Political parties' first priority should be to listen to Canadians and they are failing, according to a public opinion survey.
Photo Credit: PC / Jonathan Hayward/Canadian Press

Canadians give political parties failing grades


Canadians say political parties are not doing enough to reach out to them and they give the parties failing grades of D and F, according to a recent survey. The results were released by Samara, a non-profit which works to improve political participation in Canada.

Canadians ‘more disconnected from politics’

“Samara, since its start five years ago, has been trying to unpack why Canadians are becoming more disconnected from politics,” says Jane Hilderman, research manager at Samara. Fewer Canadians are buying memberships in political parties, volunteering, or donating money to them than they are to community groups.

Political parties’ first priority should be to connect with Canadians so that they can represent their views, said respondents. Next, they should offer policy ideas and solutions and the third priority should be to encourage voting.

null Getting people to vote is important, say respondents. But Canadians want political parties to do more to listen to their opinions. © Dave Chidley/Canadian Press

Political parties ‘not listening’

Sixty-nine per cent of respondents thought political parties were more interested in their votes than their opinions. “(Politicians) are very focused often on winning an election…It can kind of come at the expense of actually making Canadians feel listened to or engaged in a deep way,” says Hilderman. “I think…they see through the attention that they get at election time, but worry that goes away very quickly after.”

In terms of reaching out to Canadians, the political parties got a grade of F. “I think that speaks to a broader message Canadians are trying to send our political leaders that they want them to represent Canadians but they don’t see that as happening,” says Hilderman.

Parties must ‘earn back trust and respect’

Political parties must act to earn the trust and respect of Canadians, says.Jane Hilderman, research manager at Samara. © John Beebe

“I think parties have a lot of work to do in terms of earning back the trust and respect of Canadians as very important intermediaries between Canadians and our political system,” says Hilderman. She says “the good news” is that political parties are well placed to do that given that they have organizations right across the country, they get media attention and they have a mandate to talk about decisions that affect the future of all Canadians.

Categories: Politics, Society

Do you want to report an error or a typo? Click here!

@*@ Comments

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 characters available

Note: By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that Radio Canada International has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Radio Canada International does not endorse any of the views posted. Your comments will be pre-moderated and published if they meet netiquette guidelines.

Netiquette »

When you express your personal opinion in an online forum, you must be as courteous as if you were speaking with someone face-to-face. Insults and personal attacks will not be tolerated. To disagree with an opinion, an idea or an event is one thing, but to show disrespect for other people is quite another. Great minds don’t always think alike—and that’s precisely what makes online dialogue so interesting and valuable.

Netiquette is the set of rules of conduct governing how you should behave when communicating via the Internet. Before you post a message to a blog or forum, it’s important to read and understand these rules. Otherwise, you may be banned from posting.

  1. RCInet.ca’s online forums are not anonymous. Users must register, and give their full name and place of residence, which are displayed alongside each of their comments. RCInet.ca reserves the right not to publish comments if there is any doubt as to the identity of their author.
  2. Assuming the identity of another person with intent to mislead or cause harm is a serious infraction that may result in the offender being banned.
  3. RCInet.ca’s online forums are open to everyone, without regard to age, ethnic origin, religion, gender or sexual orientation.
  4. Comments that are defamatory, hateful, racist, xenophobic, sexist, or that disparage an ethnic origin, religious affiliation or age group will not be published.
  5. In online speak, writing in ALL CAPS is considered yelling, and may be interpreted as aggressive behaviour, which is unpleasant for the people reading. Any message containing one or more words in all caps (except for initialisms and acronyms) will be rejected, as will any message containing one or more words in bold, italic or underlined characters.
  6. Use of vulgar, obscene or objectionable language is prohibited. Forums are public places and your comments could offend some users. People who use inappropriate language will be banned.
  7. Mutual respect is essential among users. Insulting, threatening or harassing another user is prohibited. You can express your disagreement with an idea without attacking anyone.
  8. Exchanging arguments and opposing views is a key component of healthy debate, but it should not turn into a dialogue or private discussion between two users who address each other without regard for the other participants. Messages of this type will not be posted.
  9. Radio Canada International publishes contents in five languages. The language used in the forums has to be the same as the contents we publish. The usage of other languages, with the exception of some words, is forbidden. Messages that are off-topic will not be published.
  10. Making repetitive posts disrupts the flow of discussions and will not be tolerated.
  11. Adding images or any other type of file to comments is forbidden. Including hyperlinks to other websites is allowed, as long as they comply with netiquette. Radio Canada International  is in no way responsible for the content of such sites, however.
  12. Copying and pasting text written by someone else, even if you credit the author, is unacceptable if that text makes up the majority of your comment.
  13. Posting any type of advertising or call to action, in any form, to Radio Canada International  forums is prohibited.
  14. All comments and other types of content are moderated before publication. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to refuse any comment for publication.
  15. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to close a forum at any time, without notice.
  16. Radio Canada International  reserves the right to amend this code of conduct (netiquette) at any time, without notice.
  17. By participating in its online forums, you allow Radio Canada International to publish your comments on the web for an indefinite time. This also implies that these messages will be indexed by Internet search engines.
  18. Radio Canada International has no obligation to remove your messages from the web if one day you request it. We invite you to carefully consider your comments and the consequences of their posting.


One comment on “Canadians give political parties failing grades
  1. Avatar Peter Ashcroft says:

    I generally voted in both local and general elections, but did not join a political party until about 8 years ago, having retired, when a particular policy of this party seemed relevant to me.