New Survey Shows Canadians Pretty Much Resent Each Other
A new poll by the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation reveals that Canadians in every province are resentful about their province’s place in the federation — and it shows that some, particularly Saskatchewan, are more resentful than others.
IRPP created a ‘resentment index’ by putting together the responses to the Confederation of Tomorrow 2022 survey. The index can elucidate the politics of resentment that runs through the federation.
“Our index builds on the concept of place-based resentment, which occurs when someone identifies strongly with the place where they live, and resent political elites whom they believe cater to the needs of groups in other jurisdictions,” wrote authors Charles Breton, chairman of Centre of Excellence on the Canadian Federation, Olivier Jacques, assistant professor at the School of Public Health in the University of Montréal, and Andrew Parkin, executive director of Environs Institute.
It’s the same concept that has been used to explain how the resentment rural communities feel against urban communities impacts political behavior, particularly who and what they vote for.
To get a picture of how resentful or aggrieved Canadians are about the place of their province in the federation, they combined responses to questions about the fairness of federal programs and transfers, their perception of whether a province gets due respect, whether their province has a distinct culture that’s misunderstood by Canadians in other provinces, whether it has its fair share of influence on national decisions, and whether the four major regions of the country contribute their fair share to the country.
The report shows that what drives resentment isn’t so much the feeling of not getting what they want or not having what another has. While Newfoundland and Labrador’s resentment is strongly linked to feeling culturally misunderstood by the rest of the provinces, what drives hotter resentment for most is believing they contribute more than their fair share to the nation.
As the report says, “many criticisms of the workings of Canadian federalism focus on fairness and equity — or the lack thereof. We can see examples of this in the Alberta government’s recent campaign for a ‘Fair Deal’ and its 2021 referendum on equalization. But commentators in every province — even Ontario — have argued that their province is underserved, overlooked or ignored.”
While pretty much all provinces believe that they contribute their fair share, some provinces, particularly in the Prairies, very strongly feel that Quebec does not.
“In these provinces, the sense that they contribute more than their fair share is combined with the view that Quebec contributes less. In other words, perceptions of unfairness are linked directly to resentment of other regions, notably Quebec.”
To address regional alienation in Canada, this tension, which has been brewing for some time, will soon need to be tackled.
“Progress will require a more honest dialogue that addresses the elephant in the room — namely the resentment of Quebec — head on,” IRPP wrote. “Whether the country’s political leadership — party leaders of all stripes at the federal and provincial level — are up to this challenge remains to be seen.”
Information for this briefing was found via IRPP, and the sources and companies mentioned. The author has no securities or affiliations related to the organizations discussed. Not a recommendation to buy or sell. Always do additional research and consult a professional before purchasing a security. The author holds no licenses.