The combined opposition parties led by the Liberal party under the leadership of Michael Ignatieff, the New Democrats led by Jack Layton and the Bloc Québecois led by Gilles Duceppe have passed a non confidence vote 156 to 145 on the issue of abuse of Parliamentary ethics. The house has been adjourned and the Prime Minister will ask the Governor -General to dissolve Parliament and set an election for early May, probably May 2nd. The campaign promises to be a tough no holds barred exchange of diatribe, denunciation and detailed claims of a better vision from each of the major parties. The vote took place against the release of a public opinion poll by Ipsos Reid that favours the governing party . The numbers which must be unsettling to the Liberal leadership show the Tories at 43 %, the Liberals at 24 % , the NDP at 16 % and the Bloc at 10 % with Greens gathering most of the remaining vote at 6 %.Such a result if it actually occurred on election day would probably lead to a majority government for the Conservatrives. However, this is only one poll, it is early days and the gap between the two major parties is bound to close during the campaign. Still it makes one wonder what internal polls the Liberals had which reassured them that it was a propitious time to go the polls.
(In Saturday’s La Presse an Angus Reid La Presse poll is reported as follows: Conservatives 39 %;Liberals 25 %;NDP 19%;Bloc Québécois 10 %;Greens 7 %. In Québec even more startling for the Liberals they are running fourth behind the Bloc at 38%, the Conservatives at 23 % and the NDP at 20 % with a mere 11 % of the vote. So unless these polls are rogue polls with distorted results -remember that all polls usually operate at the 95 % confidence interval where one time in 20 the results differ from the actual population opinion by more than the margin of error of ,in this case, 3.1 %. , the starting point for the Liberals in this campaign is significantly below a strong competitive position. These federal national results by the way are very close to the results in the last federal election in 2008 where the Conservatives scored 37.6 %, the Liberals 26.2 % and the NDP 18.2 %, the BQ 10 % and the Greens 6.8 %.)