Liberal supporters unimpressed with party’s stance on C-51

Canada Politics
Some Liberal party members are posting photos of destroyed membership cards on social media sites.

The Liberal Party’s voting record on Bill C-51 may be rearing its head as sentiments shift among progressive voters in Canada.

Bill C-51 passed in the House of Commons with a Conservative majority as well as votes in favour from the Liberal caucus, and is now being studied by the Senate. And although the bill is poised to pass and become legislation before the next federal election, pressure continues to mount in opposition.

Former Liberal supporters are posting photos of their cut up LPC membership cards on social media, in protest of the party’s support of the government’s controversial anti-terror legislation.

One quick glance at Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s Facebook page shows some of the hostility over the party’s stance on the bill. Almost every post on Trudeau’s wall contains comments denouncing the leader’s position.

The story doesn’t quite end there. According to Sun News’ David Akin, some former Liberal Party members have switched allegiances — and are running for the NDP in this year’s federal election.

John Kenik, mayor of the town Perth in Ontario, was a long-time Liberal supporter but is now seeking the NDP candidacy in the new Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston riding. Waterloo city councillor Diane Freeman, also a long-time Liberal, is the NDP candidate in her respective riding.

“Some time ago I realized that I no longer see my values reflected in that party,” Freeman said last week when she announced her candidacy.

Disillusioned voters on social media and a couple of high profile candidates aren’t clear indications of an overall shift in sentiment, but a new EKOS poll suggests all three main parties are nearly neck-and-neck in national support, and that the NDP is showing signs of edging past the Liberal Party.

The EKOS study paints an unexpected picture. The horse race has turned into a “three way tie, driven by a surge in support for the New Democrats,” wrote EKOS head Frank Graves on the political news site

According to the poll, federal vote intention puts the Conservative Party at 30 per cent, NDP at 29 per cent and the Liberals at 27 per cent. Only three percentage points separates the main political parties, months ahead of the fall election.

Trudeau and NDP leader Tom Mulcair’s approval ratings remain high, so whatever is holding the Liberals back in the poll, Graves said, isn’t about Trudeau’s personality.

“The story here appears to be one of NDP success, rather than one of a decline in their rivals’ fortunes,” Graves wrote. “The NDP has jumped five percentage points over the last week, while the Conservatives and Liberals are both down just slightly from their rolling average over the past few weeks.”

If the election happened today these results, according to Graves, would put the House of Commons back into Conservative government territory, but with a “slim” minority and NDP opposition.

The survey was conducted between May 6 and 12, with 2,177 respondents above the age of 18. The margin of error with the sample is plus or minus 2.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.