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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.

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...

When the Governor General is the News

Governor General's are generally not very newsworthy and tend to be front and centre for charity work and official functions. It is, therefore, noteworthy that one year into her appointment Governor General Julie Payette is...

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...
Photo by Josh Johnson on Unsplash

Views of Our Southern Neighbour [Pew Research Center]

The United States is Canada's closest neighbour but our affection for the country has clearly taken a sharp decline since the Trump Presidency began. Presidents have an impact on how Canadians think about the...
Attitudes about role of courts in Canada

Politicians versus Courts [Ipsos/ Global News]

Doug Ford threatened to overrule a court decision with the notwithstanding clause recently. The court decision invalidated a law that was to reduce the size of Toronto's city council. Ford justifies his decision to...

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...

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....

Sex Worker Not Viewed as Good Job | Recent Poll

Not surprisingly Ontarians think that prostitution is harmful to women and girls. As such they would not support prostitution as a a career for their daughter, sister or family member. The poll, conducted by...

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...

Canadians don’t feel any less safe in public spaces compared with 2016 [Ipsos, Global...

It would take too long to list the extensive number of attacks on innocent people at public places in 2017 -- Manchester, Barcelona, Las Vegas -- are just some of the notable ones that...