Albertans take part in rallies for and against coalition
Last Updated: Friday, December 5, 2008 | 12:11 PM MT
Hundreds of Albertans voiced support for the proposed Liberal-NDP coalition Thursday night, even as a pollster described residents of the province as being "on the verge of apoplexy" over what is happening in Ottawa.
More than 100 people turned out for a noisy pro-coalition rally at the Harry Hays Building in downtown Calgary, while about 400 turned up for a similar rally in Edmonton's Churchill Square.
"We embrace our coalition. We embrace democracy. We embrace the people working together," said Colette Oseem in Edmonton. "We embrace being together in the face of this economic tsunami that's bearing down on us."
In Calgary, many demonstrators voiced anger about the decision by the Governor General to prorogue Parliament. Michaëlle Jean's decision avoided a confidence vote set for Monday that most likely would have toppled Prime Minister Stephen Harper's minority government and possibly given power to a Liberal-NDP coalition supported by the Bloc Québécois.
Parliament resumes on Jan. 26, with a federal budget to be delivered the following day.
Calgary rally participant Joanne Miller said the passion people showed on both sides of the issue was encouraging.Hundreds gathered in Edmonton's Churchill Square for a pro-coalition rally. (CBC)
"I think Canadians are apathetic, and I think it's kind of exciting that people have taken an interest and that the debate is going on," she said.
An anti-coalition rally was held on Thursday afternoon outside the office Strathcona New Democrat MP Linda Duncan in Edmonton. The protest drew about 250 people. Duncan is the only non-Conservative MP in the province.
"Stéphane Dion and Jack Layton, who say they are nationalists, must now appease the Bloc in every confidence of the House of Commons," student Mat Altheim told the crowd.
"Today let's send a message to Ottawa. I want people across this nation to know we here in Edmonton believe in Canada and we stand firm with our brethren in Quebec and across this nation who believe in a unified Canada."
Anti-coalition rallies will also be held in Calgary and Edmonton on Saturday as part of a cross-country effort.
Albertans want another election: poll
A recent EKOS poll conducted for the CBC suggests that support for the Conservatives is still high in Alberta.
"Albertans are almost on the verge of apoplexy about all this. In fact, in Alberta alone there was really quite a sizable number that said, to hell with all this, let's just go back to another election," said EKOS pollster Frank Graves.
Respondents in the two-day automated telephone survey conducted Tuesday and Wednesday were asked: "If an election were held tomorrow, which party would you vote for?"
While 44 per cent of the Canadians surveyed chose the Conservatives, in Alberta that support reached 75.1 per cent.
In total, a random sample of 2,536 Canadians aged 18 and over responded to the survey. A sample of this size provides a margin of error of plus or minus 1.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The margin of error was higher for the smaller sample size of Albertans, plus or minus 5.3 per cent, 19 times out of 20.
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