How happy are Canadians with what’s going on in Canada? Well, it hinges very much on where they are living, according to a new poll.
As a matter of fact, a majority of Canadians are quite happy with the direction of the country. However, there is a wildly different sentiment in the Prairies. People seem to experience disappointment with the state of affairs, a new study from the Angus Reid Institute says.
“The prospect of a new year is bringing new concerns and anxieties for some Canadians and a bullish outlook for others. How they feel has largely to do with where they live,” says the institute in a news release headlined “Two Canadas?”
Quebecers Are Happier than Albertans
The poll reveals that over 60% of Canadians in central Canada, the Atlantic Provinces and British Columbia are happy with the country. In Alberta and Saskatchewan, the numbers are almost the other way around. Only 29% of Albertans and 39% of people in Saskatchewan are content with the direction Canada is taking.
Those numbers sharply diverge from four years ago figures. In Alberta, the number of people happy with the direction of the country has decreased from 53% in 2016 to 29% today. In Saskatchewan, the number has dropped 18 percentage points from 57 to 39 percent.
Western Satisfaction Declines
About 54% of Manitobans are happy with the direction of the country this year, which is a decline of 14 percentage points from 2016.
The regional disparity in the country is almost matched by a big difference in how men and women feel about the direction of the country. Throughout Canada, 46% of men say they are unhappy with the way things are going compared to about 32% of women. There is relatively little difference among age groups.
The deep bitterness in Alberta is the result of the recent economic drop. Besides, it is due to the lengthy and fractious process of getting the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion built. The project would carry more Albertan oil to the West Coast, where it may be able to command a better price.
Alberta Premier Jason Kenney recently unveiled a “fair deal panel”. It is is examining the various ways Albertans think Confederation is unfair toward them.
Provincial Outlooks Far Apart
The panel’s website says it will look for ways to get a “bigger voice within the federation; increase our power over areas of provincial jurisdiction, and advance our vital economic interests, such as building energy pipelines.”
But the poll also found that people across the country are far more worried about the future of their province. Asked if they are optimistic or pessimistic about the future of their province, respondents across the country are almost evenly divided. (53 % optimistic versus 47% pessimistic).
The biggest divide is between Alberta and Quebec. Seventy-seven per cent of people in Alberta feel pessimistic whereas 73 per cent of people in Quebec feel optimistic. Saskatchewan and the Atlantic also saw a slim majority of people feeling pessimistic.
Canadians Optimistic About Future
Good news is that Canadians are much more optimistic about their own lives than they are about the country as a whole. Seventy-five per cent of Canadians say they are optimistic about their own future. In Alberta, only fewer than 30% of respondents are optimistic about the country. Yet 58% are still optimistic about their own situation. And the most rose-coloured Canadians are in Quebec, where 87% of people are optimistic about their own future.
A person’s optimism about their own situation tends to rise with income levels, but a large majority of households with the lowest income are still optimistic. Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians making less than $25,000 per year are optimistic. This is more than 80 per cent of Canadians who are making over $100,000 per year.
One thing that people of all ages seem to agree on: young people should be pessimistic about the future. 61% of respondents said they were anxious about the future of the next generation. This is a five percentage point increase from 2016 — and that response tracks roughly the same among all age groups.