Nation & World

Canadian report | Polls say support for Trudeau and Liberal party waning

After a “honeymoon” period of popularity when Justin Trudeau took over the leadership of Canada’s Liberal party in 2013, support for him and the party is waning.

The 43-year-old had much name recognition being the eldest son of the late flamboyant Pierre Trudeau, Liberal prime minister from 1968 to 1979 and again from 1980 to 1984.

Public opinion polls place the Liberals in third place behind the socialist New Democratic Party and the ruling Conservatives, who are tied for the lead.

A Forum Research poll of 1,200 Canadian voters gave the two leading parties support at 32 percent each and 26 percent for the Liberals.

Over the past year, the Forum polls have gone from giving Trudeau and the Liberals a comfortable lead to a tie and now third place in advance of the Oct. 19 election.

When asked about leadership quality, respondents to the recent poll said New Democratic leader Tom Mulcair would make the best prime minister at 27 percent, while Prime Minister Stephen Harper received 25 percent and Trudeau had 23 percent.

EKOS pollsters said Mulcair is “picking up all the marbles as Trudeau fades.”

The polling company said the results “seem to suggest that the Liberals’ numbers are suffering from a lack of clarity in the party plans for the country and its citizens.”

Canada’s economy lost 6,400 jobs last month while the jobless rate was steady at 6.8 percent, where it has been since February.

Economists had expected a loss of about 10,000 jobs as employment fell in Quebec and New Brunswick, but increased in British Columbia and Newfoundland/Labrador.

The number of full-time jobs increased by 64,800 in June but 71,200 part-time jobs were lost in the month, Statistics Canada said.

News in brief

▪ A Winnipeg man was arrested after a lawyer was seriously injured when a bomb exploded as she opened a parcel delivered to her office. Maria Mitousis, 38, lost her right hand and had multiple injuries from the blast. Police said a man whose ex-wife had been represented by Mitousis was arrested. Guido Amsel, 49, faces two counts of attempted murder, aggravated assault and explosives charges for sending bombs to several offices.

▪ Driver error has been blamed for the deaths of two horses in the controversial chuckwagon races at the Calgary Stampede. There has been growing criticism about the races in which 50 horses have died in the past 20 years. Stampede officials said it was “regrettable” and continue to work ensure safe races.

Facts and figures

Canada’s dollar is lower at 78.83 cents U.S. while the U.S. dollar returns $1.2685 in Canadian funds, before bank exchange fees.

The Bank of Canada’s key interest rate is steady at 0.75 percent while the prime-lending rate is 2.85 percent.

Markets are lower with the Toronto Stock Exchange index at 14,395 points and the TSX Venture index 641 points.

The average price of gas is lower at a national average of $1.1816 a liter or $4.49 (Canadian) for a U.S. gallon.

Lotto 6/49: (July 8) 3, 8, 41, 43, 46 and 47; bonus 49. (July 4) 20, 22, 23, 24, 39 and 41; bonus 26. Lotto Max: (July 3) 1, 6, 30, 40, 46, 47 and 49; bonus 37.

Regional briefs

▪ Workers at 69 Loblaw-owned grocery stores in Ontario have ratified a six-year contract, ending a one-week strike at some locations. The 13,600 members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Canada will receive undisclosed wage increases and pension plan improvements. They work at Loblaws Great Food and Superstore grocery stores, Zehrs, Real Canadian Superstore and Joe Fresh clothing stores.

▪ News that British Columbia conservation officer Bryce Casavant was suspended without pay for refusing to kill two black bear cubs has resulted in international criticism on social media. The cubs were orphaned near Port Hardy after their mother was killed while raiding a freezer of meat and salmon. Casavant took the cubs to a veterinary hospital and they are now at a North Island Wildlife Recovery Association shelter. The B.C. Ministry of Environment said it is investigating and reviewing its policies.

JIM FOX can be reached at