The Angus Reid Institute’s Top Stories from 2017

The Angus Reid Institute’s Top Stories from 2017

The Angus Reid Institute wishes you all a Happy New Year! We have taken the time to compile a list of our top studies from the year past. These are the stories that helped to shape the political and societal conversation in Canada in 2017. Enjoy, and we will see you again with fresh research early in the new year.


The Impact of Trump on Canada

It’s hard to imagine a bigger story in 2017 than the inauguration and first year of US President Donald Trump. Indeed, the first few weeks of the administration was followed more closely than any other issue, event, or policy the Angus Reid Institute asked about this year. What we found was moderate confidence in the Canadian government to deal with a leader and an administration that most Canadians viewed very negatively. Indeed, seven-in-ten Canadians said they were pessimistic about the years to come under the Republican administration.

Khadr’s Compensation

One of the stories that generated a tremendous amount of discussion and division among Canadians this year was the government’s settlement with Omar Khadr. A Canadian citizen, Khadr has been a subject of debate and political angst in this country for more than a decade. While expert opinion was seemingly unified that a settlement of the case brought against the government by Khadr was inevitable, the decision appeared far less palatable to the public. Prime Minister Trudeau said the settlement was the “right thing to do” but seven-in-ten Canadians appeared to side with the approach offered by Andrew Scheer and the Conservative Party, who said they would have continued to contest the case in court.

The State of Charitable Giving in Canada

In partnership with CHIMP, the Charitable Impact Foundation, the Angus Reid Institute launched a four-part study on Canadians’ behaviours and attitudes towards charity. Throughout the series we asked Canadians for their perspectives on an array of issues – from #GivingTuesday, to Corporate sponsored giving, to Millennial engagement. In the New Year, we will further explore this issue, looking into the giving habits of immigrants to Canada and second-generation Canadians.

Illegal border crossings in Quebec

After more than 7,000 people crossed the bordered into Quebec to make asylum claims between July and September, Canadians voiced concern that the government was being too generous, and perhaps, unclear about the rigorous nature of the asylum process. This, after the Prime Minister tweeted welcoming messages to potential refugees. Some of those crossing the border, in fact, cited Trudeau’s welcoming rhetoric as their reason for attempting to come to Canada. While Canadians were concerned about how the government handled asylum seekers, they were supportive this year of the government’s decision to not increase refugee immigration targets.

Opinions of the Liberal government after two years 

Autumn brought the two-year mark of the federal Liberal government. The Angus Reid Institute asked Canadians for their appraisal at the mid-term mark and found a majority who said the government had met their expectations, but fewer than half saying the Prime Minister, himself, had. In December, the Prime Minister’s approval rating fell below the 50 per cent mark for the first time since the election. Additional stories regarding Trudeau and the federal government included our report on the Trudeau Brand, and our Cabinet Report Card, which illuminated the disproportionately poor approval levels for Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

The price ain’t right: Canadian support for carbon tax falls

Several provinces have already implemented their own emissions reduction plans – either through a carbon tax or cap and trade – but at least half of the population in every region outside of Quebec told the Institute it was opposed to Ottawa’s program of setting a mandatory nationwide carbon price for provinces who fail to create their own acceptable plan. This represented a fall in what was majority support for a federal carbon tax, observed in 2015. The federal pricing plan takes effect in the coming year for provinces who have not created their own system.

The NDP gets a new leader

The federal NDP voted in a new leader in October – Jagmeet Singh. While an overwhelming majority of Canadians (71%) said having a visible minority leader for a major federal party is a good thing for Canada, many people voiced concerns about how other Canadians would view Singh’s victory. Half said their friends or family may not vote for a party led by an observant Sikh man. Ultimately, four-in-five said a politician’s religious or cultural identity should not be an issue if they put forth sound policies.

Religion in Canada 150

This series of reports in a year-long partnership between the Angus Reid Institute and Faith in Canada 150 dealt with Canadian faith and values, as well as the effect one’s position on the spectrum of spirituality has on socio-political and moral beliefs. Additionally, we looked at Canadians’ views about the role of faith and religious belief in shaping Canada’s history and its potential to shape Canada’s future.

Opinions of small business tax changes from small business owners and non-business owners

One of the federal government’s most debated policy proposals for 2017 involved changes to small business taxation. The Angus Reid Institute canvassed both entrepreneurs and non-business owners to gauge the spectrum of public opinion. Among the findings, four-in-ten small business owners said they would be negatively affected by changes to passive investment rules. The government later revised changes to both passive investment and income sprinkling.

What Canadians want most from a new NAFTA

2017 was an important year for trade policy. President Trump entered the year touting plans to leave the North American Free Trade Agreement, and further, called out Canada’s protectionist supply management policy as “unfair” to the United States. The Angus Reid Institute found Canadians willing to put supply management on the negotiating table. At the top of the list of wants for Canadians – tougher labour standards and fair use of the Chapter 19 provision.

Related: Supply Management Study –

Marijuana legalization timeline

Marijuana advocates have waited decades for a federal government to legalize the substance. On Canada day of this year, the Liberal government announced just that – legalization would come into effect in July of 2018. An interesting debate emerged however, after the announcement. Many provincial governments wanted two things – more time and more money. While the government ultimately settled on offering the provinces three-quarters of the revenue from its excise tax, the Angus Reid Institute found many Canadians concerned about the timeline. Half of them (47%) said the timeline should be pushed back.

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