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Home >> World
UPDATED: 09:56, October 19, 2006
Canadian main opposition ties for support with Conservatives: poll
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Canada's main opposition, the Liberal Party, is gradually gaining strength and garnered the same support as the ruling Conservatives in a new poll.

Both the Liberals and the Conservatives would get the support of 32 percent of Canadian voters if an election were held now, according to the poll conducted on Oct. 12-15 by The Strategic Counsel.

Analysts say that the poll showed the "resilience of the Liberal Party." "The Liberal Party... has a lot of solid foundations in the country and people are comfortable with a lot of the values of the Liberal Party," said Canadian Television's Ottawa Bureau Chief Robert Fife on Wednesday.

With the controversy over the the Afghanistan mission, concerns over the Conservative government's environmental policy, and Prime Minister Stephen Harper's recent statements accusing Liberal leadership candidates of being anti-Israel, Fife said "people seem to be gravitating back to the Liberal Party."

The Conservatives came to power in February after winning with a slight majority in January's federal election, replacing the Liberals who had ruled Canada for 12 years in a row.

The Liberals are still in search of a leader after former Prime Minister Paul Martin resigned following the federal election. A party convention scheduled for Dec. 2 is expected to produce the Liberals' new leader, who will take them into the next elections, widely expected to take place next spring.

Two of the frontrunners in the Liberal leader race are former Harvard professor Michael Ignatieff and former Ontario premier Bob Rae. But none could compete with Prime Minister Stephen Harper for his post if an election were held today, the poll showed.

About 37 percent said they would choose Harper, with only 26 percent supporting Rae and 23 percent for Ignatieff.

The support ratings for other opposition parties in the poll are as follows: the New Democratic Party with 17 percent, Bloc Quebecois with 11 percent and the Green party 5 percent. Currently, only the Green party has no seats in parliament.

Source: Xinhua

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