Canada goes to polls Tuesday, majority for PM unlikely

October 13th, 2008 - 10:02 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Oct 13 (IANS) Canada will go to polls Tuesday, with opinion polls predicting the ruling Conservative Party may not get a majority in parliament.The ruling party held 127 seats in the outgoing 308-member House of Commons.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the election, the third in four years, last month, saying the combined opposition - the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party (NDP) and Bloc Quebecois - were not letting him govern as they held the majority in the House of Commons.

The latest opinion polls show the prime minister’s party ahead of the Liberal Party and the Left-leaning NDP by a huge margin, but still short of the numbers which can give it the majority in parliament.

The ruling party, which was expected to garner more seats in French-speaking Quebec this time, now seems to be falling behind the regional Bloc Quebecois.

While 35 percent Canadians favour the Conservative Party, 25 percent support the Liberal Party, 18 percent NDP and 11 percent the Green Party which had no MP in the dissolved parliament.

Since Canada is the first G7 country going to the polls amid the global economic meltdown, the economy is the foremost issue in the election.

Canadians trust the prime minister on the economy as he has promised to cut taxes to boost the economy, but they, mostly urban voters except in conservative Alberta, don’t like his right-wing agenda.

The Liberal Party has failed to revive itself under professor-turned-politician Stephane Dion as he lacks the charisma of his predecessors.

Dion’s decision to impose carbon tax to cut greenhouse gases has not gone down well with voters and the party is unlikely to surpass its tally of 95 in the outgoing parliament.

In fact, the Left-leaning NDP, under Jack Layton, is likely to cut into the Liberal Party vote bank this time.

Interestingly, there are record 30-odd Indian-Canadian candidates in the fray this time. Among them are the seven sitting MPs - Deepak Obhrai, Ujjal Dosanjh, Gurbax Malhi, Ruby Dhala, Navdeep Bains, Sukh Dhaliwal and Nina Grewal - who are likely to be back in parliament.

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