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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.

Too Soft! Confidence in Courts Wanes Slightly from 2016

It is a stark number - 62% of Canadians think that the justice system is too soft in dealing with people who have broken the law according to a recent Angus Reid Institute survey...
Results of a recent question on banning handguns in Canada

Handgun Ban is Supported by Majority of Canadians [Nanos/ CTV]

Almost half of Canadians fully support (48%) a total ban on handgun ownership by anyone other than police/ security professionals according to a recent survey by Nanos Research for the CTV. Support for a...

Declining Trust in News a Threat to Democracy [Ipsos-Radio Television Digital News Association]

Information we can trust is the lifeblood of democracy. If we don't trust the news media, it is hard to imagine that our discourse will contribute to a shared understanding. We will all have...

Prostitution: A Tale of Permissiveness or Understanding

When Canadians were asked about prostitution 17 years ago, the clear position of a majority was that prostitution should be illegal. Notably, this position was held while Parliament was considering the laws around prostitution. By...

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...

Handle with Care: Trudeau, Trump and the Canadian Public

As the initial volleys of a trade war are exchanged it is worth considering the potential consequences of Trudeau’s need to balance out maintaining public support with achieving positive outcomes from our trade and...
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...

[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...

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...

49% Believe Health Care System Able to Meet Needs of Seniors [Ipsos]

In a new poll released last week for the Canadian Medical Association (CMA), Ipsos found that almost half of Canadians are at least somewhat confident (49%) that the health care system will be able...