With the House of Commons in the first days of its summer recess, a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians have mixed feelings about the first full Parliamentary session of the federal Liberal government they elected last year.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau remains immensely popular, and more Canadians think Parliament has improved with his party in charge than think it has worsened.
On the other, relatively few Canadians see Parliament as representing the interests and concerns of people in their region – a feeling that is especially strong in the country’s west – while most think this government is too concerned about its image, even as many also see real progress being made.
- Asked whether the Liberal government has been “making real progress and getting things done” or “putting too much emphasis on PR and photo ops,” Canadians lean toward the latter (36% versus 25% for the former), and one-in-six (17%) say both are true
- Despite this view of his government, the Prime Minister enjoys the job approval of more than three-in-five Canadians (63%)
Strong majorities of Canadians in the western provinces of British Columbia (60%), Alberta (64%), and Saskatchewan (70%) believe the interests of their regions of the country are poorly reflected in the House of Commons.
Canadians tend to see the House of Commons functioning at least as well as – if not better than – it did during the Harper years. The largest group of Canadians (36%) say they feel the House is working about the same as it did in previous years. Roughly three-in-ten (31%) feel it’s working better, and slightly more than one-in-five (22%) think it has worsened.
The Liberals have also adopted an image-conscious style of governing that can be seen in their “Canada’s back” mantra and in the celebrity of Trudeau himself – his appearances in magazines and on late night talk shows, and the images of him doing yoga or explaining quantum computing that became viral hits.
Asked whether the government has been “making real progress and getting things done” or “putting too much emphasis on PR and photo ops,” Canadians are more likely to choose the latter than the former.
Notably, fully one-in-six Canadians (17%) feel the government has both made real progress and been overly image-focused. When this group’s dual position is considered, a full majority of Canadians (54%) say government has put too much emphasis on style, and 42 per cent believe it has been achieving the substance of its agenda.
Asked how well Parliament represents the interests and concerns of people like them, most Canadians (52%) say it does so either “very” or “fairly” poorly, while fewer than two-in-five (39%) say it does so well.
Interestingly, these totals are essentially reversed when Canadians are asked whether the House of Commons represents the interests of Canadians as a whole.
Among those most likely to feel people like them are poorly represented in the House? Men and Canadians ages 35 and older.
So far the verdict is that the PM and his Liberals have nothing to worry about. Short of a major scandal nothing the Liberals do will impact them negatively. This seems to be an extended honeymoon. – CINEWS