As Canadians wind down the school year and contemplate a summer break, they do so feeling increasingly pessimistic about their own lives and the future of the country.
New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds 52 per cent of Canadians are pessimistic about the future of Canada. This is considerably higher than responses noted in recent years, as an inflation crisis and a health-care system hampered by delays and staffing shortages contribute to Canadians’ foul mood.
These negative sentiments may present an opportunity for the Conservative Party of Canada, one they will hope to capitalize on with a new leader this fall. In that race, Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre continues to lead the way, as the most appealing option to 26 per cent of Canadians, followed closely by former Quebec Liberal Premier Jean Charest (21%).
While a path to a future electoral victory for the CPC under Poilievre may be carved with strong support from the party’s 2021 base and voters who cast ballots for the People’s Party of Canada last fall, it draws little interest from past Liberal and New Democrat voters. That group represents a much larger pool of potential support. By contrast, 38 per cent of those who voted Liberal last fall say they find Charest the most appealing potential leader. Charest’s challenge is that past Conservative voters say they’re less likely to support the party again with him at the helm.
In addition to pessimism about the country comes an increase in criticism of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. Three-in-five (59%) disapprove of his performance, the highest marks since before the pandemic in 2019 when he and the government were beset with allegations of corruption related to SNC-Lavalin.
In the short term, Trudeau and the Liberals are insulated from mood shifts of the electorate because of the confidence-and-supply agreement with the NDP.