Wednesday, March 25, 2015

THE POLITICS OF DISTRUST: SAMARA PAINTS A DISENGAGED PICTURE

Democracy is too important to be measured using only voter turnout. While important, voter turnout isn’t able to address what happens on days between elections, or why Canadians choose to cast a ballot or not.

Samara Canada is dedicated to reconnecting citizens to politics. Established as a charity in 2009, we have become Canada’s most trusted, non-partisan champion of increased civic engagement and a more positive public life.

Samara Canada’s research and educational programming shines new light on Canada’s democratic system and encourages greater political participation across the country to build better politics, and a better Canada, for everyone.

Samara Canada created the Democracy 360, a report that highlights quantifiable indicators, centring around three areas that are essential to a healthy democracy: communication, participation and political leadership. Samara’s Democracy 360 paints a rich picture of the way that Canadians engage with—and think about—politics.

Canada gets a "C" because our democracy is not doing as well  and Canadians are not participating in politics as much as they could. The report says Canadians  don’t believe it affects them.

  •  Canadians don’t trust Members of Parliament or political parties and believe they largely fail to perform their core jobs
  •  Politics is seen as irrelevant and, as a result, Canadians are withdrawing from the democratic system
  • Only 40% of Canadians report that they trust MPs to do what is right and only 42% of Canadians place some trust in political parties.
  • With a federal voter turnout of 61% puts Canada in the bottom fifth among democracies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

Though the wider project brings together several data sources, the provincial break-down below features Samara’s survey data and shares significant and interesting differences between the provinces

The report examines the provinces and the picture here in Newfoundland and Labrador is unsurprisingly not good.

Newfoundland and Labrador is one of the most disengaged provinces from formal politics and the least trusting of political parties. 
  • Half of Newfoundlanders and Labradorians report some form of contact by a federal political party or politician in the last year—the lowest in Canada. Nationally, 63% of Canadians report being contacted. 

  • People in Newfoundland and Labrador and Quebec are the least likely in Canada to attend a political meeting (24%) or contact an elected official (25%). Nationally, 29% of Canadians have attended a political meeting and 31% have contacted an elected official. 

  • Residents of Newfoundland and Labrador are the least likely across Canada to use email or text messaging to discuss politics (21%)—10 percentage points less than all Canadians (31%). 

  • People in Newfoundland and Labrador are 50% less likely to donate to a political party compared to all Canadians (10% of Newfoundland vs. 19% nationally). 

  • Only one-quarter (27%) of Newfoundland and Labrador has boycotted products for political reasons—the lowest in Canada and 10 percentage points less than Canadians on average (37%). 

  • Newfoundland and Labrador is the most distrusting province towards political parties—69% express some level of distrust compared to 58% nationally. 

  • Newfoundlanders and Labradorians share the same level of satisfaction with democracy as all Canadians—66% of the province report some level of satisfaction compared to 65% of Canadians. 

  • People in Newfoundland and Labrador have one of the highest levels of dissatisfaction with the work of MPs in Canada (59%) compared to 54% nationally.


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