Nearly six in 10 Canadians believe the Liberal government’s tax reform proposals are aimed at boosting the federal government coffers’s rather than making the tax system more fair, according to an Ipsos poll provided to Global News.
Fifty-eight per cent of respondents — including 38 per cent of Liberal voters — said they thought the tax plans were designed to help the Liberals cover the cost of previous spending. Only four in 10 believe the government’s line that the changes will bring Canada a step closer towards a more equitable tax system.
The numbers are an indictment of the Trudeau government’s inability to convince the public of its intentions, according to Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos Global Affairs.
“When you’re that far out of tune with what the public believes is the truth, and you just keep repeating it over and over again, it doesn’t make it any more true,” Bricker told Global News.
He said the argument that governments are looking out for the people “as opposed to trying to find a way to generate money” is a tough sell under any circumstance, and that the Liberals would be well advised to change tack.
“They either have to find something else to say, or they’ve got to find a way to move on.”
Canadians’ feelings about the motivations behind embattled finance minister Bill Morneau‘s tax proposals weren’t significantly influenced by age, gender or even the medium through which news was consumed.
“People have made their minds up about this,” Bricker says. “When you’re in a situation like this, the more you talk about it, the worse you make it.”
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The tax reform plan — and the controversy surrounding Morneau’s potential conflict of interest vis-a-vis human resources management company Morneau Shepell — is one of several issues that could be responsible for causing Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval rating to drop from 59 per cent in mid-September down to 52 per cent as of Oct. 25.
The government’s attempts to take control of the agenda by increasing the child-care benefit or highlighting Canada’s economic health have largely failed, Bricker added.
Less than one in four decided Liberal voters said they strongly approve of Trudeau’s leadership, while 65% said they “somewhat approve,” hinting at murmurs of discontent even among Liberal voters.
“The Liberal Party seems to be getting somewhat out of tune with the public, including its own supporters, which is interesting because previously the government seemed to be so good at that,” Bricker said.
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But he points out that despite these hiccups, the Liberal Party remains robust, all things considered.
“Fifty-two per cent approval is actually really, really good so it’s not like they’re in a tragic situation yet,” Bricker says. “If they were at 40 and they dropped down to 33, this would be huge news… but what it does show is that whatever momentum they seem to have had previously seems to have stalled.
“Should they be concerned? Yes they should. But they still have a really strong majority level of approval and they look very good. When you translate that into their electoral support, they still hold a pretty big lead over their biggest opponents, the Conservatives.”
Elsewhere, the election of Jagmeet Singh as the New Democratic Party‘s federal leader resulted in that party getting a three-point bump in support, with 23 per cent of respondents saying they would vote for the NDP if the election was held tomorrow.
The three-point increase is an improvement over what the Conservative Party saw after it elected Andrew Scheer as leader.
Support for the Tories was pegged at 30 per cent, down by two percentage points from mid-September, the poll found.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 23 and 25, 2017 for Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18+ from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ±3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.