Thursday, December 12, 2013
The Conservatives are facing a cooler reception from Canadians as they head home for the holidays, with new poll numbers suggesting a significant drop in the party's brand strength in traditional strongholds.
According to the Nanos Party Power Index, the Tories are losing ground to the NDP and Liberals in Ontario and the Prairies — key battlegrounds in the next federal election.
"Stephen Harper and the Conservatives built their majority and their successful kind of resurgence on the Canadian political field in the West," said Nik Nanos, president and CEO of Nanos Research. "Fast forward through this session — not a great time for the Conservatives."
Nanos Research releases a new Party Power Index score each week. It's a combination of measurements of federal party brands based on questions about the parties and the leaders, scored on a scale between zero to 100 for each party.
In the prairies, Conservatives have dropped 12 points since MPs returned to Parliament on Oct. 16. The Tories maintain the lead with a score of 54, but the Party Power Index shows the Liberals and NDP closing in with scores of 52 and 47, respectively.
These numbers are based on random telephone (cell and land-line) interviews with 197 voters in the Prairie provinces using a four-week rolling average ending Oct. 18, 2013, and Dec. 6, 2014 and are accurate to within 7.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
"The Tories can't afford to lose more here because, you know what, if the Prairies start to unravel for the Conservatives, it won't be good news in the rest of the country," Nanos told Power & Politics host Evan Solomon.
In Ontario, the Nanos numbers reveal significant gains for the New Democrats. Though they still sit in third place with a score of 48, the NDP have gained six points. In comparison, the Liberals fell six points and the Tories dropped four.
These results are based on random telephone (cell and land-line) interviews with 300 voters in Ontario using a four-week rolling average ending Oct. 18, 2013 and Dec. 6, 2014, accurate to within 5.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Which leader would make the best prime minister?
The polls also show NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair enjoying a lift from the fall session of Parliament. He's the only leader who has gained favour among Canadians in the past few months, according to the latest Nanos tracking numbers.
On the question of which major party leader would make best prime minister, Stephen Harper and Justin Trudeau are in the lead with close scores of 27 and 26, respectively. However, those scores reflect decreases of four and six points.
With a score of 20, Mulcair has seen a four-point increase in his personal brand.
"Two lumps of coal for Harper and Trudeau and a little bit of a Christmas bump for Tom Mulcair coming out of the last session," said Nanos.
These tracking numbers are based on random telephone (cell and land-line) interviews with 1,000 Canadians using a four-week rolling average ending Oct. 18, 2013 and Dec. 6, 2014, accurate to within 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Network's Power & Politics to get to the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives. Recognized as one of Canada's top research experts, Nanos provides numbers-driven counsel to senior executives and major organizations. He leads the analyst team at Nanos, is a Fellow of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association and a Research Associate Professor with SUNY (Buffalo).
NOTE: This story has been edited from an earlier version that, due to an editing error, incorrectly referred to party "support." In fact, the Nanos Party Power Index is based on a combination of measurements from questions about the federal parties and their leaders to gauge the strength of the parties' brands.
Wednesday, December 11, 2013
Tuesday, December 10, 2013
Using a protein purified from snake venom, a team of researchers has developed a new drug that may prevent blood clots that lead to heart attack and stroke.
The venom comes from a Southeast Asian viper commonly known as a hundred pacer. The snake’s name refers to a local belief that, after being bitten, a victim will be able to walk only 100 steps.
Scientists extract the snake’s venom and filter out all but one protein to create the drug, called Anfibatide.
“Three out of every four Canadians will die from a blood-clotting issue, like deep vein thrombosis, stroke or heart attack,” said Dr. Heyu Ni a principal investigator and scientist in the Keenan Research Centre for Biomedical Science of St. Michael’s Hospital. “That’s more than cancer, infections and every other cause combined. We need more effective treatments and Anfibatide might be one.”
Dr. Ni presented an abstract of his research today at the American Society of Hematology annual meeting in New Orleans.
When a blood vessel’s wall is injured, cells in the blood – called platelets – come together to form a plug and stop the bleeding. Sometimes, however, platelets come together even after the bleeding has stopped, forming clots in blood vessels and preventing blood flow. In the coronary artery, these blockages cause heart attacks; when the clots form in the brain, they lead to strokes.
The drug works by attaching to platelets near the injured wall and controlling their response. Fewer platelets are drawn to the injury but a plug is still formed.
When tested in 94 healthy volunteers, Anfibatide prevented platelets from clotting but didn’t prolong bleeding. This means that the body’s natural response is preserved but there’s a reduced risk of further damage.
“What’s most promising is that this reaction works best when the blood is flowing very fast – exactly the conditions when there is a major blockage,” said Dr. Ni, who is also a scientist with Canadian Blood Services.
There were no obvious side effects, although two volunteers withdrew due to allergy during the initial skin test. A Phase 2 clinical trial for patients who are undergoing angioplasty has begun in China.
This work was partially supported by Lee’s Pharmaceutical Holdings. Two contributing authors are employees of the company – which holds the patent for Anfibatide. Five authors are employees of Zhaoke Pharmaceutical Co. Ltd. All other authors, including Dr. Ni, reported no conflicts of interest.
About St. Michael’s Hospital
St. Michael’s Hospital provides compassionate care to all who enter its doors. The hospital also provides outstanding medical education to future health care professionals in 27 academic disciplines. Critical care and trauma, heart disease, neurosurgery, diabetes, cancer care, care of the homeless and global health are among the Hospital’s recognized areas of expertise. Through the Keenan Research Centre and the Li Ka Shing International Healthcare Education Centre, which make up the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute, research and education at St. Michael’s Hospital are recognized and make an impact around the world. Founded in 1892, the hospital is fully affiliated with the University of Toronto.