The Politics of the Culture War in Contemporary Canada

“Culture wars” refers to the contention between cultural socialism – prioritizing equal results and protection from emotional harm for minority groups – and both cultural liberalism and conservatism, which prioritize free speech, objective truth, due process, and national heritage. Media coverage of this phenomenon has exploded since 2015 across the West, including in Canada.

This report uses a national representative survey fielded by online market research firm Maru Voice Canada on September 18 to 20, 2023. It shows that Canadian attitudes to the kinds of contentious issues that feature in such stories lean about 2 to 1 against the cultural socialist position, and that Canadian opinion is astoundingly similar to that in the United States and Britain.

In addition, while many Canadians believe that French-Canadians have very different opinions on these issues, results show very little variation between Francophone and Anglophone respondents. 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.

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.

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    Date Published: February 23, 2024
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