Rally for Canada budget consultation survey results

On Friday, I sent out an email to the tens of thousands on the Rally for Canada email list asking them to participate in a small survey concerning the upcoming federal budget.  I asked people four questions concerning the government spending and their public policy priorities.  Over three thousand people responded on Friday and over the weekend.  I will be passing on the results to the office of the Minister of Finance as promised.

Q: On the question of Canada’s upcoming federal budget to get us through the economic crisis, which balance within the following options do you think is best for the government to implement? (n=3003)

Q: Which issues are most important to you from a government policy point of view? (n=3051)

Here is the same graph sorted in descending order (n=3051):

Q: What should be done with the Senate? (n=3007)

Q: What should be done with funding for the CBC? (n=2998)

Some notes: “n” is the number of respondents to each question.  Data was gathered from 8am Friday through midnight Sunday night.  Sample data is gathered from a population set that registered on the anti-coalition website RallyforCanada.ca between December 4th 2008 and January 9th 2009.  Answers were not randomly cycled.

That said, this data gives us insight into the priorities of Canadians who are against the concept of a Bloc-supported NDP-Liberal coalition government.  The first question was a careful balance on both sides of the spending vs. taxes debate.  On one hand, the answer set does not include an option to decrease spending and on the other, four out of five answers prompt at least some tax relief.  Most analysts believe that the federal budget will include some tax relief and stimulus in the form of government spending.  The largest group believed a balance spending/tax relief approach would be best while the second largest group favours substantial tax relief and no new spending (given the options presented).

The second question had 24 options.  Each option was a yes/no checkbox to pick public policy priorities.  There was little surprise on the distribution of public policy interests as the generally right-of-centre respondents selected jobs, economy, crime, tax cuts, healthcare choice, and military spending as priorities while passing on foreign aid, culture and arts, and native affairs.  Wheat board reform is generally a conservative priority yet this question is likely too regional for a national survey.

On the specific questions, it is of particular interest that 90% of respondents believe that the Senate in it’s current form must change.  Only 10% of respondents thought that the Senate ought to be left as it is.  On the question of spending for a particular budget item, respondents indicated that funding for the CBC should be decreased (61%) while only 6% thought it should be increased.

Comments

comments

  • robins111

    Now that's a shocker, reduce funding for the CBC

  • Beer and Popcorn

    I think, at bare minimum, the CBC ought to be accountable for trimming costs like any other taxpayer or business who funds them is forced to during tough economic times like these.

    I'd like to see the government work with the CBC on a plan so that funding is gradually replaced over time with a combination of viewer donations and increased ad revenue from the private sector.

    We can't allow the CBC to continue to produce programming that nobody watches and that advertisers aren't interested in on the taxpayer's dime..

  • My name is Al

    Great. Now we have an idea of what Canadians who registered at RallyforCanada.ca think. Let's not confuse that with what Canadians as a whole believe as there may be some important differences.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Agreed. The data is only a respresentative sample of the entire rallyforcanada dataset. However, anti-coalition folks are a large portion of the Canadian population.

    Another thing to consider is that people that have signed up with RfC are more active politically. There's a bit of a respondent bias there.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Spectrum is such a tricky word especially when describing ideology. Politics is a crude shortform for describing complex backgrounds of a diverse set of experiences and hopes.

    I think that most people just want to earn a living and enjoy time with their families and friends.

  • Alex

    I agree with “My name is Al” and your points as well, Stephen. I would also like to point out though that the results, while having an obvious tilt, are still diverse enough to indicate Rally for Canada members come from several points on the political spectrum, not just the right.

  • Brett

    I think from an economic perspective the most salient feature that jumps out at me is the large portion of people who ask for moderate increases in spending and tax cuts. With 93% favoring some sort of tax cut.

    One other surprising topic was Free Speech. It ranked in the middle but color me uninformed what has occurred recently in our country that merits so much concern from individuals on this list?

    There are however some issues which I think unfairly simplify this study.

    1) There is no option for substantial spending and substantial tax cuts (It would be good to know how many Canadians from this demographic would support deficits)

    2)Health Care Choice is an unclear topic are we talking about private public partnerships, private health insurance or something else entirely? Does this also include people who want more funding to health care (there seems to be several issues clustered together in that idea).

