Americans oppose Afghanistan mission: Poll

Pollster Angus Reid finds that, for the first time, a majority of Americans oppose the U.S. mission in Afghanistan.

Polling Data

Do you favour or oppose the U.S. war in Afghanistan?

Jan. 2007

Sept. 2006










Source: Opinion Research Corporation / CNN
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,008 American adults, conducted from Jan. 19 to Jan. 21, 2007. Margin of error is 3 per cent.

A book for the troops

MCpl Rena Groves may soon come to your town and if she does, she’ll be asking you to sign a ‘best wishes’ book she’s created for Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Groves, from St. John’s, was in Ottawa today with her book and she presented to the national Conservative caucus. The Prime Minister along with his caucus signed the book.

“It’s point is that we are in Afghanistan, but Canadians are in Afghanistan with us,” said Groves. “It’s telling our soldiers, we’re here, we care and come back safe.”

The book, a personal project of Groves, contains photos and comments from soldiers who have already served in Afghanistan.

Groves will beging travelling across the country in February — she’ll start off in her hometown on The Rock —  looking for signatures for her book. The book will eventually be presented to the troops in Afghanistan before returning to Canada. Groves said the book will then be given to the Canadian War Museum.

Groves, who is at Canadian Forces Station Leitrim near Ottawa, has not yet been deployed to Afghanistan. “I want to go. That’s it, that’s all, there is no more!”


If you're in Ottawa and you're a Guelph alumnus …

You are invited to breakfast next week:

Wednesday, February 7th: Ottawa Alumni Breakfast and Speaker Series
Covering the Federal Government – a Newcomer's View”
The University of Guelph Ottawa Alumni Chapter invites you to the 2nd installment of the Alumni Breakfast and Speaker Series at Malone's Lakeside Grill, Dow's Lake Pavillion, 1001 Queen Elizabeth Drive. Join your fellow Guelph alumni for breakfast from 7:30 to 8:45 a.m., with guest speaker David Akin,
BA 1998. David is a Gemini award-winning journalist, currently working as a Parliamentary Correspondent in the Ottawa Bureau of CTV National News. Prior to joining CTV, David was an inaugural staff member of the National Post and editor of the Ontarion. Tickets for breakfast are $15 and can be reserved by ordering online or by calling 519-824-4120 ext 56934. Please leave your name and contact information. For directions and parking information for Malone's, click here.


Harper: "We will go to the wall to stop" Kyoto

The Liberals are distributing a 2002 letter by Stephen Harper to members of his Canadian Alliance party denouncing the Kyoto Protocol. This letter is sure to be basis of some political fireworks in the House of Commons today. Here’s the text of that letter:

Dear Friend,

We're on a roll, folks!

The Canadian Alliance is once again setting the agenda in the House of Commons. Look at what happened in less than two months since Parliament reopened:

  • We bagged another Liberal cabinet minister when we drove the hapless Lawrence MacAulay to resign for violating the ethics guidelines.
  • We broke Jean Chretien's chokehold on the House of Commons by getting the election of committee chairs and votes on all private members' bills.
  • We finally (!) got the Liberals to agree to set up a national registry for sex offenders.

But we can't just relax and declare victory. We're gearing up for the biggest struggle our party has faced since you entrusted me with the leadership. I'm talking about the “battle of Kyoto'' _ our campaign to block the job-killing, economy-destroying Kyoto Accord.

It would take more than one letter to explain what's wrong with Kyoto, but here are a few facts about this so-called “Accord'':

  • It's based on tentative and contradictory scientific evidence about climate trends. 
  • It focuses on carbon dioxide, which is essential to life, rather than upon pollutants. 
  • Canada is the only country in the world required to make significant cuts in emissions. Third World countries are exempt, the Europeans get credit for shutting down inefficient Soviet-era industries, and no country in the Western hemisphere except Canada is signing. 
  •  Implementing Kyoto will cripple the oil and gas industry, which is essential to the economies of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Saskatchewan, Alberta and British Columbia. 
  •  As the effects trickle through other industries, workers and consumers everywhere in Canada will lose. THERE ARE NO CANADIAN WINNERS UNDER THE KYOTO ACCORD. 

 The only winners will be countries such as Russia, India, and China, from which Canada will have to buy “emissions credits.'' Kyoto is essentially a socialist scheme to suck money out of wealth-producing nations.

On top of all this, Kyoto will not even reduce greenhouse gases. By encouraging transfer of industrial production to Third World countries where emissions standards are more relaxed, it will almost certainly increase emissions on a global scale.

For a long time, the Canadian Alliance stood virtually alone in opposing the Kyoto Accord, as Bob Mills, our senior environment critic, waged a valiant battle against it. Now, however, allies are stepping forward _ eight of 10 provincial governments, and a broad coalition of businesses across Canada _ to help us fight the “battle of Kyoto.''

