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Two Canada’s? Regional divisions over direction of the country, hope for the future, define start of the year

The prospect of a new year is bringing new concerns and anxieties for some Canadians, and a bullish outlook for others. How they feel has largely to do with where they live.
A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds a national average of six-in-ten Canadians satisfied with the way things are going in Canada today. But most of these people are concentrated in Quebec, Ontario, Atlantic Canada and, to a lesser extent, British Columbia.
The outlook in the other western provinces looks entirely different. Seven-in-ten Albertans (71%), three-in-five Saskatchewan residents (61%), and close to half of Manitobans (46%) voice dissatisfaction. Further, the proportion of dissatisfied residents has risen in each of the four western provinces since 2016. Increases in Alberta (+24) and Saskatchewan (+18) are most stark.
This unhappiness is inextricably linked to political perspectives and what partisans want to see from their government. For those who supported the Liberals in October, satisfaction is almost unanimous (90%). Conservative voters, meanwhile, are three times less likely to share this view (31%).
That said, Canadians are apparently divorcing some of their dissatisfaction with the country from views about their own, individual future. At least three-in-five residents in every region of the country say they are optimistic about what the future holds for them, personally.


More Key Findings:

  • Financial wellbeing is a factor, but perhaps a smaller one than some may anticipate, when it comes to hope for a person’s own future. Canadians with the highest household income levels are most positive (82% optimistic), but those with the lowest household incomes are nonetheless, overwhelmingly optimistic (68%)
  • Quebecers are most positive about the future of their own province (73%) followed by British Columbians (57%). Meanwhile, Albertans (77%) and Atlantic Canadians (58%) are most pessimistic
  • Concerns about the next generation are abundant. Across all age groups, three-in-five Canadians say they are pessimistic about the future of the next generation

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