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    1) yes I mentioned this in my post. I believe that the five options presented are the most realistic outcomes (if not most realistic ideas) that will come out of the budget.

    2) Heathcare choice means the (true) liberalisation of healthcare. I suspect there were a few respondents that didn't see the answer this way. Choice in healthcare means moving past one service provider (the government).

    On Free speech, google “Macleans” “Ezra Levant” and/or “Mark Steyn”

    As someone with a right-of-centre view on the economy and taxes I'm happy to see so many people favour some sort of tax relief. The minister of finance has been hinting that this is likely in the budget.

  • http://www.stephentaylor.ca Stephen Taylor

    Thanks Darcy

  • http://darcymeyers.wordpress.com Darcy Meyers

    This is an interesting study. Thought the results are not all that informative in terms of the broad appeal amongst canadians. The sample set is already predisposed to a certain perspective.
    I may personally agree with the results, but would use them with a grain of caution in terms of gauging broad support. To base policy decisions on this data set would be inappropriate.
    Regardless it has allowed for some interesting debate, and that is always helpful.
    darcymeyers.wordpress.com
    cheers Stephen.
    Darcy

  • A reader

    Would you be able to post the breakdown of your N by gender, province, and party vote in 2008? Thanks in advance if so.

  • http://www.wernerpatels.com Werner Patels

    Not a shocker, really, as those emailed for the survey were from a list of conservative supporters (“Rally for Canada”), which, I dare say, excludes any Liberal, NDP and other types, as they were all part of their own rallies here and there.

    But I agree that tax relief should be among the top three issues to be addressed in the budget, although personally, I'd fall in the category of “substantial tax cuts” (which the top economists in the country agree with, as we found out this past week).

  • Faramir

    Wow, all these people put free speech behind the economy, healthcare, and jobs. Fracking pathetic!

    Well, don't go crying when the free speech Stasi goes after you.

  • Faramir

    Brett, you are friggin kidding right? Ever heard of Stephen Boisson? The investigation of the Free Dominion. That Macleans was hauled before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal for something Mark Steyn wrote? Canada does NOT have free speech – it has “you hurt my feelings” types running around castigating people for saying something.

  • Elma Brandt

    Funding for CBC should be cut in half. But I guess it would give the Libs the ammunition to defeat the budget.

  • Ge Ting Fedup

    What happened to increasing/decreasing spending at the rate of population and growth in GDP? How about a spending cut?

    Not one of the options? Your base has limited patience.

  • Michael

    So what you're saying is:

    a) conservatives couldn't give two shits about the poor, about natives, or about offering assistance to our neighbours in the world at large;

    b) conservatives actually believe that crime is on the rise, despite overwhelming evidence and informed opinion to the contrary;

    c) conservatives believe that if a news agency isn't owned and controlled by rich conservatives, concerned primarly with the bottom line (like the National Post…ooops!), and utterly beholden to advertisers' interests, they lack credibility and should have their funding cut;

    I probably shouldn't go on…because it's only the same old story anyway.

  • http://www.genx40.com Alan

    That is really too bad that you started with such an obviously skewed mandate and limited polling pool despite alternatives being easily available.

  • webwilder

    Here is a letter I sent to all literate sitting MP's on Wednesday of this week. It is self explanatory;
    Dear Honourable Member;

    I am writing to you today to ask that you work and strive to make changes to the current eligibility rules so to allow for Self Employed business people to be able to contribute too and be eligible to make a claim for EI. Currently this group, the self employed, makes up 15% of Canada's workforce. In a majority of cases those self employed individuals end up hiring staff and building the economy even more.

    I myself run a small business, by myself, it's outdoor work and over the last 3 months I have only been able to work for clients 5 days, not all because of weather, many people are just putting things off because of the economy. I can't survive 3 months with 5 days work, nor can anyone. I truly believe that my situation is at the end of it's business life and I will likely seek bankruptcy by next month. But I truly feel the self employed are being short changed with the current eligibility criteria.

    There is hope and an easy solution ready to be acted on by Parliament.

    Under the current EI Act,
    Regulations to include persons in business (5) The Commission may, with the approval of the Governor in Council and subject to affirmative resolution of Parliament, make regulations for including in insurable employment the business activities of a person who is engaged in a business, as defined in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act.

