Who's the Boss? Canadians' Views on Their Democracy

December 1, 2012
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Who's the Boss? Canadians' Views on Their Democracy
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Despite Canada’s status as one of the world’s leading democracies, new research shows that just over half of the population is satisfied with the way Canadian democracy works – a 20-point drop in less than 10 years. Canadians are even less satisfied with Members of Parliament, and a leading source of this dissatisfaction centres on MPs’ priorities: Canadians feel MPs do a better job representing the views of the party than they do representing their constituents.

New public opinion research commissioned by Samara reveals that only 55% of Canadians report being satisfied with the way democracy works in Canada. Notably, this view is consistent across Canada regardless of gender or province of residence. (The single exception, Francophone Quebecers, reported even greater levels of dissatisfaction.) While dissatisfaction with politics is by no means new, an identical survey question asked in 2004 saw Canadians’ satisfaction with democracy at a much higher rate of 75%.

Although Canadians believe their democracy is successfully enabling freedoms of expression and equality, they are disappointed with their political representation. In particular, Canadians indicated feeling that their elected representatives often are not accountable for their actions nor do they pay attention to what Canadians think.

If Canadians don’t believe that those elected to represent them are listening, what do they think their representatives are doing?

Key Findings

  • Satisfaction with Canadian democracy is at an all-time low.
  • A leading cause is Canadians’ dissatisfaction with their political representation.
  • Canadians feel MPs are better at representing their party than they are at representing citizens.

*This report was created more than a year ago, and may contain inactive links and/or outdated references.

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