The number of Canadians who say they share Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau’s values has gone up over the past two months, according to a new CTV News/Ipsos Reid poll released as the third party opens its policy convention in Montreal.

Over that time, Trudeau has made headlines for declaring his support for fully legalizing marijuana, and for his recent decision to oust Liberal senators from caucus as a spending scandal continues to hang over the upper chamber.

The poll found that 54 per cent of Canadians say they “agree” (16 per cent “strongly,” 38 per cent “somewhat”) that they “share Justin Trudeau and the Liberal’s values when it comes to where Canada should be headed.”

That figure is up six points since early December. The 46 per cent of respondents who said they “disagree” (20 per cent “strongly,” 26 per cent “somewhat”) is down by six points over the same period.

The number of Canadians who say they share Trudeau’s values increased the most in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, up 18 points; in Alberta, up nine points; and in Ontario, up six points.

While Trudeau has been criticized for not revealing more specific details on key policy areas, such as a plan for economic growth and job creation, the Liberals opened their policy convention Thursday and will begin to set the party’s course toward the 2015 federal election. 

Liberals will be debating and voting on a wide variety of policy planks, from assisted suicide to democratic reform to help for the middle class.

In the poll, respondents were asked whether Trudeau’s “policies and ideas are innovative and forward thinking.” Sixty per cent of respondents said they “agree” (17 per cent “strongly,” 43 per cent “somewhat”) with that statement, up eight points from two months ago. Meanwhile, 40 per cent said they “disagree” (17 per cent “strongly,” 23 per cent “somewhat”), down eight points.

On this question, the largest increase in Canadians who said they “agree” that Trudeau’s policies are innovative and forward thinking was seen in Manitoba (up 20 points), British Columbia (up 12 points) and Ontario (up seven points).

Convention delegate Karen Sinclair told CTV News said that while the convention is “really just to get everybody moving in one direction,” the party is “not scared of ideas. I think you’ll see a lot of debate, I’m hoping we’ll see a lot of debate.”

But while another delegate said he’s most looking forward to hearing “some fresh ideas,” he said he’s not totally convinced” that he has seen the boost in energy that will sustain the party until 2015.

Deputy Liberal Leader Ralph Goodale acknowledged Thursday that the party has much work ahead before the next election, including securing a full slate of candidates and introducing them to voters, as well as selling its “plan” for governing.

But he told CTV that after delegates vote on the more than 120 policy ideas, the party will emerge from the weekend “really energized about what lies ahead in the next 18 months or so until an election comes.”

On Wednesday, the same poll indicated that the Liberals now have an eight-point lead over the Conservatives. If an election were held tomorrow, 37 per cent said they would vote Liberal (up four points from early February); 29 per cent would vote Conservative (unchanged); 24 per cent would vote NDP (down three per cent); while 18 per cent were undecided.

The poll was conducted between Feb. 14 and 19, and included responses from a sample of 1,036 Canadians from Ipsos’s online panel. The results are considered accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points.

With files from CTV’s Vanessa Lee