From The Harper Index, itself a product of the Golden Lake Institute (which I've never heard of), comes this interesting piece of the rise of the "religious conservative" voter in Canada:
Andrew Grenville, a senior vice president with IPSOS-Reid in Toronto, led a survey of 36,000 voters via the internet for CanWest/Global on Jan. 23, 2006, the day of the general election. Grenville wrote about those results in the March-April 2006 edition of Faith Today, a publication of the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada. He found that 64 per cent of weekly Protestant church attendees voted for Conservative candidates. By definition, the majority of those Protestant voters were evangelicals because they are much more likely to attend church weekly than mainline Protestants.
"In the predominantly English speaking parts of Canada, Protestants who attend church weekly embraced the Conservatives with a fervour never seen before," Grenville wrote. "Clearly, a line has been crossed and a population mobilized."
The article claims, among other things, that the traditionally Liberal "Catholic vote" has begun to leak away to the Harper Conservatives, and that "being a Protestant fundamentalist is the single most important predictor of a Conservative vote in our models. "
It is, however, a bit on the alarmist side, especially in the thesis that what we are seeing in Canada is a delayed echo of the United States in the 80s and 1990s. My own view is that the "Big Blue Wave", as it were, has moved in sync within both countries, and in fact crested at the same time. The "ferver" of Canadian evangelicals has left Harper's Tories stuck at about 30 per cent in the opinion polls, and there are simply not enough bible waving bodies out there to drive those numbers higher. Whereas in the States you can add another 10 points to that total.
I am also of the opinion that the article's conclusion is entirely unjustified:
The religious and cultural wars that have enveloped the United States since at least the time of Ronald Reagan have arrived in Canada and they may well intensify.
Oh really, over what? SSM and abortion rights are essentially in the bag in this country, ascendant Environmental issues tend to split the Right rather than the Left, and on such matters as the HPV vacine , our Fundys show a streak of Realism far beyond the mental capacity of their U.S. counterparts. So where is the trigger to this cultural war?