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Public Policy

Three in ten public opinion polls publicly released in Canada are about public policy. These polls are often sponsored by polling firms or the media to generate interest or by third parties looking to influence the policy narrative.

Public opinion is a key ingredient in public policy discussions and stories. It provides a number of particular inputs. Firstly, it provides a judgement on whether the policy is good. Secondly, it identifies barriers to implementing the policy. Thirdly, it identifies the conflict embedded in the policy choice.

On many public policy issues the public has become more liberal (permissive). For example, consider the trends on assisted dying, capital punishment, and marijuana.

Broad changes in public opinion are, however, only part of the story. The implementation of broad policy choices is often the easiest part of aligning public opinion and policy. Broad values and concerns are often in conflict and many issues reflect the tension between values and specific policies.

[Feature] Tax That! Many Canadians Would Support Small Business Tax Changes

The small business tax changes introduced by the Canadian Government were a communications and policy failure that required significant back-tracking by the government. In simple terms, the government sought to restrict income splitting and...

Getting High — the Growing Support for Legalizing Marijuana

The Government of Canada is not out of touch with Canadians when it comes to legalizing marijuana. In fact, a majority of Canadians have been in favour of legalization for 10 years or more...
Public opinion about capital punishment in Canada

[CORA Archive] Waning support for capital punishment

Capital punishment has not been a feature of the Canadian justice system for some time. A a moratorium was instituted in 1967 and the practice was abolished in 1976. With the discovery of a...

A country of free-traders?

Trump's threat to cancel NAFTA and the series of negotiations that the threat spurred, has been one of the most important issues facing Canada. In 2017, it was the most polled issue  in 2017 and...

A National Purposes is Needed on the Question of International Aid

Aid for international development is a hard sell to domestic audiences but the need for it is unlikely to go away. A significant new survey from the Angus Reid Institute and World Vision Canada...

Trudeau’s China Trade Mission | A Skeptical 2015 Public

Even back in 2015, Canadians largely understood that China had surpassed the United States as a leading economic power. It is no surprise then the Canadian Government would be looking to China, especially with...

Few Canadians are Asked to Bribe a Government Official but Many See Bribes as...

One in ten Canadians think that it is sometime acceptable to pay a bribe and few are actually asked for one by a government official. Comparatively, Canadians tend to reject the idea but young...

International Trade Involvement is Net Positive but 1 in 4 have Protectionist Orientation

A recent Global Attitudes Survey 2016 by the Pew Research Center provides an interesting window into how Canadians see trade independent of specific agreements or specific trade agreements. Canadians are trade positive, in part because political...

Pipeline Drama | Political Theatre Upstages Fundamental Policy Debate

The expansion of the Kinder Morgan or Trans Mountain pipeline has been effectively hijacked and turned into political theatre over the past few months. Overall Canadians support the expansion and, importantly, the B.C....

The Trump Effect: Canadian and World Perceptions of Our Southern Neighbour

It will come as no surprise that the Trump administration is not perceived as positively as the Obama one. The Gallup poll released recently highlights the depth of the effect and provides a useful...