Internet Musings

In preparing its report The Shattered Mirror, the Public Policy Forum partnered with the Canadian Journalism Foundation and engaged the Earnscliffe Strategy Group to conduct research that would provide a consumer perspective on the subject in question: news, trust and democracy in the digital age. We conducted six focus groups, two each in Montreal, Toronto and Regina in August and September 2016, and followed these up with a nationwide Internet survey of 1,509 adult Canadians between September 22 and October 2, drawn from a Leger panel. We looked at changing patterns of news consumption, trust in various delivery platforms for news, the linkage between democracy and both the presence and the consumption of news, awareness of financial difficulties facing news-gathering organizations and public reaction to various public policy options that might be considered to remedy these difficulties. Here is what we found.

Out of the midst of some of the most cynical and depressing politics I have ever witnessed, conventional wisdom among the media elites and pundits has it that Jack Layton and the NDP acquitted themselves pretty well.
With Harper hyperventilating over vote timing, Martin bribing every bribable entity in sight and Duceppe looking like a wolf getting ready to feast on the chickens, Layton called for calm and exhorted all parties to make Parliament work. Alone on the high road, even Martin took note of Layton’s applause, and started moderating his own partisan rants.
The deal the NDP stuck with the Liberals to support the government in exchange for budget amendments was also given a glowing verdict by those in the know. Above and beyond another demonstration of constructive behaviour, Layton was able to draw attention to his priorities in a way 100 speeches on rubber chicken circuit, never could. (more…)

Even with recent polls indicating the Conservatives have lost the electoral advantage they enjoyed two weeks ago, it seems that Stephen Harper still wants an early election and Paul Martin would prefer to go to the people at a later time.

Considering that these two individual’s electoral interests are diametrically opposed, we should assume their assessments of their fortunes are identical — Harper thinks his chances of winning are greater, sooner rather than later, and so does Martin.

What both men know is that the corruption issue cannot be sustain as the principle antecedent of voting intention for any length of time.

“Event driven” concerns like these tend to fade over time, invariably to be replaced by more enduring issues such as health care, the economy as so on. Harper therefore wants to capitalize on the incendiary testimony of Jean Brault and Chuck Guite by precipitating an election in the next three weeks and Martin is buying time in the hopes that these memories will fade.

As they pursue their respective strategies apace, what they may not be taking into full account is how much the current climate of voter cynicism works against both men’s plans.