Canada is broken.
In a time of widespread disagreement and ever-increasing polarization, there remains a bitter solidarity among Canadians in the belief that the government doesn’t know what it’s doing.
In the wake of regional discontent from the western provinces and blockades jamming up the country’s rail network, a towering majority of Canadians agree with the statement, “Right now, Canada is broken.”
Sixty-nine per cent of Canadians agree with the statement, rising to 83% in Alberta, found a DART & Maru/Blue poll conducted for the National Post.
The poll spells bad news for Justin Trudeau with a majority of people believing that the country is not headed in the right direction and that the prime minister is not governing well. The Liberals also get most of the blame for the rail blockades.
And on Trudeau’s signature promise to help Indigenous people, two-thirds of Canadians don’t believe he has delivered on that pledge.
“A lot of the blame has been centred on the prime minister and the Liberal government,” said Daniel Béland, the director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
...Asked to rank how various people have handled the Wet’suwet’en protests, 67 per cent of people think the rail companies have handled it well. The provincial police get a 57 per cent approval rating and the RCMP get 55 per cent approval.
Politicians, though, get much worse reviews. Provincial premiers get a 45 per cent approval rating, Conservative leader Andrew Scheer gets 36 per cent approval, and only 27 per cent of Canadians think Trudeau has handled the situation well.
...More than 80 per cent of Canadians believe their politicians care more about their own partisan interests than working on behalf of all Canadians. The highest level of agreement on this came from Alberta, at 90 per cent, and Atlantic Canada, at 86 per cent.
[Dart pollster John] Wright said the issue of increasing partisanship and polarization is one that worries him.
“People are truly frustrated with the inability of their leadership to come together and recognize that human beings are being affected by their decisions and that they’re not simply voters,” said Wright.The problem with this poll is that it almost guarantees the outcome, the piling-on of the prime minister. Yes, we've become a deeply divided society. Isn't that an occurrence common to former liberal democracies beset by the corrosive nature of neoliberalism? Is Britain not a divided society? Is Germany not divided? Is Bolsonaro universally loved across Brazil? What are we to make of the United States whose people are more angrily divided and distrustful than at any time since the Civil War?
Have the Tories been a force for nurturing social cohesion in Canada? Absolutely not. Stoking division and rancor is their stock in trade. Movement conservatism is fueled by this sort of division. But you will never hear that in the pages of PostMedia because they're in league with the Conservatives and openly supportive of the petro-state. They're right in claiming that Canada is broken. They wouldn't have it any other way.
Before we leave the subject of our ailing democracy, how about a First Nations take on the same subject? Matthew Norris is a member of the Lac La Ronge band and currently a PhD candidate at UBC. He too sees a crumbling legitimacy of Canadian democracy only his take is different. It's a worthwhile read, deserving of ten minutes of your time.