Balance the budget or spend, spend, spend? Canadians Divided Amid Pandemic Elections – National

There does not appear to be a clear consensus among Canadians on whether the most responsible route out of the social and economic shocks of the COVID-19 pandemic is to keep spending or start cutting back.

A new poll conducted exclusively for Global News by Ipsos found that 30% of those polled said the best thing to do was to keep spending on government programs, even if it means prolonged deficits. Another 33 percent said the focus should be on balancing the budget, even if that means spending cuts or tax increases, while 37 percent said the tax cut would be the best way forward.

Responses crossed through voting intentions, which Ipsos Public Affairs CEO Darrell Bricker said suggests many Canadians no longer feel the pressing economic threats of the early days of the pandemic – and are increasingly thinking of what the future holds.

“Just as Canadians are divided over a lot of things in politics these days, they are divided on what the goal of the government initiative should be in the post-pandemic period,” said Bricker.

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“During the pandemic there was more determination on the need to spend government money to ensure that we were able to sustain people’s lives and their livelihoods.

“But now as we go through the pandemic and start to think about what’s going on on the other side, I think what we’re seeing is some of these economic values ​​that we’ve been developing in space. of a couple of generations that are beginning to reassert themselves.

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The federal government rolled out unprecedented massive new spending programs outside of wartime as the COVID-19 pandemic ravaged the country, forcing many industries to close their doors for unknown periods.

Many others were faced with the difficult choice of calling a sick person to work and having their paychecks cut, or quitting their jobs to care for children as schools closed or loved ones fell ill.

Many others had no choice and could not make themselves sick to work without risking their jobs.

Huge new spending programs have been deployed: the wage subsidy, the rent subsidy, sickness benefits, caregiver’s allowances, payback allowances, hiring allowances.

And while the programs have undoubtedly been lifesavers for many, they have also raised questions about when they should end and whether new permanent programs on offer like child care are the best way forward. when there is no plan in place to return to a balanced budget in the years to come.

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As it stands, the federal deficit for the last fiscal year was $ 314 billion.

This is up from the deficit of $ 21.8 billion in the fiscal year that ended just as the pandemic was emerging.

But while none of the top federal leaders advocate a short-term return to balanced budgets, the divergence of views over the importance of a budget suggests that the issue is not a settled discussion and that it should be resolved. rather, it will unfold along the familiar political lines of years past. .

People who intend to vote Conservative, for example, were more likely to prioritize balancing budgets and cutting taxes, with 46% and 40% of respondents identifying themselves.

Only 14 percent of those who lean for the Conservatives said continued spending should be the priority, compared to 42 percent of those considering voting for the Liberals and 46 percent of those who lean for the NDP.

Only 27 percent of Liberals and 23 percent of NDP-leaning voters prioritized balancing the budget.

“The Prime Minister… he had a pretty clear vision at the time with his ‘build back better’ scenario that he presented to Canadians that there was a huge consensus for it,” Bricker said, citing the oft-vaunted chorus. by Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau. .

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“What we see in these numbers is that there is actually no consensus on what better rebuilding looks like.”

These are some of the conclusions of an Ipsos poll carried out between August 20 and 23, on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of n = 1,500 Canadians aged 18 and over was interviewed online, via the Ipsos I-Say panel and non-panel sources. Respondents receive a nominal incentive for their participation. Quotas and weighting were used to balance demographics to ensure that the sample composition reflects that of the adult population according to census data and to provide results intended to approximate the universe of sample. The precision of Ipsos surveys that include non-probability sampling is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to ± 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, if all Canadians had been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All polls and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to, coverage error and measurement error. Ipsos follows the disclosure standards set by CRIC, available here:

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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