Federal election signs crowded the landscape outside the Ottawa Convention Centre before a leaders' debate in 2012. Political parties go to great lengths to identify support among voters before election day. A new poll shows however that most Canadians don't trust politicians
Photo Credit: Paul Chiasson/Canadian Pres

Politicians: least trusted profession

Share

A national survey taken last month discovered that most Canadians just don’t trust their politicians….and don’t trust them… a lot!

At least one ethicist is calling it an “ethical crisis” in Canadian politics.

Chris MacDonald is an associate professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management, Director of the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre, and founding director of the Jim Pattison Ethical Leadership Programme, all at Ryerson University in Toronto, Ontario.

Listen

In fact the survey shows that politicians are among the most mistrusted professionals in Canada

null
Ryerson University professor Chris MacDonald (PhD) Director of the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre, and founding director of the Jim Pattison Ethical Leadership Programme in Toronto Ontario © ethicsweb.ca

Professor MacDonald says “These results suggest Canadians are facing a crisis of confidence in the integrity of their politicians at all levels of government. This is bad for democracy in Canada,”

This perceived lack of ethics by citizens affects the public’s intention to vote, especially among younger Canadians.

The survey shows for example that almost a third of Canadians believe politicians accepting bribes is a common practice, while nearly 40 per cent think they frequently use public money for personal gain.

Many also said politicians are often use their position to do favours for business and friends and family and that policies which benefit business often trumps policies which would benefit the population.

Interestingly, Canadians have the least trust in federal politicians, a slightly less cynical view of provincial politicians, with municipal politicians getting the least cynical view.

While most Canadians think people enter politics for the right reasons, they also think the access to power and money ends up corrupting them.

null
A famous political debate in 1988 between federal Liberal leader John Tuner (L) and Conservative leader Brian Mulroney (R) in which both accused the other of political patronage. Mulroney went on to become Prime Minister but was later accused of involvement in an international bribery scandal, eventually won after a long investigation.which cleared him, although perhaps not in the minds of many ordinary Canadians. This was just one of many serious political scandals across the country since then on all levels of government. © CBC

David Herle, principal of the Gandalf Group, a leading public research group says the level of public cynicism with regard to politicians was shocking.

“The gap between politicians and others in public life, the extent to which our politics is believed to be inherently corrupting, and the frequency with which private interests are assumed to trump the public interest are all corrosive to democracy”, he said

The online survey, conducted in October this year, polled 1,000 adults across Canada. In addition, about 400 residents living in the Greater Toronto area were surveyed online. They were asked a series of questions on their perception of politicians’ ethical behavior.

Professor MacDonald says while he expected there was a strong negative opinion of the ethics of politicians he was also surprised at the level of cynicism.

He says now that they have this survey’s data, they will likely repeat the survey every two years to gauge trends in the public’s perception of politicians

 

Share
Categories: Politics
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

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 “Politicians: least trusted profession
  1. Avatar Edward Schweikert says:

    No comment; the article and survey speak for itself.