Poll results like this, which show that Canadians by and large do not support Stephen Harper’s stand on the Mid-East has to be good news to Liberals, some of whom have been openly musing in recent weeks about the possibility of an early fall election call. I’m not suggesting that the government should base its foreign policy simply on public opinion, something I’ve often thought the Liberals did, but having an unpopular policy is one thing, calling an election while that policy is front and centre is another.
The poll, done by Allen Gregg’s Strategic Council, does not indicate Tory approval ratings have been affected overall yet, although other polls have indicated some slippage. That said, Harper will be concerned that the disapproval of his foreign policy is highest in battleground provinces like Quebec and BC, where the Tories expect, or at least hope, to gain seats in a push for a majority.
One of the interesting things about the results of the poll to me is that a large percentage of Canadians when asked thought the Canadian government should take a neutral stand on the current Israel/Hezbollah conflict. I am sure that Tories around the country look at this as a hangover from our wishy-washy Liberal days, something that will eventually change as we become more used to a more pro-active (or I would say aggressice) approach. Another reading of this could be that a majority of Canadians value a (actual) measured approach to complicated political issues, one that could lead to long-term solutions.
I really hope the Tories are wrong. Be strong you majority of Canadians!