NW Week

COVID-19 and politics are dividing Canadians more than ever

Canadians are becoming increasingly divided over COVID-19 and politics

Key Takeaways:

  • According to a new survey, more Canadians are becoming divided, with some claiming that personal issues have caused them to distance themselves from friends and family.
  • Around 40% of those polled said they had severed contact with friends or family due to a disagreement over the pandemic or politics.
  • According to Disano, respondents in the Prairie provinces responded in ways that support conservative policies.

As per a new survey, more Canadians are becoming divided, with some claiming that issues have caused them to cut ties with friends and family.

Between March 7 and March 24, the Canadian Hub for Applied and Social Research at the University of Saskatchewan conducted a national phone survey. It polled 1,011 people on the issues that most divide them.

Approximately three out of four respondents believe that society has become more polarised.

ACCORDING TO THE MAJORITY, the COVID-19 pandemic (72%) and the 2021 federal election (73%) were the two most divisive issues in the past year.

Also read: COVID-19 cases per capita are highest in Atlantic Canada and the Northwest Territories

Around 40% of those polled said they had cut off contact with friends or family because of a disagreement about the pandemic or politics.

In a phone interview from Saskatoon, research director Jason Disano said, “There’s been so much amplified rhetoric in the last 2 years since the starting of the pandemic, as well as a lot of the rhetoric, has continued to serve to divide folks — whether that division is actually real or just perceived.”

According to Disano, the respondents’ responses appear to be influenced by their political affiliation.

According to Disano, respondents in the Prairie provinces, for example, responded in ways that support conservative policies.

According to the survey, people in the Prairies were more likely to believe that climate change and assault weapon bans were dividing Canadians than people in any other region. However, respondents in Central Canada did not believe that a weapons ban was a divisive issue.

“We’re seeing a lot of identity politics in Canada, and we’ve seen it in the United States, particularly in the last five to six years,” Disano said. “And we see some of the same things in Canada. It’s also a problem.”

Canadians are becoming increasingly divided over COVID-19 and politics
Canadians are becoming increasingly divided over COVID-19 and politics. Image from CBC News

Quebec respondents were more likely than respondents from other provinces to believe society has become less polarised. This, according to Disano, is due to more moderate or liberal viewpoints.

In addition, Quebec residents said they were less likely than people in Western Canada, including British Columbia, to have cut off contact with a friend or family member due to differing viewpoints.

“We do see regional differences,” Disano said, “which are largely data by the political leanings of the residents of those different regions.”

“Unfortunately, we’re seeing politicians exploiting division for political gain when they should be seeking to unite us instead of divide us,” she says.

When it came to issues that brought Canadians together, the respondents said that international aid (55%) and increasing ethnic diversity (53%) were two issues that brought them together.

With a trust level of 95 percent, the survey was accurate to within three percent.

Source: CTV News

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