In parliamentary tradition, prime ministers are sometimes referred to as primus inter pares, Latin for “first among equals” relative to other members of their cabinet.
But the latest public opinion research from the Angus Reid Institute indicates this country’s federal cabinet ministers are hardly equal when it comes to recognition or awareness among Canadians.
Of 30 cabinet members, two-thirds are unknown to at least half the country. Indeed, they are so unrecognized that respondents were unable to render any opinion on whether these ministers of the Crown are doing a good or a bad job.
Among the better-known ministers, those responsible for trade, public safety and defence receive the highest marks. On the other end of the scale, months of criticisms over policy, performance and public transparency has put the finance minister at the back of the pack. Notably, not one member of cabinet receives a “good job” designation from more than 50 per cent of respondents.
More Key Findings:
- Canadian awareness of the federal cabinet is low. Just five of the 30 ministers are recognized by six-in-ten respondents. Minister of Finance Bill Morneau and Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan are the most well-known.
- While Morneau is the most recognizable face of the federal cabinet, he is also the most negatively received. Just 23 per cent of those who are aware of him say he is doing a good job – 46 per cent say the opposite
- Considering each member’s ‘Performance Score’ – that is, the percentage who say each is doing a “good job” minus the percentage who say “bad job” – Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Ralph Goodale (24%) and Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland (23%) score highest.