Canadians are less satisfied with democracy: Study

A voter casts a ballot in this QMI Agency file photo. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

A voter casts a ballot in this QMI Agency file photo. (DAVID BLOOM/QMI Agency)

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:15 AM ET

Canadians are significantly less happy with the way their democracy works now than eight years ago, and partisan MPs are largely to blame, a survey has found.

Charitable organization Samara conducted the same poll in 2004 and 2012, gauging Canadians' feelings about the parliamentary system, and found a 20-point drop in satisfaction in less than a decade.

While 55% said they are satisfied with how our democracy works, that's down from 75% eight years ago.

And Canadians aren't pleased with the people they elected to represent them.

Most respondents gave their local MP a failing grade.

While most Canadians believe our democracy enables freedoms and equality, they're fed up with MPs who toe the party line at the expense of their constituents' needs and wishes.

For example, 46% said their MP represents the views of his or her constituents, while 61% said they represent their party's views.

Samara also interviewed 65 former MPs anonymously, and found that most went to Parliament with their constituents in mind, but found their hands tied by party demands.

"Certainly, part of an MP's role is to explain the positions of one's political party, but to what extent should it come at the expense of the ability to represent constituents' views to the party and Parliament?" Samara's report reads.

"What does it suggest about Canadian political parties if both MPs and citizens see those parties as being at odds with MPs' abilities to represent their constituents?"

Samara, whose goal is to improve political and civic engagement, polled 2,287 Canadians in 10 provinces. The poll has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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