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Canada

Tories hold lead over Liberals, Canadians report limited trust in institutions: poll

OTTAWA — The Conservative party is maintaining a steady lead over Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, a new poll suggests, at a time when Canadians are reporting limited trust in their institutions. 

Pierre Poilievre’s Tories are 14 percentage points ahead of the governing party, with 40 per cent of respondents in the survey saying they would vote Conservative, 26 per cent Liberal and 17 per cent NDP if an election were held that day.

The poll conducted from Friday to Sunday also suggested that people in Canada are generally more trusting of institutions than their neighbours to the south — especially when it comes to federal election administrators, the countries’ top courts and the police. 

Nonetheless, majorities of Canadians said they don’t trust federal legislative bodies, provincial governments, the media and large corporations.

A total of 1,632 Canadian respondents participated in the web survey, along with 1,002 Americans. It cannot be assigned a margin of error because online polls are not considered truly random samples.

Nearly two-thirds of Canadian respondents, or 63 per cent, said they are dissatisfied with the federal government led by Trudeau.

That result was recorded in the days after the prime minister’s announcement that his government would institute a temporary pause in applying the carbon price to home heating oil — the Liberals’ first climb-down on their carbon-pricing policy and one that comes amid heavy Conservative emphasis on Poilievre’s “axe the tax” campaign. 

Poilievre is in the lead when people are asked who they see as the best potential prime minister, with 29 per cent of Canadians choosing him, 19 per cent choosing Trudeau and 15 per cent choosing NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh. Another 13 per cent said no current federal leader would make a good prime minister. 

The poll suggested that among Canadian institutions, police services are the most trusted, with 73 per cent of respondents reporting they trust police. In the U.S., that number dips to 59 per cent.

The second-most trusted in a list of major institutions was Elections Canada, which has the trust of 69 per cent of Canadians. 

In the U.S., where many politicians cast doubt on the results of the 2020 election that ousted Donald Trump, only 40 per cent trust the Federal Election Commission. 

Canada’s far less politicized Supreme Court earned the trust of 66 per cent of Canadian respondents, while Americans reported considerably less trust for their Supreme Court at 45 per cent. 

The survey questions did not ask for respondents’ degree of trust in institutions — only whether or not they trusted them. 

At a time of high inflation when politicians including Poilievre have criticized the Bank of Canada for its macroeconomic policies, it still earns the trust of a little more than half of Canadians, or 57 per cent. 

A similar number, or 55 per cent, trust their municipal administration, while 53 per cent trust federal public servants. 

Slightly less than half, or 49 per cent, of Canadian respondents said they trust the United Nations. 

That’s a little more than the trust in the House of Commons Speaker, at 45 per cent, weeks after former Speaker Anthony Rota resigned amid controversy. Rota had recognized a war veteran for applause who fought on the side of the Nazis in the Second World War, during a visit by Ukraine’s president. 

Even fewer respondents reported trusting the House of Commons itself, at 44 per cent, still considerably more than the 28 per cent of Americans who trust their own House of Representatives. 

Forty-three per cent of Canadians reported trust in their provincial governments, compared to 45 per cent of Americans trusting their state government — the only category in which slightly more Americans trusted an institution. 

On the lower end of the scale, 40 per cent of Canadians said they trust the media, 37 per cent trust the Senate, 36 per cent trust the Prime Minister’s Office and 28 per cent trust large corporations.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 1, 2023.

Alessia Passafiume, The Canadian Press



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