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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.

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...

News Media Gets Positive Grade [Pew Research Center]

News media organizations are under fire. Economic realities, social media impacts, and the politicization of news and facts, particularly in the U.S. has placed traditional journalism at a crossroads of sorts. Recently released information...

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...

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...

19% of Canadians have been Prescribed an Opioid by a Doctor in the Past...

A recent Angus Reid Institute survey finds that 19% of Canadians have been prescribed opioids by a doctor in the past five years. Given the potential for many Canadians to have also accessed these...

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...

[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...

Free Trade Benefits |

In the abstract, Canadians value free trade. A recent global Ipsos poll shows that Canada is the 8th most supportive of free trade of 24 countries polled. This is a very strong endorsement of...

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...

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...