.- According to polls issued Wednesday, the Conservative Party of Canada is leading all other parties as citizens gear up for the federal election Jan. 23.
Today’s poll indicates that Stephen Harper’s Conservatives are ahead of Paul Martin’s Liberals by 10 percentage points nationally, showing signs of the possibility of a majority Conservative government.
The Conservatives are also leading the Liberals in Quebec — by a few percentage points in the largest metropolitan area, Montreal, and by more than 10 percentage points in outlying and rural areas. The Bloc Québécois still holds the majority in the province but has slipped considerably in the last week.
The Conservative platform says it promotes “Canadian and family values.” Harper is on record for saying that, if his party formed the next government, he would revisit the same-sex marriage issue in Parliament and put the legislation to a free vote.
He would institute a childcare program that would allow families to choose whether they would like to send their young children to daycare or to stay home to raise their pre-school children. In both cases, parents would receive financial support.
Harper also said he would rehaul the way in which judicial appointments are made to the Supreme Court. Currently, appointments are made by the Prime Minister alone. Harper is proposing that judges be nominated and go through a Parliamentary review process.
Critics have said that Harper’s proposed budget is slightly more favorable for the working poor and middle class families than the Liberal’s plan.
Grassroots lobby groups have also risen up during this election campaign. The group VoteMarriageCanada was formed in the fall by former MP Pat O’Brien, who left the Liberals over the same-sex marriage issue, and former Alliance MP Grant Hill. The two are traveling across the country and urging Canadians to vote according to their values rather than party allegiance.
O’Brien said the nonpartisan organization is working to elect a pro-marriage Parliament so that the current law, allowing same-sex marriage, can be reversed and traditional Canadian values can be restored.
During a stop in Montreal last week, O’Brien recounted how the Liberal government made a mockery of the Canadian democratic system by ramming through Bill C-38, even though 67 percent of Canadians were not in favor of changing the definition of marriage.