Canada's hastily called election in November left Liberals in control of Parliament and conservative Christians smarting over the public attacks on Stockwell Day, a Pentecostal politician and former pastor who was subjected to repeated criticism for his religious views.
As head of the Canadian Alliance party, Day poses a significant threat to Canadian Liberals, who have been in control since 1993. Day was a key motivator in Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's decision to call an early election with short notice. Many believe the prime minister was seeking to stall the Canadian Alliance's growing force, as well as Day's march toward ministerial candidacy.
Only 10 percent of Canadians are evangelicals, so Day's recent victories in Parliament and in leadership of the Canadian Alliance have shaken up the status quo and made many take notice of the candidate who declined to campaign on Sundays.
After Immigration Minister Elinor Caplan smeared Day as a "racist" who engaged in "Holocaust-denying," a feeding frenzy of criticism ensued. Preston Manning, head of the Reform Party before Day's ascendance, told a campaign rally that Liberals were "willing to believe every lie about Stockwell Day and not willing to believe the truth about Jean Chrétien." Chuck Strahl, House leader for the Canadian Alliance, told Canada's National Post he perceived "a conscious program to elicit hatred" against Day and his supporters.1
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