The View From Here – Poll shows Canadians are concerned for the future cynical about politics

Tom Henihan

According to a new CBC poll, conducted by Public Square Research and Maru/Blue, Canadians are living in varying states of anxiety about employment, the high cost of living and the specter of global warming.

Seventy-two percent of Canadians are worried about the future for themselves and their children, 22 percent are vaguely optimistic and only 6 percent express real optimism.

In a prosperous country, it is difficult to believe that 83 per cent of Canadians are concerned with the cost of living, especially with essential expenses such as electricity, gas and groceries.

A sense of optimism is highest among new Canadians with just under half saying they were optimistic.

That new Canadians are more optimistic is a fact that those who were born here or have lived here for a long time might benefit from examining.

That poll might point to the fact that new Canadians are not yet familiar with all the limitations and frustrations of everyday life in Canada, or, and this I believe is more likely the case, it may suggest that Canadians are spoiled.

Maybe the reason the majority of Canadians are worried is because their expectations are two high and that can only lead to disappointment.

The poll also has a few darker revelations with some admitting conflict about immigration: on the one hand being proud that Canada showed compassion and welcomed refugees but at the same time feeling that the country is changing too much and too quickly.

Across the country, Canadians cited the cost of living and climate change as the two principal causes of concern, though in the three Prairie Provinces the cost of living was of greater concern than climate change by a margin of two to one.

Among new Canadians, however, employment was second behind the cost of living and climate change was the main concern of first time voters.

Another conflicting issue for Canadians is having a sense of obligation to vote, while at the same time seeing voting as an exercise in futility.

This sense of futility arises from Canadians not believing that the current political parties and their leaders hold the peoples’ interests and concerns as a priority.

The more concerned Canadians are about the future the more cynical they seem to be about politics with 88 percent tending to believe that politicians are more interested in staying in power rather than working for the interests of their constituents while in power.

Forty-seven percent claimed no party affiliation, saying that none of the political parties focuses on the things that they believe are of the greatest importance.

With a federal election on the horizon, it seems ominous that the vast majority of Canadians believe the current cast of politicians is self-interested and almost half of Canadians feel that no political party represents their interests.

Nevertheless, in October, Canadians will vote a party into power and no matter which party gets in, most Canadians believe that it will form a government that is indifferent to their concerns. That is futile.

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