Back to the Future: Canadians wish to restore values of civility, kindness, and inclusion in voting Liberals, survey finds

Canadians have gone “back to the future” and made a deliberate decision to restore the values they view as traditionally defining Canada and Canadian society, including civility, kindness and inclusion in voting for Justin Trudeau and the Liberals, according to the results of the Ensight exit poll released today.

“At a time when economic uncertainty and geopolitical turmoil are creating stress, Canadians have a diminished threshold for fear mongering, confrontation and division at home,” Jaime Watt, principal at Ensight, said. “In turn, voters embraced Trudeau’s agenda of hope and optimism, at the core of what they perceive as the values traditionally defining Canada, by giving the Liberal party a majority mandate.”

Watt believes that Canadians’ deliberate decision to restore a specific set of values and priorities will inform every policy and every sector in the coming years.

“Canadians’ embrace of a positive, hopeful vision will compel our new government to usher in an era of greater co-operation and collaboration,” Lindsay Maskall, director at Ensight and a senior Liberal campaign veteran, said. “For Canada’s business community, there is a clear opportunity to participate using a tone, vocabulary and positioning that complements and advances the Liberal’s substantive agenda.”

The results, however, were not a complete repudiation of the Conservative Party of Canada and its record of the past 10 years, but rather, the loss was a personal rejection of a leader who had come to be seen by voters as mean-spirited and needlessly divisive.

“Voters rejected a leader they perceived as the antithesis of the values, tone and optimism they now crave,” Watt added. “Trudeau’s high energy and fresh approach, as well as a clearly-articulated vision and agenda for Canada’s future inspired the right blend of optimism and confidence.”

Ensight conducted two components of a programme of research: four waves of national quantitative research; and exit research through a series of 12 focus groups across Canada.

Quantitative research included four nation-wide studies of 1,200 respondents each in March, June, August and October 2015 in advance of the election. The surveys examined Canadians’ assessments of the issues and drivers of voting decisions.

Qualitative research including 10 focus groups in five cities across Canada, including Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, Quebec City and Halifax. In addition, Ensight hosted two online discussion sessions with young and rural voters.