Monday, April 8, 2013

Secrecy and ethics cast dark cloud on Stephen Harper’s government: poll

But note 46 % say the country is headed the right way -- and 46 % is sufficient for a crushingly large majority government... .

OTTAWA — Two-thirds of Canadians believe Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservative government is too secretive and has failed to govern with high ethical standards, a new poll has found.

The national survey conducted exclusively for Postmedia News and Global Television by Ipsos Reid also finds that after seven years in office, half of the country still believes that Harper has a “hidden agenda.”

The polling results offer some politically disconcerting news for the Conservatives as they approach the midpoint — May 2 — of their majority mandate and as the Liberals enjoy renewed popularity associated with Justin Trudeau.

In the coming months, Harper will embark on a significant effort to refresh his government’s persona. He will conduct a major cabinet shuffle in the summer, dropping weak ministers and bringing in fresh blood from the backbenches.

There will likely be a Throne Speech in the autumn, with an emphasis on promises to cut taxes, balance the budget, get Alberta’s oil products to foreign markets, and enhance trade throughout the world.

The goal is to be well positioned for the next election, in 2015.

Ipsos Reid CEO Darrell Bricker said in an interview that while Harper is maintaining support from his base of supporters, there is increasing public fatigue about the way the prime minister governs the country.

“There’s not a lot of objection to what Stephen Harper is actually doing in terms of public policy, given that the preoccupation of his coalition is on the economy,” said Bricker.

“This is as much of a style problem as it is a substance problem. They see him as secretive. They see him as still having a hidden agenda. They see him as somebody who is not particularly nice.”

The poll found that 54 per cent of Canadians believe the country is on the “wrong track,” versus 46 per cent who believe it is headed in the “right direction.”

Fifty-eight per cent of Canadians disapprove of the Conservative government under Harper’s leadership, compared to 42 per cent who approve.

Read more: Story here


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