OTTAWA, ON, Aug. 2, 2023 /CNW/ - The Public Policy Forum today released a new report on polarization in Canada that makes the case that the country is not immune to the corrosive forces sweeping democracies worldwide.
The report, titled Far and Widening: The Rise of Polarization in Canada is the culmination of a months-long project in which the Public Policy Forum engaged communities across the nation.
Written by investigative journalist Justin Ling, the report draws from polling of 1,500 young adults; eight papers on polarization from academics, commissioned by the McGill Centre for Media, Technology and Democracy; and interviews with politicians, political staffers and strategists, journalists, experts, activists, Indigenous leaders and regular citizens.
In seeking to understand how polarization is manifesting in Canada, PPF Fellow Victoria Kuketz also partnered with community groups across the country to convene local young-adult centric roundtables, including: Apathy is Boring, First Work Ontario, Lifelong Leadership Institute; Saint John Human Development Council; YMCA Canada and LOVE Nova Scotia.
This work fed grassroots voices from the 18-35 age demographic into the report.
While there has not been a populist surge at the ballot box in Canada as elsewhere, or a notable divergence on most social issues, the report finds that polarization has arrived here in the form of mass protest, feedback loops, identity politics-driven public discourse, partisan sorting, performance politics and a loss of diversity in viewpoints. It is defined by increasing disengagement and unproductive bitterness.
"The Freedom Convoy should be a wake-up call," Mr. Ling writes. "Canadians are angry. And they are picking sides, increasingly segmenting into agitated clusters of comforting rage."
Of youth polled, increasing ideological polarization ranked as their number one fear for the future, eclipsing concerns about the climate emergency, another catastrophic health crisis or the economic outlook for Canada. The report found a particular need to engage young Canadians "to ensure they understand one another and see themselves— their anxieties and priorities—addressed in our political discourse."
SOURCE Public Policy Forum
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