Election results reflect growing mistrust of politicians, institutions


The People’s Party of Canada’s strong performance in last week’s federal election – garnering five percent of the vote cast, down from less than two percent in 2019 – was bound to wring many hands. Many blamed the gains on a growing distrust of politicians and governments in general, with specific links to the pandemic.

Certainly, there was support for the PPC’s libertarian bent in light of the lockdowns, mask warrants and vaccination policies associated with the battle against COVID-19. But we have had years of growing mistrust of politicians and bureaucrats, as well as a host of institutions.

The pandemic has underscored the problem with decades of poor governance – and, not coincidentally, the rise of partisan attacks on government policies and programs. This is why today we can see people hesitating to get vaccinated because they think the authorities are injecting radio transmitters into our bodies (conspiracy theories) or because of more realistic fears such as problems with confidentiality and a good chance of abuse and / or misuse of this information.

Ultimately, this is only part of the general decline in public trust in officials ostensibly – and we are right to be skeptical, as politicians, bureaucrats and the ersatz captains of industry do ‘are not acting in good faith.

In fact, a new survey reveals that most of us consider large institutions to be run by corrupt and incompetent people.

The Edelman 2021 Confidence Barometer reveals that trust in government, businesses, media and NGOs remains low. In this very country, we have not found a single institution that is both competent and ethical, a combination of attributes considered necessary to gain the trust of the public.

Edelman finds that company leaders are not trusted to do the right thing, noting that amid pressing problems and a year of crisis, leadership fails. Heads of government, CEOs and religious leaders are not trusted to do what is right. Instead, Canadians look to experts and those who are local – like people in their community – to help them tackle the issues that matter most to them. In fact, 50 percent of survey respondents fear that business leaders are deliberately trying to mislead them, and 46 percent think the same about government leaders.

Right now, Canadians are more likely to trust doctors and scientists when it comes to pandemic issues than politicians and bureaucrats say. Proof Strategies CanTrust 2021 Index echoes trust issues seen in other studies.

“Canadians are telling us very clearly who they trust to help us get through the pandemic, and the advice they want comes from labs, not legislatures and medicine, not management,” said Bruce MacLellan , President and CEO of Proof Strategies, on this year’s survey.

The CanTrust Index, now in its sixth year, has consistently shown high levels of confidence among Canadians for their key public services such as healthcare, education and the military. Canadians trust government services and the public sector, but not the politicians who oversee it.

“Although conspiracy theories and polarization are major issues south of the border, Canada is in a healthier state of confidence. Our scientific and medical community should be at the decision-making table and encouraged to continue telling the truth, ”adds MacLellan.

Canada is not alone in this regard, as the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) reports that only 45% of citizens trust their government – this according to a 2019 study that even predates the pandemic. Confidence in government is deteriorating in many OECD countries, with the organization noting that a lack of confidence undermines the willingness of citizens and businesses to respond to public policies and contribute to a sustainable economic recovery.

The angle of economic recovery is important. At the macro level, much of the mistrust of government and business here can be attributed to decades of economic decline – Canadians are worse off, facing stagnant and falling wages in the face of sharp increases. house prices and now widespread inflation. increase the cost of living.

We have been dragged into decades of declining real incomes and losing good jobs. Workers find themselves in precarious part-time or self-employed positions. For many of those fortunate enough to find full-time employment, pay levels are dropping. The prospects for a better future are fading.

The gloomy outlook is not lost on Canadians. Lower quality jobs have been the norm for decades, coinciding with the decline of the middle class. The mounting pressures are not unrelated to record levels of personal debt as Canadians borrow to offset changes in the job market.

There has been some improvement at the lowest income level, but this is not due to the economy or the employers, but to regulation.

Even government claims about job creation should be taken with a grain of salt, as the country’s population is steadily increasing every year – hundreds of thousands of new jobs are needed just to stay in place.

The jobs created tend to be part-time and insecure, which is often overlooked by governments that fall on their own with any announcement of “good news” – they have no interest in providing context for figures being judged. positive.

Part-time and precarious jobs represent the bulk of the jobs created today. However, this is not a simple hazard, but a structural change, as well as a decline in the quality of jobs overall.

Look at the numbers and do the math: working more and earning less in increasingly crappy McJobs is certainly adding to the public’s anger.

Critics of corporate capitalism, free trade agreements, and lobbyist-drafted politics have been pointing to the problems for years. Now many more people have finally seen for themselves that the neoliberal emperor is more austere, and the sight sparks anger.

Expect more hits against the establishment, from leadership contestants to people literally on the streets, where real change will ultimately come.

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