Nearly 60 per cent of Canadians were comfortable or somewhat comfortable with a deal that could see the federal NDP prop up the minority Liberal government until 2025, a new survey says.
The NDP agreed to the arrangement in exchange for parliamentary co-operation and progress on key New Democratic priorities, such as dental care, pharmacare, housing, climate change and Indigenous reconciliation.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the deal in March, saying it will allow the government to “function with predictability and stability,” implement budgets and “get things done for Canadians.”
A Nanos Research poll commissioned by The Globe and Mail found that 39 per cent of Canadians were comfortable with the agreement and 19 per cent were somewhat comfortable. Eleven per cent were somewhat uncomfortable, 29 per cent uncomfortable and 2 per cent said they were unsure.
Chief data scientist Nik Nanos said the poll is indicative of “election fatigue,” especially as Canadians recover from the COVID-19 pandemic, deal with the rising cost of living and interest rates, and fear a potential recession.
“I don’t think that there is an appetite for an election or what I’ll call political uncertainty,” said Ms. Nanos. “One of the narratives in the last election was that we were having an unnecessary election, so this is a bit of a hangover from that.”
The Nanos Research random survey, conducted between May 26 and 30, polled 1,001 Canadians by phone and online. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
In the poll, Ontario residents were most likely to say they were comfortable or somewhat comfortable with the Liberal-NDP deal, at 64.5 per cent, followed by the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island) at 63.8 per cent and Quebec at 59.1 per cent.
Residents of Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Alberta were most likely to be uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with the agreement, at 54.8 per cent, followed by respondents in British Columbia at 41.4 per cent.
There was also a significant gender split on the issue, with 47 per cent of men saying they were uncomfortable or somewhat uncomfortable with the federal deal, compared with 32.5 per cent of women.
“There’s a real gender divide when it comes to the views on the federal Liberal government, with men being much less likely to find Justin Trudeau and the Liberals appealing,” said Mr. Nanos.
The Liberal-NDP deal is a supply-and-confidence agreement, which generally involves an opposition party agreeing to support the government on confidence motions and budget or appropriation votes for a certain period of time. It is not a coalition because it does not involve NDP MPs sitting in cabinet.
The NDP promised to pass future Liberal budgets, help defeat non-confidence measures proposed by the other opposition parties and block the Conservatives and Bloc Québécois from launching inquiries that “cause unnecessary obstruction” for the Trudeau minority government. In exchange, the Liberals have vowed to consult the NDP on bills and make senior civil servants available for briefings on policy and legislation.
The deal says the parties agree to a guiding principle of “no surprises,” suggesting that the government will inform the NDP of major coming developments. Mr. Trudeau and NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh will meet at least once a quarter; there will also be regular meetings of the party House officers and a monthly “stock-take” meeting by an oversight group made up of staff and politicians.
The poll also asked Canadians how the agreement will impact their voting intention in the next federal election. Thirty-two per cent said it would have no impact on their vote, while 26 per cent said they would be more likely to vote Conservative in the next election.
Voter intention was nearly tied for the Liberals, at 18 per cent, and the NDP, at 17 per cent, followed by 7 per cent who said they were unsure. Five per cent said they were more likely to vote for the Bloc, with the Green Party at 4 per cent, and the People’s Party at one per cent.
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