Canadians want greater investment in public services for families

As Prime Minister Stephen Harper prepares to meet with Canada's first ministers this week to discuss the economic downturn and the next federal budget, a new Nanos Research poll suggests Canadians want a stimulus package that invests in public services at the top of the federal agenda.
Commissioned by the National Union of Public and General Employees (NUPGE), the poll asked Canadians about their attitudes on:

  • the government's handling of the economy,
  • running a deficit during the current economic crisis,
  • whether cutting government services will make the economic crisis better or worse, and
  • the importance that Canadians place on services like health care, social services, education, and justice in the current economic climate. 

"The numbers clearly show that Canadians are united behind the idea that we need a stimulus package that invests in the public services that people depend on, even if that means running a deficit," says NUPGE President James Clancy.

"We're also seeing a rather lukewarm response here to how the government is handling the current economic crisis. It's not all about tax cuts and bailouts in the minds of Canadians. It's about people, jobs, and protecting our social safety net during tough times."
When asked how important it is for the government to increase investment in public services like health care, education, social services and the justice system during an economic downturn, 70% of respondents ranked it important (25.3%) or very important (44.5%). Only 9% felt it was not important. In addition, a majority of Canadians said that cutting government services would make the economic downturn worse.
"The research indicates that regardless of ones political stripe, there was a significant body of opinion which supported the notion that we have to protect our social safety net during tough times," says pollster Nik Nanos.

Nanos said he feels the results underline that Canadians are ready for an economic stimulus package that should include support, not cuts, to government services.
Clancy says the Harper government should redouble its efforts to work with the provinces to deliver the kinds of public services Canadians have identified as important.
"As the federal government prepares what will be a very important budget, I think the message from Canadians right across the country is clear: they value the public sector and want to see those services and jobs protected and strengthened as we look ahead," he says.
The research was conducted as part of a Nanos national random telephone omnibus survey. A total of 1,003 adults were surveyed from Jan. 3-7. The poll is considered accurate to within plus/minus 3.1%, 19 times out of 20. Full poll results and tabulations can be seen at or