Chris Alexander Faces Tough Challenges After the Kurdi Fiasco

Why? Did he put children on a raft in the middle of the night without life jackets?

Oh no! That was Abdullah Kurdi.

Immigration Minister Chris Alexander faces a tough battle to hold his riding after the Syrian refugee controversy, while a Liberal and an NDP star are running almost neck and neck in downtown Toronto, new polling suggests.

Alexander still leads in the Ajax constituency east of the city, backed by 33 per cent of voters versus Liberal Mark Holland’s 31 per cent, says the Mainstreet/Postmedia survey released Wednesday.

But his advantage has narrowed significantly from the 2011 election, when he beat the Liberal incumbent by six percentage points. …

Alexander ended up on the hot seat recently when a Syrian refugee boy drowned while trying to cross the Mediterranean.

A Canadian relative suggested he had been asked to green light immigration of the boy and his family, but it is unclear what, if anything, he knew about the case. Still, his immediate response — especially a combative interview on CBC-TV — likely hurt him, says Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research.

“Chris Alexander did himself a near-catastrophic negative in that interview,” he said. “That particular day and what it did for his overall image was substantial and will have long-lasting impacts.”