Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Thursday September 12, 2019
There is deep angst in Canada ahead of this fall’s election
We may have voted for hope, optimism and sunny days in 2015 but Canadians don’t appear to be very optimistic heading into the Fall of 2019.
Canadians do see a strong economy right now. Assessment of their personal finances has gone from 32 per cent positive (Q4 2015) to 46 per cent today and their assessment of their job security has grown from 39 per cent positive (Q4 2015) to 52 per cent today.
On the eve of the writ dropping, one would assume from these numbers that the federal Liberals would very much like to have the 2019 ballot question be: “Are you better off today than you were four years ago?”
But it won’t be, because despite these views and some impressive economic numbers at the macro level, Canadians aren’t optimistic about their longer-term prospects. Pocket-book issues and concerns over affordability are a common thread connecting most of the top issues Canadians identify as priorities: healthcare, the economy, housing, climate change, and taxes.
Our concerns are more than economic. There is deep angst about the direction of the country. Canadians are questioning the value and the very role of government, politicians and political parties in their lives and many politicians are going to run into the buzz saw of growing cynicism once they start knocking on doors. For starters:
* 67 per cent (unchanged since 2016) agree that the country’s economy is rigged to the advantage of the rich and powerful
* 61 per cent (vs. 56 per cent in 2016) agree that “traditional parties and politicians don’t care about people like me”
* 57 per cent (vs. in 47 per cent November 2016) say the country is “going in the wrong direction”
* 52 per cent (up dramatically from 37 per cent in 2016) agree that “Canadian society is broken”
This level of angst and cynicism among Canadians is going to pose a challenge for all political parties. Delivering policy ideas along with messaging to motivate supporter turn-out will be difficult, and they will need to find a balance between positive, forward-looking messages and empathetic, “we get you now” messages.
Imagine if you were a federal candidate hearing this at the door while looking for a vote: “I think the economy is stacked against me, I don’t think you care about me, I think our society is broken and our country is headed in the wrong direction. Tell me how you are going to fix this and why I should vote for you?” (Global News)