A majority of Canadians are looking for an economic transition and there is a cross party consensus for many items. This is the finding of a new INNOVATIVE online poll conducted by INNOVATIVE from August 6th to August 11th, 2021, with a weighted sample size of 1,200 Canadian residents.
Just over half of Canadians (53%) believe the pandemic shows we need to radically transform our economy to work differently. Framed this way, New Democrats are most supportive (69%) while Conservatives are the least (42%). However, when we look at specific initiatives, the gap between partisans often narrow. To help simply for analysis, we grouped initiatives by patterns of support revealed through factor analysis.
One set of initiatives that unite Canadians are a series that combine increasing support for workers and providing improved social services. People who supported one of these items were very likely to support all the others. Those items include:
Another group of initiatives that enjoy cross-party support is increased Canadian self-reliance. Increased Canadian manufacturing of medical goods enjoys 85% support with no significant differences across partisans. The same is true of reducing our dependence on imports of essential products such as PPE with 78% support.
There are also items that are more divisive.
One group of initiatives involve a shift away from capitalism towards more redistributive policies:
A second divisive group are more conservative oriented items:
Attitudes on spending stand on their own. Almost 6-in-10 (59%) support beginning to reduce the amount of extra government spending on COVID-19 measures. Conservatives are most supportive (76%), Liberals mildly so (55%), and New Democrats the least (49%).
At 65% support, opinions on a transition to a green economy also stand apart from other initiatives. In this case all partisan groups except the Conservatives support the ideas ranging from Unaligned voters at 61% to Liberals at 77%. A green transition only has support from 43% of Conservatives.
The bottom line is that there is a broad Canadian consensus that it is time for a kinder and gentler version of capitalism in Canada. That consensus includes Conservative voters. That consensus frays as ideas move more directly to moving away from capitalism to a more redistributive system. Developing a greener economy carries most partisan groups but loses the support from a majority of Conservatives.
This is clearly a challenging environment for the Conservatives. The Liberal Throne Speech and Budget embraced this move while the NDP are making the point that if Canadians want different outcomes, they need to make differences. If the ballot question in this election is “how does Canada rebuild better?”—the key risk to the Liberals seems to be coming from the NDP, not the Conservatives.