    Currently there is a segregated group of “self employed' who do have access to EI. That's the fisherpersons, who have been deemed eligible since 1972. There is rampant abuse in the sector, but that's for another day, though it does bother allot of Canadians, when they see crab and lobster fisherperson catch and earn over $100,000.00 only make a claim for EI as soon as their season ends. It was originally put in place to help the starving cod fishery, what happened??

    Currently 15% of Canada's workforce are self employed, and many are struggling like myself to make ends meet, feed their families and pay their bills!

    There is also Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues regarding equality for all Canadians. I won't quote the section as I expect you are fully knowledgeable on the Charter.

    During the last election, Sept.16th to be exact, Stephen Harper made a campaign promise ( see link below)to open up the EI Fund eligibility to the self employed. While researching for this email I found in the fine print that this change was directed at the women vote and the changes would only benefit self employed women so they could received maternity benefits. Well self employed men don't make babies so where's the equality in that, and the promise seems to have slipped from Mr. Harpers agenda for now.

    I would request that you bring this shortcoming to equality under the EI Act forward. Specifically forward prior to January 27th Budget.
    In my way of thinking, as I am a Canadian like you, those that choose to opt in be required to pay into the fund, maybe somewhere between Employee and Employer amounts, most self employed couldn't afford both. It should be noted that the one group self employed , the fisherpersons, don't pay into the EI fund, but get benefits year after year since 1972.

    In closing I would like to tell you that I did a live interview on CBC Compass, PEI's evening news, I have started a Facebook group, called EI for the Self Employed ( link below) and membership is growing since launching it Tuesday evening. Take a look, I'll gladly add you and be pleased if you comment.

    I am currently waiting to do a couple of print interviews which will be posted on CP and CBC PEI is distributing the story they did nationwide, so that's your heads up I guess.
    In closing all I ask is that you seriously look at the current shortcomings in EI Eligibility and use your best efforts to assist the 15% of Canadians that deserve equality under the EI program. It can be done and done quickly so as to protect a large portion of the Canadian workforce in the coming tough times ahead.

    Facebook Group link http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=490085119

    Mr. harpers Campaign promise http://www.nowpublic.com/world/harper-campaign-

    My email is chopkins@pei.sympatico.ca, phone 902-969-8569 Be great to hear from you!

    Regards with Sincerity

    Chris Hopkins
    Montague, PEI

  • webwilder

    Here is a letter isent to all sitting MP's last Wednesday, it's pretty much self explanatory
    Dear Honourable Member;

    I am writing to you today to ask that you work and strive to make changes to the current eligibility rules so to allow for Self Employed business people to be able to contribute too and be eligible to make a claim for EI. Currently this group, the self employed, makes up 15% of Canada's workforce. In a majority of cases those self employed individuals end up hiring staff and building the economy even more.

    I myself run a small business, by myself, it's outdoor work and over the last 3 months I have only been able to work for clients 5 days, not all because of weather, many people are just putting things off because of the economy. I can't survive 3 months with 5 days work, nor can anyone. I truly believe that my situation is at the end of it's business life and I will likely seek bankruptcy by next month. But I truly feel the self employed are being short changed with the current eligibility criteria.

    There is hope and an easy solution ready to be acted on by Parliament.

    Under the current EI Act,
    Regulations to include persons in business (5) The Commission may, with the approval of the Governor in Council and subject to affirmative resolution of Parliament, make regulations for including in insurable employment the business activities of a person who is engaged in a business, as defined in subsection 248(1) of the Income Tax Act.

    Currently there is a segregated group of “self employed' who do have access to EI. That's the fisherpersons, who have been deemed eligible since 1972. There is rampant abuse in the sector, but that's for another day, though it does bother allot of Canadians, when they see crab and lobster fisherperson catch and earn over $100,000.00 only make a claim for EI as soon as their season ends. It was originally put in place to help the starving cod fishery, what happened??

    Currently 15% of Canada's workforce are self employed, and many are struggling like myself to make ends meet, feed their families and pay their bills!

    There is also Charter of Rights and Freedoms issues regarding equality for all Canadians. I won't quote the section as I expect you are fully knowledgeable on the Charter.

