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Canada hasn't been left untouched by populist forces, pollster says

Last Updated Jun 30, 2020 at 10:05 am PDT

FILE. (iStock Photo)

Canada not immune to same forces that saw Americans vote in Donald Trump, Britons vote for Brexit, pollster says

Countries that have embraced populism the most seem to have the weakest response to COVID-19, EKOS finds

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – Populism is a significant force in Canada and is only getting stronger.

That’s the take-away from a report by the University of Calgary’s School of Public Policy, out Tuesday, which finds this country isn’t immune to the same forces that saw Americans vote in Donald Trump as president or Britons vote for Brexit.

“In Canada it’s not really bounded by race, it’s more linked to social class, so we will find that people who live in ethnically homogeneous communities — whether they’re white or brown or yellow — are actually more prone to have this outlook,” Frank Graves with the polling company EKOS explains.

Graves points to rising intolerance of visible minorities, economic dislocation, and a backlash against the loss of traditional values as signs populism is on the rise.

He notes there is populism “of various kinds,” and is specifically talking about what he refers to “ordered populism.”

“The particular version of populism, which we call ordered, which is akin to authoritarian populism, it would array the outcomes of this, historically, on deeply disappointing to a disaster,” Graves explains. “It really isn’t a very good force. It’s a certain type of outlook, a world view, which becomes triggered under certain circumstances and generally produces things which are not very healthy for democracies or for the people living in them.”

Graves believes moral lectures won’t work on those who fall into this category of populism, and says we have to “provide a path back to shared prosperity and middle-class progress.”

According to the pollster, countries that have embraced populism the most also appear to have the weakest response to the COVID-19 pandemic.