Rally for Canada budget consultation survey results

On Friday, I sent out an email to the tens of thousands on the Rally for Canada email list asking them to participate in a small survey concerning the upcoming federal budget.  I asked people four questions concerning the government spending and their public policy priorities.  Over three thousand people responded on Friday and over the weekend.  I will be passing on the results to the office of the Minister of Finance as promised.

Q: On the question of Canada’s upcoming federal budget to get us through the economic crisis, which balance within the following options do you think is best for the government to implement? (n=3003)

Q: Which issues are most important to you from a government policy point of view? (n=3051)

Here is the same graph sorted in descending order (n=3051):

Q: What should be done with the Senate? (n=3007)

Q: What should be done with funding for the CBC? (n=2998)

Some notes: “n” is the number of respondents to each question.  Data was gathered from 8am Friday through midnight Sunday night.  Sample data is gathered from a population set that registered on the anti-coalition website RallyforCanada.ca between December 4th 2008 and January 9th 2009.  Answers were not randomly cycled.

That said, this data gives us insight into the priorities of Canadians who are against the concept of a Bloc-supported NDP-Liberal coalition government.  The first question was a careful balance on both sides of the spending vs. taxes debate.  On one hand, the answer set does not include an option to decrease spending and on the other, four out of five answers prompt at least some tax relief.  Most analysts believe that the federal budget will include some tax relief and stimulus in the form of government spending.  The largest group believed a balance spending/tax relief approach would be best while the second largest group favours substantial tax relief and no new spending (given the options presented).

The second question had 24 options.  Each option was a yes/no checkbox to pick public policy priorities.  There was little surprise on the distribution of public policy interests as the generally right-of-centre respondents selected jobs, economy, crime, tax cuts, healthcare choice, and military spending as priorities while passing on foreign aid, culture and arts, and native affairs.  Wheat board reform is generally a conservative priority yet this question is likely too regional for a national survey.

On the specific questions, it is of particular interest that 90% of respondents believe that the Senate in it’s current form must change.  Only 10% of respondents thought that the Senate ought to be left as it is.  On the question of spending for a particular budget item, respondents indicated that funding for the CBC should be decreased (61%) while only 6% thought it should be increased.

The mask slips

The Conservatives have run advertising comparing Liberal leader Stephane Dion to an out-of-touch academic who doesn’t care about the priorities of average hard-working Canadians.

In this video that I captured from a press conference Dion gave in Richmond BC just minutes ago, Dion says “I like to have a lot of PhDs in Canada but we need also to have plumbers, and all the skilled workers that are needed must have the ability to come here in Canada. Not only PhDs”

While Stephane Dion would like to have Canada populated by like-minded academics like himself, he seems to begrudgingly concede that Canada also needs plumbers.

Imagine if you were somebody with skills that the Prime Minister of Canada only needed rather than liked.

I received an email from a reader which reads,

Weak attack by Dion on immigration

Yesterday, Stephane Dion, the embattled leader of the Liberal Party of Canada tried to attack the Prime Minister on a 20 year old position he wrote as a member of the Reform Party.

From CTV:

Using a 20-year-old Reform Party document authored by Stephen Harper, the Liberals tried to paint the prime minister as anti-immigrant Tuesday.

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion quoted the document in the House of Commons, which said immigration should not “radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada.”

“(This) may look like an attempt to deliver promises made by the Reform party 20 years ago,” Dion said, saying the old report was the inspiration for the Conservative’s new immigration bill.

Well, now. Does anyone disagree? Logically, if Dion disagrees with Harper’s position, he would agree with the inverse:

immigration should “radically or suddenly alter the ethnic makeup of Canada.”

If we’re going to dig into the past to find old quotes from MPs, there are a few Liberal ones.

In 1992, Tom Wappel suggested refugees be held in closed military bases. (Toronto Star, November 16, 2002).

“We should just choose the best. The present system is not fair. Fairness means we don’t put the queue jumpers ahead; criminal refugees are deported quickly. We try not to burden our schools with English as a second language.” — Garth Turner (Edmonton Journal, May 19, 1993)

“The fact is our immigration minister has been allowing terrorists and criminals to enter Canada through our porous and faulty immigration laws.” — Keith Martin (Hansard, October 18, 2001)

“On the issue of criminality, individuals who have committed crimes in this country should be sent back to their country of origin.” — Keith Martin (Hansard, February 27th, 2001)

[Denis] Coderre said that immigrants and refugees who would “crachent sur mon drapeau [spit on my flag]” by supporting Quebec separation, should be deported. (National Post, January 16, 2002)

Canada needs to look at its immigration policies, she added. “Do we have people coming in illegally, who are running drugs?” — Hedy Fry (The Province, January 22, 2008)

Toronto MP John McKay, a Martin supporter and chairman of the Ontario caucus, has said he finds it bizarre that ”children and non-citizens” are able to determine who becomes the next prime minister. Mr. McKay attended Saturday’s meeting and voted in favour of the extra restrictions. (National Post, February 11, 2002)

If Dion thinks he’s found a smoking gun in a 20 year old quote by Harper, I’ll call his bet to the same inconsequential degree with some old Liberal quotes.