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Alberta leads country in distrust of government, other institutions: survey

Alberta is the driving force behind a drop in trust in Canadian institutions. Dave Carels, Global News

For the first time in four years, the CanTrust Index has revealed a significant drop in trust in Canada — with Alberta as the driving force.

The survey by Proof Inc. shows the average Canadian is losing trust in government, the media, corporations, and other institutions. For Albertans, there is a trust deficit of more than 10 percent.

READ MORE: Timeline: Key dates in the history of the Trans Mountain pipeline

“For the first time, the stable trust picture in Canada is showing cracks in the foundation,” CEO of Proof Inc. Bruce MacLellan told Global News.

“We think this is something to be noted and to be of concern, because when trust erodes in a society, people lose hope. They start to be more prone to making difficult or desperate decisions.

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There are some outside forces contributing to the lack of trust, such as regular attacks on the media in other countries. Canadians are also using editorial sources as a way to verify information, and MacLellan believes social media is a factor as well.

“People subscribe to things they already believe in and don’t expose themselves to new or different ideas,” he said.

As for why trust is on the decline so sharply in Alberta, MacLellan and the team at Proof Inc. have narrowed it down.

READ MORE: Canada set to approve Trans Mountain pipeline expansion, Trudeau unlikely to benefit

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“Right now in Alberta, there is a particularly strong and sharp decline in trust because of the pipeline approval issue,” he said. “And the frustration of Albertans in trying to see their economic opportunity realized and being foiled by decision makers in Ottawa, or Quebec, or wherever the opposition is coming from, is turning into a lack of trust.

“Basically, they’re feeling the system isn’t working for them, so how can they trust it?”

These results indicate that the decision on the Trans Mountain Pipeline could be a deciding factor in the upcoming federal election, particularly for Albertans.

When surveyed on what factors build trust in a leader, Canadians value honesty, integrity, and transparency.

When it comes to media, brand recognition is the deciding factor. The full results of the 2019 CanTrust Index can be found online.

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