(Black Press Media files)

Voters likely to support populist leaders, Canada-first approach: study

Support for democracy increased over time

The majority of Canadians say they’d vote for a populist leader, a survey from Simon Fraser University suggests.

The survey, released Monday by the Morris J. Wosk Centre for Dialogue, found that 80 per cent of Canadians would support a leader who stood up for the “common people” instead of the “elite.”

Just over half of Canadians would vote for a “Canada-first” approach, even if it hurt the country’s relationships with allies.

The study found 34 per cent of Canadians believe that citizens born in the country should have a greater say in how the country is run, compared to citizens born abroad.

Researchers said those who felt that way tended to be “Canadian-born, have less formal education, and are struggling financially.”

The study found a 12-percentage-point increase over two years in the number of Canadians who think democracy is the best form of government, up to 77 per cent.

However, just over two-thirds of those surveyed felt like elected officials didn’t care about what they thought, while 77 per cent believed “fake news” was an ongoing issue for Canada.

“These findings are part of a decade-old trend, where residents from Canada and abroad are increasingly dissatisfied with the performance of their democratic systems,” said the centre’s executive director Shauna Sylvester.

“These results represent a call to action for all Canadians to avoid hyper-partisanship and for elected officials to create more meaningful ways for Canadians to engage in their democracy beyond the simple act of voting.”

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