Jean Chretien says he will introduce a resolution to ratify Kyoto into Parliament and get it passed before Christmas. We will do everything we can to stop him there, but he might get it passed with the help of the socialists in the NDP and the separatists in the BQ.

But the “battle of Kyoto'' is just beginning. Ratification is merely symbolic; Kyoto will not take effect unless and until it is implemented by legislation. We will go to the wall to stop that legislation and at that point we will be on much stronger procedural ground than in trying to block a mere resolution.

The Reform Party defeated the Charlottetown Accord in an epic struggle in the fall of 1992. Now the Canadian Alliance is leading the battle against the Kyoto Accord!

But we can't do it alone. It will take an army of Canadians to beat Kyoto, just as it did to beat Charlottetown.

We can't stop Kyoto just in Parliament. We need your help at all levels. We need you to inform yourself about Kyoto, to discuss it with your friends and neighbours, and to write protest letters to newspapers and the government.

And, yes, we need your gifts of money. The “battle of Kyoto'' is going to lead directly into the next election. We need your contribution of $500, or $250, or $100, or whatever you can afford, to help us drive the Liberals from power.

Yours truly,
Stephen Harper, MP
Leader of the Opposition

PS: The “battle of Kyoto'' shows why the Canadian Alliance is so important to you and to Canada. All the other federal parties are supporting Kyoto (Liberals, NDP, BQ) or speaking out of both sides of their mouth (Tories). Only the Canadian Alliance is strong and fearless enough to block dangerous and destructive schemes like the Charlottetown Accord and the Kyoto Accord.


Fraser fired Gelinas — and Gelinas never knew

Fired Environment Commissioner Johanne Gelinas just released a statement.  It’s a doozy. In it, she admits that she and here boss, Auditor General Sheila Fraser, were not seeing eye-to-eye on the nature of her job but Gelinas certainly didn’t expect to be dumped. Fraser will get a grilling tomorrow on this from the Commons Environment Committee.

Here is Gelinas’ statement:

Statement by Johanne Gelinas

In reaction to today's announcement by the Auditor General of Canada

OTTAWA, January 30, 2007 – Going back a year ago, there has been a difference of opinion between the Auditor General of Canada and myself, on the orientation that should be given to the position of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. The discussions were in private with no interference whatsoever from the Government of Canada and its representatives.

In the last while, our discussions also centered on whether or not I should continue to hold the position of Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. I was considering a future departure, but today's announcement from Mrs. Fraser was premature and came as a complete surprise to me.

I wish to state at this time that it has been an honour and a privilege to serve Canadians, through Parliament, in my role as Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development. I intend to continue to be dedicated to environmental and sustainable development issues.


World's glaciers melting at an accelerating rate, says UN

A new United Nations-backed report says that the world’s glaciers are melting at an accelerating rate because of global warming caused by human activity.

Between 2000 and 2006, the world’s glaciers melted at a rate that was 1.6 times faster than the rate at which they melted during the 1990s and three times as fast as the melt rate in the 1980s.

The study is released days before the UN-backed Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is to release the summary of its fourth assessment report, a summary which is expected to conclude that global warming is real, that it is accelerating, and that this phenomenon cannot be explained by natural causes.


QP's best line of the day goes to ..

John BairdEnvironment Minister John Baird (right), wearing a green tie (!), was trying his best not to seem so aggressive during Question Period. Still, as the photo to the right shows, old habits are hard to break. Liberal House Leader Ralph Goodale was heckling Baird mercilessly and egging him on whenever the Environment Minister was on his feet. Still, Baird managed to land the following zinger-of-the-day:

Liberal MP Mark Holland sets it up …

Mr. Speaker, the only thing they have done is reintroduce Liberal programs.
While our then environment minister was bringing the world together to work on the post-Kyoto environment, they were sitting there pretending that climate change did not exist. In fact the only thing the Conservatives have done is to copy Liberal programs. If they are going to keep copying us, they should just put on a green scarf and get out of the way.

… and Baird knocks it down …

Mr. Speaker, there is a lot of discussion on this side of the House as to whether a Liberal plan actually existed. I am pleased to tell the House today that they did have a Liberal plan. The plan was to host a $50 million talk-fest. The plan was to spend $5 billion on buying hot air credits in Russia while not improving our environment today. Finally, buy a dog, name it Kyoto, and call it a day. That is not good enough for Canadians.

Auroras over land

CP-130 AuroraMacdonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. of Richmond, B.C. is moving ahead with previously announced plans to put some new kinds of radar on Canada’s fleet of CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft.

“The CP140 Aurora patrol aircraft were acquired by Canada in 1980 and are used primarily for maritime surveillance. When the current Aurora upgrade program is completed, the radar surveillance solution on the Aurora will be able to detect, track, and image objects moving on land or sea,” MDA says in its press release.

