Canadians think PM should change plans on royal wedding
Prime Minister Stephen Harper listens to a question during a campaign stop in Saanich, British Columbia March 28, 2011. Canadians will head to the polls in a federal election on May 2. REUTERS/Chris Wattie
OTTAWA — A new poll says most Canadians think Prime Minister Stephen Harper should shelve his re-election campaign and get himself to Westminster Abbey next month for the wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton, which many believe will be the social event of the decade.
Harper and his wife Laureen received an invitation to the exclusive affair and accepted, but then had to cancel because of the federal election campaign.
The royals get hitched on April 28. The election campaign ends on May 2.
“Due to the election campaign, the prime minister will unfortunately not be able to attend the royal wedding,” Harper’s chief spokesman Dimitri Soudas said Tuesday. “The unfortunate reality is given that the three opposition parties have plunged the country into a reckless and opportunistic election, the prime minister will not be able to attend the wedding, but he does send his best wishes to the soon-to-be newlywed couple.”
The Tories may want to rethink that idea, particularly if they want a photo op that will impress the one group of voters — women — the Conservatives have had trouble winning over.
Abacus Data Inc. says 64% of the women they surveyed last week said Harper ought to go to the wedding. Overall, 59% of those surveyed said the Harpers should head to London.
In fact, that sentiment was strongest among Conservative supporters: 72% of those surveyed who said they were voting Conservative also said they wanted Harper and his wife to watch Kate and William walk down the aisle.
By region, only Quebec seemed a bit out of step with the country on this issue. While anywhere between 58% and 64% of people in all provinces but Quebec said he should go, just 52% of Quebecers said he should.
Canada will be represented at the wedding by Gov. Gen. David Johnston and his wife Sharon.
Kate Purchase, a spokeswoman for the Liberal campaign, said that’s just fine.
“We are pleased that Canada will have representation at the wedding, as the governor general and his wife will be attending. We look forward to debating Mr. Harper on our policies and the Liberal vision every day leading up to May 2nd,” Purchase said.
Abacus surveyed 1,000 Canadians chosen randomly from its online panel of 100,000 from March 24-28. It says its results are comparable to a margin of error of 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.