In light of all of the half-truths and outright lies that seem to be a part of Canadian elections, I thought that the time was right for a look at a poll that was completed by Forum Research Inc., looking at which institutions Canadians trusted and which ones they did not. In the closing days of the 2015 election campaign, it's an interesting exercise to see how much we trust in our key government institutions and why Canadians are becoming increasingly cynical about Canada's political theatre. Here we go.
A random sampling of 1694 Canadians aged 18 and over was contacted and asked how much trust they had in the following Canadian institutions:
1.) The Canadian Military
2.) The Supreme Court of Canada
3.) The Auditor General of Canada
4.) The RCMP
5.) Their Provincial Government
6.) The Prime Minister's Office
7.) The Parliamentary Budget Officer
8.) The Senate of Canada
9.) The Parliament of Canada
Here are the results in order from the highest to the lowest percentage of Canadians who have a great deal of trust in each institution:
You will notice that the Senate, Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and the Parliamentary Budget Office are each trusted a "great deal" by less than 10 percent of the population. In fact, here are the percent of Canadians who deem each of the three key Federal institutions either not very trustworthy or not trustworthy at all:
Parliament - 44 percent
The Prime Minister's Office - 60 percent
Senate - 63 percent
When substantially more than half of Canadians feel that both the PMO and the Senate are not trustworthy, something needs to change.
Let's focus on more detailed data for Canada's Parliament, the Prime Minister's Office and the Senate, particularly how political and religious affiliation impact respondents' level of trust in each institution. The impact of religion on trust in government is particularly important, given that the Conservative Party base consists of a significant portion of Evangelical Christian voters.
1.) Parliament: Here is a table showing how trust in Parliament varies with political affiliation:
It is interesting to see that only 11 percent of declared Conservatives have a great deal of trust in Parliament and that 27 percent have either little trust or no trust at all even though Parliament is under the control of their preferred political party.
Here is a table showing the religious affiliation of the respondents and their level of trust in Parliament:
Evangelical Christians are the largest group of respondents who have some trust or a great deal of trust in Parliament (at 70 percent) with non-Christians having the lowest level of both trust and some trust at only 47 percent. The high general level of trust in Parliament among Evangelical Christians is not particularly surprising, given that they make up a significant portion of the base of the Conservative Party of Canada.
2.) Prime Minister's Office: Here is a table showing how trust in the Prime Minister's Office varies with political affiliation:
It's not surprising to see that the lack of trust in the PMO is by far the lowest among Conservatives at only 21 percent compared to between 67 and 80 percent for respondents who identified themselves as Liberals, NDP, Green or BQ. The percentage of Canadians by political affiliation that have a great deal of trust in the PMO ranges from 2 percent for the NDP to 28 percent for Conservatives.
Once again, we can see that there is a wide variation in the level of trust in the PMO based on religious affiliation:
Again, Evangelical Christians form the largest group of respondents who have some trust or a great deal of trust in the PMO (at 55 percent) compared to only 39 percent for those respondents that are Catholics. Despite Evangelical support of the PMO, a significant 39 percent have little or no trust at all in the Harper PMO.
3.) The Senate: Here is a table showing how trust in the Senate varies with political affiliation:
Political affiliation seems to have relatively little impact on one's level of trust in the Senate; those who have no trust or not very much trust range from a low of 58 percent for Green Party affiliates to a high of 69 percent for NDP affiliates. Let's just say that trust in Canada's Senate is pretty low no matter what respondents' political preferences were, something that should be of no surprise to anyone.
Here is a table showing the religious affiliation of the respondents and their level of trust in the Senate:
Evangelical Christians form the largest group of respondents who have some trust or a great deal of trust in the Senate (45 percent) compared to only 32 percent for both Catholics and Protestant Christians. Obviously, Evangelical Christians also form the smallest group of respondents who have very little or no trust in the Senate at only 45 percent compared to a maximum of 63 percent for Protestant Christians.
This survey is quite interesting, showing how the level of trust in Canada's Parliament and Senate as well as the Prime Minister's Office varies with both political and religious affiliation. It is not terribly surprising that Canada's key political institutions are seen to be untrustworthy by a substantial majority of Canadians, even among Conservative voters. The reasons behind this untrustworthiness has been evident throughout the 2015 election; Canadians are growing tired of being repeatedly lied to by the rather poor choices that we have in the current and recent election cycles, a fact that is reflected in dropping voter turnout.