2015-16 CJFE Poll: Steps Forward and Back

 Canadians are more trusting of the federal government, but still want better communication

Tuesday, May 03, 2016
1 reactions

Each year on World Press Freedom Day, CJFE releases the results of an annual poll in the Review of Free Expression in Canada, surveying Canadian impressions of free expression issues and the federal government.

Our 2015-16 poll has revealed that Canadians are sick of federal government secrecy and the trampling of the public’s right to know. This year, it seems, some trust in our representatives has been restored. However, it’s a work in progress, and Canadians clearly feel the government needs to be more transparent on certain issues.

CJFE partnered with Nanos Research to gauge Canadians’ views on how well the government is protecting their rights, communicating openly and being transparent on the controversial Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). We also asked for their opinion on how the quality of news has changed in the past decade.

The numbers tell a very clear story. Canada seems to be making progress in openness and respect for human rights—perhaps not surprising given the government’s unmuzzling of scientists and civil servants, and its pledge to reform the dangerously overbroad Anti-terrorism Act, 2015. However, Canadians still feel there’s a lack of transparency on important issues like the TPP.

Our final question was on a very different topic, but its findings were no less interesting. Despite widespread layoffs and pundits lamenting the demise of the news industry, Canadians aren’t in agreement that news is worse off than it once was. When it comes to the quality of information in news, Canadians have a mixed opinion of whether it has gotten better or worse over the past decade. Considering the massive upheaval in the news media, this can probably be taken as a good sign, especially by journalists who fear their industry’s days are numbered.

Check out the 2015-16 Review of Free Expression in Canada.


We asked Canadians:


1. Do you trust the current Liberal government more, less or the same compared to the previous Conservative government for the following:

A) Striking the right balance between protecting the rights of Canadians and our need for security?



B) Being open when it comes to communicating with Canadians about issues facing the government?



2. Would you say that the quality of information in the news today is higher, somewhat higher, somewhat lower, lower or the same as it was 10 years ago?



3. Canada recently signed the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), a new trade agreement that could have an impact on the Canadian economy, copyright laws, net neutrality and digital surveillance practices. Has the federal government done a very good, good, average, poor or very poor job of informing Canadians about the agreement and its impact?




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NNanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between April 1 and 4, 2017, as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were ran¬domly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information, and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Charts may not add up to 100 due to rounding.

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