    During the last election, Sept.16th to be exact, Stephen Harper made a campaign promise ( see link below)to open up the EI Fund eligibility to the self employed. While researching for this email I found in the fine print that this change was directed at the women vote and the changes would only benefit self employed women so they could received maternity benefits. Well self employed men don't make babies so where's the equality in that, and the promise seems to have slipped from Mr. Harpers agenda for now.

    I would request that you bring this shortcoming to equality under the EI Act forward. Specifically forward prior to January 27th Budget.
    In my way of thinking, as I am a Canadian like you, those that choose to opt in be required to pay into the fund, maybe somewhere between Employee and Employer amounts, most self employed couldn't afford both. It should be noted that the one group self employed , the fisherpersons, don't pay into the EI fund, but get benefits year after year since 1972.

    In closing I would like to tell you that I did a live interview on CBC Compass, PEI's evening news, I have started a Facebook group, called EI for the Self Employed ( link below) and membership is growing since launching it Tuesday evening. Take a look, I'll gladly add you and be pleased if you comment.

    I am currently waiting to do a couple of print interviews which will be posted on CP and CBC PEI is distributing the story they did nationwide, so that's your heads up I guess.
    In closing all I ask is that you seriously look at the current shortcomings in EI Eligibility and use your best efforts to assist the 15% of Canadians that deserve equality under the EI program. It can be done and done quickly so as to protect a large portion of the Canadian workforce in the coming tough times ahead.

    Facebook Group link http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=490085119

    Mr. harpers Campaign promise http://www.nowpublic.com/world/harper-campaign-

    My email is chopkins@pei.sympatico.ca, phone 902-969-8569 Be great to hear from you!

    Regards with Sincerity

    Chris Hopkins
    Montague, PEI

  • buffer

    One of the more serious issues that will face Canadian taxpayers sooner than later is how to fund/pay for the defined benefit plans and perks for public sector and government sponsored employees. In my mind these employees represent the new middle to upper class elite. On the one hand they receive 3% automatic annual pay raises and improved benefits such as sick and vacation time. On the other hand they will receive guaranteed, indexed pensions and benefits that no private company could ever afford. The private sector employee can only dream of these perks. But it will be difficult to reverse this trend because (1) they have monopoly power and (2) the majority of Canadians probably support these perks for no other reason than because one spouse in a family works for the government or an organization that is supported by govt funding.

  • A reader

    Also, there's the, apparently minor to you, point that those federal public servants pay a very high contribution rate towards those pensions. Are you trying to squeeze *all* remaining demand out of the economy? Why not instead support a common national pension system for everyone … that would really give our businesses a competitive edge.

    BTW, where did you get the figure of 3% automatic annual pay raises? We were just offered a 4-year contract at 1.5, 1.5, 1.0 and 1.0. It's easy to set up a phony strawman when you get your figures wrong. No wonder your nose is out of joint.

  • buffer

    I do not know what you mean by “high contribution rate”. Relative to what? Secondly you mention that your salary increase was about 1.5% over four years. From my observation, in the province of Ontario. the rate is 3% or more. But what is equally important are the benefits both current and future, that simply do not accrue to most private sector employees. Did you stop to think how costly an indexed defined benefit pension is or will be if the contributions from both employee/employer(the taxpayer) do not provide the expected investment returns to adequately fund those pensions. But why would you be concerned about a potentially massive underfunded pension liablity. But you do not have worry about minor issues as this. You have your guarantee.

    I would be more than willing to support a national pension system similar to yours. But it cannot be afforded. If it could be afforded or would really give a “competivie edge”, then why have businesses not demanded it. I guess we should have a national day care program as well. Hell, why don't we all just work for the govt.

    I apologize for having the audacity of pointing out the ” the king has no clothes”

  • webwilder

    To bring other canadians thoughts to this discussion I have started a Campaign to open up and bring equality to whats left of the EI Program since the current government made it very difficult to access except for a select few groups, ( read fisherperson)
    I took this campaign national, and the Globe and Mail picked it up. If all the right wing posters on here aren't to scared to read some truth about your leader and his motives check it out and my personal blog on the subject

    Blog Link
    http://eifortheselfemployed.blogspot.com/
    Globe and mail Link
    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/servlet/story/RT

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