Saturday, February 12, 2005

Support for BMD Drops

Looks like Martin's government won't be able to join the missile defense plan without being severely punished for it. A new poll conducted by the Toronto Star and EKOS shows that support for the plan has fallen to an all time low. More importantly, unlike gay marriage, the population feels this is an issue worth fighting an election over.

54 per cent of the population is now opposed to the plan, up 1 per cent since October. However, support for the plan has dropped three points to 34 per cent. 12 per cent remain undecided.

Frank Graves, President of EKOS, claims support for the plan have fallen by 20 per cent in recent years. In his mind, the issue has become a referendum on the Bush Presidency:

"I don't think Canadians feel that intensely about missile defense, in and of itself. I think it's become a proxy for deeper anxieties about what the American administration (is) doing"
The Bloc and the NDP are almost unanimously opposed to the plan and are supported by a vocal minority within the Liberal caucus. While the government doesn't need parliament's support, pushing it through without a vote might make the matter even more troublesome for the Liberals.

Paul Martin is, once again, stuck between a rock and a hard place. Martin's people are largely opposed to the plan, but President Bush is all but demanding Canadian support.

Defense Lobbies have suggested that Canada must join the plan in order to have some 'input' into how the system operates.

The simple fact of the matter is that Martin has, yet again, managed to put himself in an untenable situation. If he refuses to join he loses all leverage with our neighbours which will undoubtedly lead to worsening relations and lower numbers in the polls. If he joins, the public will be livid and the Liberals will be guaranteed to drop in the polls. Net result? Liberals drop even more in the polls.

And the hits just keep on coming...


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