MDA and DND have been working on this sincce 2003. After testing and development of this new radar, four Aurora’s will be outfitted with the prototype land radar beginning in April. The fleet will be upgraded with the new radar once the production issues are sorted out.

It’s all part of a long-range plan, through to about 2025, to continue to modernize the Auroras.

And there is some thinking that the giving Aurora the ability to complete surveillance missions over land — as well as improving its defensive capabilities from a land-based threat — means that the Aurora’s could be soon be deployed in support of Canada’s forces in Afghanistan.

Environment Poll: Mindshare

The rapidity with which the environment has climbed to the top of the list as the most important issue facing the country has astounded pollsters. A year ago, just 4 in 100 Canadians would said “the environment”, if you asked them what is the top public policy issue. This year, better than one in four Canadians say it’s number one, eclipsing healthcare as the perennial top issue in Canada.

Allan Gregg told me that, in the early 1990s, healthcare barely registered on “top issues” polling but by the middle of the decade it was number one and has stayed at number one for most of the decade. Gregg says he wouldn’t be surprised if “environmental issues” remained the most important issue for Canadians for the remainder of this decade and beyond.

So, here’s the question that Gregg’s firm The Strategic Counsel, the pollster for CTV News and The Globe and Mail, put in front of a 1,000 Canadians earlier this month:

Q.   In your opinion, what is the most important issue facing Canada today – that is the one you are most concerned about?

Here the results when this question was asked between Jan 4–11, 2007

  • Environmental issues – 26 %
  • Healthcare – 18%
  • Government leadership / stability / foreign policy – 6%
  • Terrorism (includes all mentions of Afghanistan) – 6 %
  • Economic issues (excluding govt spending or unemployment) – 6 %
  • Unemployment – 4 %
  • Taxes – 3 %
  • Education – 3%
  • Government Spending – 3 %
  • Crime/violence – 3 %
  • Sponsorship scandal / Corruption – 1 %
  • Gas Prices – less than 1 %

The Strategic Counsel surveyed 1,000 Canadians between Jan. 11 and Jan . 14. The pollster says that, on a national basis, the poll is accurate to within 3.2 percentage points.

Here are the results when this question was asked Jan. 4–5, 2006. Remember, Canada was in the midst of the election campaign. The sample size for this poll was 1,500 and, as a result, the pollster believes the margin of error is smaller than the poll reported above. Take particular note of where crime/violence ranked and where environment ranked then.

  • Healthcare – 25 %
  • Crime/violence – 10 %
  • Sponsorship scandal / corruption – 8 %
  • Government leadership / stability / foreign policy – 8 %
  • Economic issues (excluding govt spending or unemployment) – 6 %
  • Environmental issues – 4%
  • Taxes – 3%
  • Education – 2%
  • Government spending – 2%
  • Unemployment – 2%
  • Gas prices – 1%
  • Terrorism (includes all mentions of Afghanistan) – 1%


Environment Poll: Kyoto

Last night on our newscast and today in The Globe and Mail, our news organizations kicked off what we hope will be a special year-long (or longer) project on climate change. We decided to start this project by asking our pollster, The Strategic Counsel, to survey Canadians about a variety of environmental issues. Last night and today in The Globe, we present some of the big public policy/political results that of that poll. Tonight and tomorrow in the paper, we’ll have much more.

Over the next few days, I’m going to blog some of the poll results. I’ll present the question that was asked and some more detailed results than we were able to report on our newscast.

One of the things we found that we thought was remarkable was the overwhelming support — even in Western Canada – for the Kyoto Protocol, a warning for any political party that wants to turn its back on the international agreement aimed at reducing the greenhouse gases that cause global warming.

Now it is probably true that most Canadians do not have a clear understanding of just what the Kyoto Protocol actually is — but that’s not the point, says Stephen Hazell, the executive director of the Sierra Club of Canada: Kyoto is really code for working with other countries co-operatively so that Canada will do its share in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Here’s the questions and the results:

Q. As you may know, some time ago, Canada agreed to be part of the Kyoto Agreement and committed to reduce greenhouse gases by 2012. The position of the current federal government is that we have fallen so far behind that those goals are unachievable and we now need our own “made-in-Canada” plan.  Others have said that we should continue to try to achieve our targets and keep our Kyoto commitments. Which one of these best represents your own view?

Continue with Kyoto:

  • Canada – 63 %
  • Quebec – 76 %
  • Ontario – 61 %
  • The West – 55 %
  • Rest of Canada – 59 %

Need “made-in-Canada” plan

  • Canada – 30 %
  • Quebec – 20 %
  • Ontario – 32 %
  • The West – 37 %
  • Rest of Canada – 33 %

The Strategic Counsel surveyed 1,000 Canadians between Jan. 11 and Jan . 14. The pollster says that, on a national basis, the poll is accurate to within 3.2 percentage points. The margin of error is larger for the regional results, the highest margin of error is in Quebec at 6.3 percentage points.