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Polls polls everywhere

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Apparently I missed the memo that this was supposed to be poll week.

There are at least three different polls out today or in the last two days about Canada’s federal political feelings.

Two things stick out to me from perusing them:

-according to EKOS, more Canadians would vote Liberal than Conservative right now (33.5 to 32.3) but more Canadians think Stephen Harper is a better prime minister than Michael Ignatieff would be (30 to 26). Forty-four per cent said neither of them would be a good prime minister.

-A Strategic Counsel poll found 19 per cent of Canadians would invite Harper over to dinner, compared to 15 per cent who’d invite Ignatieff. But 56 per cent of Canadians would invite not invite either of them.

This is disturbing to me in many ways.

First of all I will never understand how more people would vote Liberal than Conservative but more people like Harper than Ignatieff. The leader of a party is so soundly connected to everything about that party that it doesn’t make sense to me to pick the party but not the leader. So that’s just an anomaly I don’t get.

Secondly, I don’t believe anyone who says they would actually turn down the chance to have either of them over for dinner. Seriously, folks. You might think you sound hip to pretend you’re too cool for politics and that you’d shun both a sitting prime minister and a potential prime minister from your kitchen table.

But that’s just ridiculous. Unless you said no because you’d be too nervous to entertain either of them I just don’t believe you. And if you do really think you’d say no, ask yourself why. If you are truly that turned off politics, why wouldn’t you jump at the opportunity to bend the ear of someone who actually has some influence in how things work.

Not that this question is realistic because most Canadians wouldn’t have the opportunity to invite either of them over. But it’s symbolic.

It’s like people who say they don’t vote because they hate politics, all politicians are crooks, etc.

If the system is that broken it’s because too many Canadians are opting out completely. Yes there is a lot of bunk in the political system and the day to day machinations here in Ottawa can be hard to digest. But the only way a democracy improves is if the voters take it upon themselves to force our leaders to be better.

Opting out doesn’t do that. It just lets the political games continue to take precedence over public policy.

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About Mia Rabson

Mia Rabson is a born and bred Winnipegger whose interest in politics seemed clear when she dressed up as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney for Halloween in the 7th grade.

Her interest in writing was no surprise to her parents, who learned early in Mia’s life that no piece of blank paper — or wall, for that matter — was safe in her hands.

She holds an honours BA in English from Queen’s University, a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Western Ontario, and has completed a political journalism fellowship in Washington, D.C. with the Washington Centre for Politics and Journalism.

Prior to working for the Winnipeg Free Press, Mia briefly worked for the Detroit News in the paper’s Washington bureau.

Mia joined the Free Press team in February 2001, and in April 2001 was appointed to the Manitoba legislature bureau. In December 2004, she was appointed bureau chief at the legislature. She became the newspaper’s parliamentary bureau chief/national reporter in Ottawa in January 2008.

In 2008 she was nominated for a Michener Award with a team of reporters from the Free Press for its coverage of the province’s child welfare system.

She counts reliving the invasion at Dieppe, France, with veterans of the failed Second World War expedition and overcoming her fear of heights to touch the Golden Boy statue atop the Legislative Building among her favourite experiences as a reporter.


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