Gun control, National Unity and more: ARI Top Stories of 2022 – 6 through 10

by Angus Reid | December 27, 2022 11:29 am

Story Six – Canadians feel divided, national unity tested

One thing that the freedom convoy protests have laid bare is that portions of the Canadian population feel divided from others. The Angus Reid Institute found four-in-five Canadians saying that the pandemic has pulled people further apart (82%) and that it has brought out the worst (79%) in some. This split was further revealed later in the year at the political level, when Canadians were asked to describe[1] Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and opposition leader Pierre Poilievre. Liberals described Poilievre is “arrogant” and “dishonest” and Conservatives said exactly the same of Trudeau.

If there is “good” news, it is that Canadians are less divided than Americans.[2] While 37 per cent north of the border say that there is no room for political compromise in their country, half of Americans say the same of their own (48%).

Story Seven – Concerns about gun control and crime in Canada

Recent tragedy, as five people[3] were killed in a mass shooting in Vaughan, Ontario, underscores the ongoing concern[4] Canadians have with gun violence in the country. Asked earlier this year, two-in-five (43%) were concerned that gun crime was rising in their community[5], including majorities in Montreal and Toronto. Overall, two-in-five (44%) felt that gun laws needed to continue to be tightened at the time. That said, 30 per cent felt they were fine, while 17 per cent believed they were already too strict.

This gun violence trend mirrors Canadian views of crime more broadly. Three-in-five (60%) said this year when asked that crime in their community is rising in recent years[6] – a 12-point increase compared to 2020. Further, fewer than half (47%) now have confidence in the RCMP, the lowest score since 2012.[7][8]

Story Eight – Danielle Smith ushers in a new era in Alberta

Jason Kenney resigned as premier of Alberta in May, paving the road for a new United Conservative Party leader. While there were a number of candidates[9] who emerged to take Kenney’s place, it was the controversial policies of Danielle Smith, including introducing the Sovereignty Act[10] on her first day, that drew the most interest and ultimately support. Smith won, and then made good on her campaign promises. The Sovereignty Act passed, with some revisions[11] to address widespread criticism, setting the stage for a potential showdown with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ottawa.

Despite half of Albertans opposing[12] the proposed Sovereignty Act and majority disapproval[13] of Smith herself, Smith’s ascension to the premier’s seat has only boosted the electoral fortunes[14] of the UCP heading into a spring 2023 election. However, the opposition NDP, led by former Premier Rachel Notley, is not far behind[15] in vote intent. And Notley has plenty of electoral fuel for her campaign: significant Albertan dissatisfaction[16] with the UCP’s government performance on 2022’s defining issues, inflation and health care.

Story Nine – Queen Elizabeth II dies and Canadians question the future of the monarchy

Much of the nation collectively mourned the death of Queen Elizabeth II in September. After reigning for 70 years, she died at the age of 96. Asked in April[17], three-in-five (59%) Canadians said they would be personally affected and emotional when the Queen died.

While this was a moment of national reflection, it also raised questions about the future of the monarchy in Canada. After Barbados and Jamaica chose to free themselves from the colonial relationship, more than half[18] of Canadians said they were right to do so. Further, just 26 per cent say that Canada should remain a monarchy for generations to come.

Story Ten – Abortion in Canada – Views and Experiences

A monumental decision to overturn Roe v Wade in the United States sent ripples across the border, as proponents of abortion access turned to the federal government[19] to codify it in legislation, while opponents celebrated a perceived victory[20] in the U.S.

In a three-part series, ARI examined this issue in detail, hoping to add some nuance to a discussion that is often painted in black and white. The personal experiences of Canadian women who have had an abortion or chosen to carry an unwanted pregnancy to term helped to describe the challenges of making – and living with – this decision. Later, we asked about the policy aspects of the debate, and whether Canada does, indeed, need a law to guarantee or restrict access. A solid majority of 57 per cent say Canada needs a law to guarantee access, compared to nine per cent who would restrict this procedure legally. Another one-in-three (34%) say that the current system is working fine, and they wouldn’t address it further through legislation.

Read more from the Angus Reid Institute’s 2022 Three-Part abortion study here:[21][22][23]

  1. asked to describe:
  2. less divided than Americans.:
  3. five people:
  4. ongoing concern:
  5. rising in their community:
  6. rising in recent years:
  9. number of candidates:
  10. Sovereignty Act:
  11. some revisions:
  12. opposing:
  13. majority disapproval:
  14. boosted the electoral fortunes:
  15. not far behind:
  16. significant Albertan dissatisfaction:
  17. Asked in April:
  18. more than half:
  19. turned to the federal government:
  20. celebrated a perceived victory:

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