New Study Reveals Canadians Care Less About Politics and Voting as they Get Older

Today, the National Post had some grim news for Canadians of the progressive mindset.

As Canadians grow older, their interest in politics dwindles, as does their desire to vote.

The Post points to an overall trend that reveals that Canucks have more important concerns than politics. This includes a widespread lack of trust in MPs, low voter turnout, low rates of participation in political events, and a largely homogenous House of Commons.

Oh, and a widespread belief that politicians could care less about what voters think. 

In fact, politics seem to repel more Canadians than it attracts them. And yes, this includes young Canadians – front and centre.
The findings come from a report – conducted by public interest group Samara – that gives Canada a big fat “C” when it comes to democracy. That’s not something to take lightly either; according to Samara executive director Alison Loat, Canada has one of the lowest voter turnouts of any comparative western democracy.

The report, released yesterday, is based in a national online public opinion survey of 2,406 Canadians, along with information obtained from Elections Canada and the House of Commons.

Here’s a breakdown of the findings:

– Canadian voter turnout held steady at about 75 per cent for 40 years after WWII, but began to decline in 1988. By the 2011 election, voter turnout was only 61 per cent.

– Voting turnout varies dramatically by age category, with young people traditionally less likely to vote. The problem is, that they’re not starting to vote as they get older. In 2011, only 38.8 per cent of voters aged 18 to 24 voted, compared to 71.5 per cent of those aged 55 to 64. 

– There is a noticeable lack of diversity in the House of Commons when it comes to visible minorities and women.

– Only 40 per cent of Canadians trust their MPs to do “what’s right.”

– A high 62 per cent believe that candidates and parties “only want their vote.”

– Only 31 per cent of Canadians believe decisions made by elected officials affect them “every day.” 

– Only 54 per cent of Canadians believe that the work and decisions of MPs “influence the direction of the country.” 

What does all this mean for Canadians? 

Well, it doesn’t look great in terms of the future of our democracy – but perhaps we’ll have to wait and see what happens at the federal elections later this year.


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