'That whole sponsorship scandal has hurt Canada,' Niagara MP says
Niagara Falls MP Rob Nicholson says he wants a federal election to be called as soon as possible.
The Conservative Party whip will be canvassing Fort Erie this week, polling voters at various events to find out if they agree.
"I would say as soon a possible," Nicholson said in a phone interview from Parliament Hill this week. "I'm going to be getting feedback from people."
Nicholson said so much incriminating evidence against the federal Liberal Party has been uncovered in the Gomery inquiry that he doesn't need to wait until the final report is released this fall to decide if an election is warranted.
Senior Liberal Party members under former Prime Minister Jean Chretien are accused of funnelling millions of dollars from a national sponsorship program to fund the Party's political activities in Quebec.
Though Prime Minister Paul Martin, who was the Party's finance minister at the time, has denied any knowledge of the impropriety, his Party has been accused of trading lucrative sponsorship contracts for political donations and other favours to the Party.
"That whole sponsorship scandal has hurt Canada," Nicholson said.
Liberal Party approval has plummeted in the wake of the scandal. Recent polls have shown its approval rating at 25 per cent, down 15 per cent in just a couple of months.
The official opposition Conservatives' approval has risen to 36 per cent.
"I'm hoping in the next election people will have a look at another alternative, which will be the Conservative Party," Nicholson said. "I'm quite confident that they're moving in that direction."
The rift between the two parties grew this week when Liberal House leader Tony Valeri announced the cancellation of the Conservative, Bloc Quebecois and NDP opposition days in the House, which allow the minority parties to set the agenda.
Seven opposition days must be held every parliamentary cycle and only one has been held this cycle. The remaining six days must be held before June 23.
The Conservatives were expected to go ahead with a motion this week to lock the remaining opposition days, including May 11 and 18, for themselves. Opposition days will give the Conservatives a chance to bring forward a motion of non-confidence in the Liberal government and possibly trigger an election as early as this spring.