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Canadians have 'almost identical' views to Americans and Brits on 'culture wars' issues: report

Canadians have “almost identical” views to people in the US and UK when it comes to controversial “culture wars” topics, according to a new study.

The Macdonald-Laurier Institute report cites a Maru Voice Canada survey to claim that Canadians:

  • Oppose teaching children that “There is no such thing as biological sex, only gender preference” by 85 per cent to 15 per cent;

  • think “political correctness has gone too far” by a margin of 78 to 22;

  • oppose the idea that Canada is a racist country (70 to 30);

  • oppose the “cancelling” of so-called “gender-critical feminists” such as JK Rowling (80 to 20); and

  • oppose transgender-related surgeries for under-16 by a margin of four to one.

According to the report’s author, Eric Kaufmann, there is “considerable potential” for centre-right parties to “increase the salience of culture wars issues.”

<who> Photo credit: Eric Kaufmann/MLI

Kaufmann describes the culture wars as a conflict between two groups, one that believes in “cultural socialism” (prioritizing equal results and protection from emotional harm for minority groups) and cultural liberalism and conservatism (prioritizing free speech, objective truth, due process and national heritage).

He says the Maru Voice Canada survey – which was conducted in September 2023 – shows that Canadians “lean about two to one against the cultural socialist position.”

Their opinions are “astoundingly similar” to those found in the US and Britain, he adds.

He does identify traits unique to the Canadian population, however.

“Internationally, Canada is different in that its voters are more deferential towards elite political culture, with Canadians displaying somewhat higher trust in journalists, teachers, and academics than their counterparts in the Anglosphere,” he writes.

“This said, the structure of Canadian public opinion indicates that there is considerable potential for right-of-centre parties to increase the salience of culture wars issues, and a concomitant electoral risk that liberal and left-of-centre parties must manage.”

The report comes during a period of intensifying debate over the question of transgender surgeries and hormone therapy.

<who> Photo credit: Eric Kaufmann/MLI

Conservative Party Leader Pierre Poilievre said last week he is opposed to puberty blockers for children and accused Prime Minister Justin Trudeau of “attacking parents” for his stance on the issue.

The two national leaders were sparring over Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s recent announcements concerning transgenderism policies in her province.

Other claims made by Kaufmann include:

  • Canadian opinion on cancel culture, critical race/history, and transgender issues is almost identical to that in Britain and the United States;

  • Canadians are less likely to call their country racist than are Americans or Britons;

  • Canadians oppose the idea of separating students in schools by race into privileged and oppressed by 92 to eight;

  • by 70 to 30, people prefer a colour-blind rather than colour-conscious approach to issues in society;

  • Canadians oppose removing statues of Prime Minister John A. Macdonald by a two to one ratio;

  • by a two to one margin, people said we talk too much about race in Canada;

  • respondents, by a two to one ratio, want parents informed when children under age 16 change pronouns at school;

  • respondents, by a two to one ratio, do not want transgender women to enter women’s sports competitions;

  • more Canadians disapprove than approve of people displaying their preferred pronouns; and

  • Canadians are three times more trusting of journalists than are Britons and over 50 per cent more trusting of them than are Americans.

In a survey conducted in the same month and year as Maru Voice Canada’s, a majority of respondents said they found the culture wars to be “exhausting” and “divisive.”

That research, from the Angus Reid Institute, claimed that Canadians are “generally supportive” of the concepts of “safe spaces” and “trigger warnings.”

It also found a deep divide on the question of “cancellation” (i.e., getting someone fired or removed from a platform because of something they have said or done).

Just over half (52 per cent) of the respondents to the Angus Reid poll said cancellations are suppressing free speech, while 48 per cent said such outcomes “ensure people are held accountable.”

To read Kaufmann’s full report, titled “The politics of the culture wars in contemporary Canada," click here.



Send your comments, news tips, typos, letter to the editor, photos and videos to [email protected].




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