... for the NDP
"Harper doesn't need to do a deal with [the NDP and Bloc]. He's already got an implicit deal with the Liberals. The Liberals are broke, disorganized and leaderless. If the Liberals don't like [the budget], some of them just won't show up for the vote. They'll have problems with many items in it, but they're all election items, so you can't go too hard against them. They have to look cooperative for the public until the honeymoon is over."
Michael Marzolini , chair and CEO, Pollara Strategic Public Opinion and Market Research
... for Kyoto
"The powers of a prime minister in this country, even in a minority government, make the potential for destruction of environmental programs enormous. Harper need not return to the House to cancel Kyoto; it doesn't require a vote. But he wants to be re-elected, and making Kyoto a huge cause célèbre wouldn't serve that agenda. The Conservatives' $2-billion transit pass tax exemption is welcome, but [if it replaces the Liberals' $1-billion climate change fund, which should eliminate 100 million tonnes of carbon] they'll spend twice as much to get one-hundreth the benefit. The Bloc might support the Conservatives in downloading or erasing federal powers on the environment. "
Elizabeth May , executive director, Sierra Club of Canada
... for foreign policy
"I don't think there's much room for play in Canadian foreign policy right now. The never-ending softwood lumber dispute is really about U.S. interest group interactions with the U.S. Congress. It's difficult to see how Harper would make a big difference. One of the big decisions is who Harper selects as foreign affairs minister. [Stockwell] Day has been the foreign affairs critic, but there would be a great deal of concern if he were appointed."
Ed Dosman , Centre for International and Security Studies, York University
... for childcare
"The biggest battle will be over childcare. Over the last year, the [feds] negotiated bilateral agreements with all 10 provinces. The Conservatives said they'd rip up those agreements after one year, and that's an immediate political problem for them. We did an analysis of their $1,200 childcare allowance payment, and most families would get far less. It's kind of a stealth program. The counterweight to this is the fact that the parties have to keep this Parliament working, so there'll be a lot of horse-trading. The Liberals and the NDP could come together to oppose the Tory childcare scheme, but the Conservative cut to GST goes forward."
Ken Battle , president, Caledon Institute of Social Policy
... for same-sex marriage
"The numbers are very telling. The new Conservative government does not have a mandate to proceed with rolling back on equal marriage. We're obviously still concerned, but they're in a fairly tenuous position. A lot of the Liberals who opposed same-sex marriage were just defeated or replaced by a Conservative who shares their views, so in terms of the numbers, it may not move a lot. I think the handful of Liberal MPs against equal marriage are not willing to reopen the issue."
Gilles Marchildon , executive director, Egale Canada
... for renewable energy
"Harper's win is not good for the environment. His whole power base is in Calgary. He's beholden to oil interests there, and the pressure for resource development will be enormous. The idea that you would hold back for environmental reasons... I don't think that's the way Harper views the world, even though we could probably handle demand through conservation and developing alternative sources of energy." Gideon Forman , Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment
... for strategic voting
"Strategic voting played incredibly well. Harper got about the same percentage as the Liberals got in 2004, but he got 10 fewer seats. I think creating a debate around this caused a lot of people to think, and the numbers reflect that." Buzz Hargrove , president, Canadian Auto Workers email@example.com