Canadian optimism for next generation collapses

According to the latest iteration of a long-standing survey from Nanos, only 10 per cent of Canadians currently believe the next generation will have a higher standard of living than the present, while 65 per cent think it will be lower. There are several well-grounded reasons for this pessimism. Photo credit: Pexels/Gustavo Fring


For generations, Canadians have believed that their children will be better off than they are. That is a goal that virtually all parents work toward and for generations that was indeed the case in Canada. Many immigrants to Canada came to this country for exactly that reason. A recent poll suggests that Canadians no longer believe that happy scenario will continue in future. 

Nanos Research has been collecting data for about 11 years on the question “Do you think the next generation of Canadians will have a standard of living that is higher, the same or lower than Canadians have today?” When the question was first asked in May 2012, 26 per cent of respondents believed that future generations would have a higher standard of living whereas 37 per cent thought it would be lower. When the same question was asked recently, only 10 per cent said future Canadians would have a higher standard of living, while 65 per cent said it would be lower. Quite a drastic change in a relatively short period of time. This was apparently the highest proportion that felt this way since the poll question was first asked. 

There could be many reasons for this pessimism. The pandemic hangover is still with us, with many people having their jobs disrupted or eliminated, their businesses damaged or shut down, and persistent health problems from the many side effects of the virus or the vaccinations. Inflation has reappeared after decades of price stability, and the higher cost of living is affecting everyone but the politicians and government employees who are effectively shielded from those pesky issues by our tax dollars. 

Some of the most basic Canadian presumptions, such as the belief that young families can expect to own a home in a country that has one of the highest proportions of home ownership in the world, have been called into question by sharply increasing interest rates, skyrocketing home prices and a shortage of supply as a result of many government regulations that impose more delays and red tape on housing construction and taxes such as significant land transfer levies that increase prices. It’s not surprising that an Abacus Data poll recently showed that fully 40 per cent of homeowners got financial help from their parents, with the average level of support exceeding $70,000. 

The ridiculous policies of the Trudeau government are also a key reason for the decline in optimism among Canadians. Constantly increasing carbon taxes, more intrusive regulatory requirements of various kinds, runaway inflation stoked by ongoing massive government spending and constant reports of the fact Trudeau has increased the size of government by 40 per cent while the quality of government services continues to decline cannot exactly be things that would boost Canadians’ hopes for the future.

Media stories about things like Governor General Mary Simon’s lavish spending which demonstrates complete disregard for struggling taxpayers and the many millions in bonuses that have been paid to government employees. It is especially galling to see Bank of Canada employees who have performed abysmally and imposed serious hardships on Canadians as they could not manage inflation properly, which is their number one job, collect millions in “performance” bonuses.  

Self-destructive policies that aim to hobble Canada’s most important industry that represents about 10 per cent of our gross domestic product – oil and gas – along with government debt that continues to increase while we subsidize profitable international corporations like Volkswagen and Stellantis, foster Canadians’ beliefs that our federal government is off the rails. The fact that more Canadians than ever are dependent upon government handouts of one kind or another is also problematic, as these voters will be happy to support big government in the short run, but that is not sustainable in the long run. 

The fact the Trudeau government continues to be the most secretive and sneaky government in Canadian history also contributes to Canadian pessimism. The recent crisis of Chinese interference in our democracy and the Liberals’ refusal to do the right thing and have a public inquiry to investigate cannot be encouraging to Canadians. This most recent refusal to properly inform the public is just the latest in a long line of Liberal practices to keep information that we deserve to know away from Canadians.

It’s fair to say the current opinion of Canadians to view their future and that of their children and grandchildren with less optimism than in the past is unprecedented in the period since the Second World War. Canada is still blessed relative to many countries around the world, but we cannot take that for granted. A change in direction toward responsible government, sensible fiscal and economic policy and a focus on growing our wealth, not just redistributing it, is badly needed. The sooner the better. 

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