Majority of Canadians Say the Country Is ‘Headed in the Wrong Direction’: Internal Federal Poll

A confidential poll last year indicated widespread concerns expressed by Canadians who think the federal government is not leading the country in the right direction.

“Most were of the view the country was currently headed in the wrong direction,” said the Nov. 4 poll, reported to the Privy Council Office, and obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter.

“Many cited issues related to inflation and the rising cost of living including price increases for essentials such as groceries, gasoline and housing.”

The findings were based on focus group interviews held nationwide. The Privy Council Office commissioned the survey under a $2.4 million annual contract with the Strategic Counsel.

The report, titled “Continuous Qualitative Data Collection Of Canadians’ Views,” said participants expressed concerns that affordability is becoming a challenge even to middle-income earners.

“Several felt more could be done to make housing more affordable with many commenting that even for those making middle-class salaries, the costs to purchase a home or to rent were becoming increasingly expensive,” said the report.

“Others felt there should be a greater emphasis on increasing benefits and financial supports for middle income Canadians.”

On March 28, the Liberal government released its budget with an emphasis on a “strong middle class.”

‘Middle Class’ Definition

The poll said participants largely held the impression that most existing supports were mainly targeting lower-income Canadians “while those making higher incomes yet still struggling with the cost of living were provided with little assistance.”

There is no official definition of “middle class” by the Canadian government. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), a member of the middle class is someone who earns 75 percent and 200 percent of the national median household income.

In Canada, the most recent median after-tax income of families and unattached individuals was reported as $66,800 by Statistics Canada last March. Using the OECD percentages to calculate, the “middle class” income works out to be between $50,000 and $134,000.”

In 2017, the Privy Council commissioned a research project with A.C. Nielsen company which found Canadians defined “middle class” as those earning under $75,000.

“Some mentioned this would not qualify as middle class in a city like Toronto,” it said.

The research said participants indicated confusion surrounding the definition of who the “middle class” is.

“Solely by perception, participants indicated that while a strong focus was placed on the ‘middle class’ many do not feel as though they fall into this category,” the company said.

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