Poll: Canadians becoming more conservative

Canada 2011 Federal Election Seats
Canada May 2011 Federal Election Results

Consider this story from the Vancouver Sun. (H/T Andrew)


Canadian ideals are shifting to the right, being taken over by a “unique strain of conservatism,” a poll from Preston Manning’s Calgarybased think-tank shows, the former Reform party leader said Wednesday.

This was the second year the Manning Centre for Building Democracy conducted the poll, which asked Canadians about their attitudes toward values and policies generally ascribed to Conservatives. Last year’s results indicated similar movements, with more people saying they don’t want government peddling grand views and having its hands in all aspects of society.

The only exception to this opinion is public safety and security policies, Manning said in an interview Tuesday.

Of those surveyed, 65 per cent said government should focus on current issues, and 67 per cent said government should decrease in size to do more.

Canada, it seems, has arrived at a point where its citizens have shifted their expectations for government, said Allan Gregg, the head of Harris Decima, which helped with the polling.

“(Government) is no longer the grand designer,” he said.

But the national shift isn’t necessarily being ascribed to Stephen Harper, who has been prime minister for slightly more than five years.

“This can’t be traced back the last two or three or four years,” said Andre Turcotte, president of Feedback Research Centre, which also helped with polling and interpreting the results. Instead, he said, this is something that has been happening since the late 1980s -around the same time the Reform Party began its rise.

Turcotte couldn’t speculate to whether it was by design or surprise, but he said that in 2008, Harper tapped into what many wanted out of government -being smaller and more focused on specific issues.

“As these conservative values become mainstream values, people will less and less identify them with Conservatives. People will just say these are Canadian values,” Manning said.

The poll was conducted from May 4 to 11, almost immediately after the election. A total of 1,000 interviews were conducted with randomly selected Canadians, resulting in a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

I blogged recently about how Canada’s economic numbers are vastly superior to the American numbers. I think the Canadians are learning what works by comparing what they’ve been doing (e.g. – corporate tax cuts down to half of our rate) compared to what we’ve been doing, (e.g. – massive bailouts and government spending). They know that they are better off than we are, and they know that conservative policies work – they’ve lived through it. That’s why a country that used to be liberal is now trending conservative. Prime Minister Stephen Harper gave them a five-year economics course and they gave him rave reviews as a professor, and a BIG promotion.

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