Time-lapse polls show Canadians turning inwards, becoming pessimistic - New report

CALGARY, Feb. 18, 2016 /CNW/ - A report released today by The School of Public Policy and author Frank Graves, examines the results of surveys conducted in recent decades by EKOS Research Associates on Canadians' views of the economy, the prospects for the middle class, immigration and foreign trade. The time-lapse results show a dispiriting trend towards pessimism, especially among younger Canadians.

Canadians have deep anxieties about the economy, both in the short and long term. Further, economic stagnation, geopolitical tensions, etc., have had a corrosive impact on our openness. Canadians' minds are not closed yet, but seem to show some signs of closing. Foreign direct investment may be getting caught in this vortex. While a single survey is a snapshot of a given moment in time, a series of surveys on the same topics over the years is akin to time-lapse photography, tracing the unfurling trends of public opinion.

"In 2002, nearly 70 per cent of Canadians surveyed described themselves as middle class. That figure dropped to just 47 per cent in 2015. Nearly half (46 per cent) of those aged 25-44 said they were earning less in inflation-adjusted dollars last year than their fathers earned at the same age. Fewer than one in five Canadians believed their personal economic lot improved last year. Thirty-seven per cent of respondents said they had fallen behind economically in the last year and the last five years. When a society sees shared progress as an imperative, it is truly dismal that fewer than one in five Canadians thought things had improved for them last year." Said Graves.

Anxiety over Canada's economic future helped the Liberals attain power in the 2015 federal election. Their win has infused the gloomy economic mood with a shot of hope. But there is no quick fix. Dispelling gloom and replacing it with optimism will depend on the integrated success of efforts to liberalize trade, redefine attitudes towards immigration and change perspectives on foreign direct investment under the new federal leadership.

The paper can be downloaded at http://www.policyschool.ucalgary.ca/?q=research

SOURCE The School of Public Policy - University of Calgary

For further information: Media Contact: Morten Paulsen, 403.220.2540, morten.paulsen2@ucalgary.ca


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