Saturday, February 05, 2011

On traditional values

Jeffrey Simpson is the latest to take note of the Harper Cons' complete lack of impact on Canadian public opinion:
There have been some drifts in public attitudes, mostly by Canadians becoming more socially liberal. Focus Canada finds Canadians much more tolerant or supportive of gay marriage and abortion – and less favourable to capital punishment – than a decade or two ago.

On crime – the Harper government’s big thrust – Canadians are way offside with the government’s approach. Eighty-two per cent of Canadians don’t fear crime in their neighbourhood, and 77 per cent aren’t afraid to walk there at night.

By a whopping 58 per cent to 36 per cent, Canadians prefer prevention programs and education over tougher punishments as a way to combat crime.
And perhaps most importantly:
Focus Canada’s survey finds Canadians’ top spending priorities to be education, health care, elderly programs, the environment and reducing child poverty. At the bottom are foreign aid, justice, defence, domestic security and arts and culture. The ordering of these priorities hasn’t changed much in two decades, except that support for defence spending – which soared with the Afghan engagement – has returned to the low levels of the 1990s.

Conservative-minded types don’t much like talking about income inequalities, but Canadians think they exist and are widening. A staggering 88 per cent believe the gap between rich and poor has widened in the past decade, and 81 per cent believe the government should reduce the gap.
Needless to say, the latter numbers are particularly significant since they suggest that even a substantial number of the Cons' usual 30% base see inequality as a real issue that needs to be dealt with - even after five years of the Cons using their position in government to claim nothing can or should be done about it. And while Harper has mostly succeeded in getting Canadians to look at factors other than what priorities they most value in evaluating their political options, there's every reason to think that a closer link between the two would see the Cons summarily turfed.

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