The most recent Angus Reid Institute poll on Canadians’ priorities and voting intentions had at least one big surprise. That, at least to this observer of the Canadian mind, was that environment/climate change has emerged as the country’s top priority, edging out the perennial favourite health care and even Covid-10, numbers two and three respectively.
In third place only a year ago, climate change has taken over number one. Perhaps all this smoke we’ve been breathing over the summer has forced people to recognize the ugly reality of global warming. Not that the smoke seems to bother Albertans and Saskatchewanians. While environment/climate change is top priority in B.C. and Ontario, and second in Quebec and the Atlantic provinces, it isn’t even in the top three in Alberta and Saskatchewan. Perhaps in those two jurisdictions, the smoke smells too much like money—what’s a little coughing when you’re counting oil royalties.
Environment/climate change is the top priority among NDP and Bloc supporters, second among Liberal supporters (after Covid), but doesn’t even make the top three for Conservatives.
As to leadership on the issue, Canadians give Jagmeet Singh the best marks, but even he is in a tie for “none of them.” The prime minister ranks next, just ahead of “not sure” and, well down the list, lurks Mr O’Toole. Interestingly, Angus Reid left the Green Party out of their numbers.
And as for the those numbers: the top five priorities are climate change (35%), health care (33%), Covid-19 (31%), the deficit (26%) and housing affordability (26%). The first on the list still surprises me. Canadians putting the greatest challenge facing all of us at the top of their priority list is truly progress. Maybe there’s hope after all.