As Parliament prepares to spring back into action on Monday, Canadians have one thing at the top of their mind: the rising cost of living.
That’s the latest from a new Ipsos poll, which found concerns about rising price tags on essentials like groceries and gas are now outranking issues like the COVID-19 pandemic, health care and housing as Canadians’ top concern.
“They’re really focused on what’s going on in their own homes and what’s happening in their own lives, particularly relative to their own personal prosperity,” said Darrell Bricker, CEO of Ipsos, in an interview with Global News.
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Using the top 10 issues Canadians said were important in an election day poll by Global News and Ipsos, the survey created a short list of “potential priority areas for the upcoming session of parliament,” according to the poll’s factum.
Affordability and cost of living topped the list as the key issue Canadians thought the government should prioritize, with 33 per cent putting the issue at the top of their lists. Nipping at the heels of that top spot were concerns about the pandemic, which 27 per cent said should be a priority, as well as health care, which sat at 25 per cent, followed by housing at 24 per cent and the economy at 23 per cent.
Price hikes making Canadians wary
The finding comes as inflation hit its highest rate since 2003 last month — a whopping 4.7 per cent. The climbing costs have forced consumers of every age, income and political creed to spend more to fill up their tanks and grocery carts.
On top of that, a long-simmering affordability crisis spanning housing, child-care and higher-education costs seems to have reached a boiling point. For example, Canada’s average national home price has risen a mind-boggling 32 per cent between July 2019 and July 2021, according to data from the Canadian Real Estate Association.
While these issues are top of mind for Canadians, the poll found a disconnect between what Canadians wished to see prioritized and what they think the government can actually accomplish.
Just 23 per cent of respondents are confident that the government will make progress on cost of living and affordability issues, according to the poll.
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Canadians are much more confident that progress will be made when it comes to the fight against COVID-19 — 61 per cent are expecting to see positive steps on that file, the poll found.
“With the pandemic … they know how to track progress. They know that things are getting better,” said Bricker.
“But when it comes to the cost of living and the state of the economy, they don’t feel the same degree of certainty about the government being able to make progress.”
As for the governing Liberals, they won’t be enjoying any post-election popularity boost as they head into the new Parliamentary session.
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The approval rating for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal government sits at 48 per cent, which is just two per cent higher than the 46 per cent approval rate it had heading into election day.
“There’s no honeymoon after this election,” Bricker said.
On top of that, over 40 per cent of Canadians think Trudeau should step aside as Liberal Party leader before the next election, while 29 per cent said they hope he’ll lead the Liberals on their next trip to the polls.
“Among Canadians who actually have an opinion about Justin Trudeau’s future, the plurality of them think that he should go before the next election,” Bricker said.
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If Trudeau wants to show Canadians he’d like to stay on as Liberal leader, Bricker said the prime minister can start by “focusing on the issue that Canadians are really concerned about most directly today … which is the issue of cost of living.”
“The way the prime minister communicates a desire to stay is by his level of engagement on the issues that people really care about,” Bricker said.
Exclusive Global News Ipsos polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos.” This poll was conducted between Nov. 12 and 15, 2021, with a sample of 1,001 Canadians aged 18-plus interviewed online. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18-plus been polled.
–with files from Global News’ Erica Alini
© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.