prevent/shut it down or limit the terms of reference so narrowly that it will be unable to answer the basic questions involved. We shall see.

As to the Libs surpassing the CPC in this poll, while nice to see until I see more of it I am going to take a rather cool reaction to it. I will grant though it is nice to see, if only so there is a poll to point to whenever some CPC Trolletariat throws out the claim that the Libs can't ever get ahead of the Harper CPC.

Steve V said...

"certainly should help to warm Liberal hearts a little the week before Christmas."

I actually put that in my title on the same poll :) Warm indeed!