For the Canadian conservatives, the rise of Trump in the United States has brought a bitter flavor. Canadian liberal parties are swift to paint conservatives as people like Trump, favoring companies over the common Canadian. This is far away, as Andrew Scheer, the Conservative leader, pointed out, from the notion of populism even a few years ago, when the word meant fighting for the common people and against powerful business entities like corporations and banks. No wonder the Conservatives are trying to come up with new ways before trying to form the next government.
Populism in Canada has a distinctly Canadian flavor. Polls conducted by The Canadian Press and Ekos Research have suggested that it is not the anti-trade or anti-immigrant nature of its southern neighbor, the United States of America. Instead, it concerns the depleting Canadian middle class who are afraid of their future, specifically of the world their children will grow up in. The middle-class Canadians believe that things are only getting worse. Jagmeet Singh, the leader of the NDP said that there exists two Canadas: the wealthy and well-connected Canadians and the rest of the population. The former, he surmises, votes for the Liberals or Conservatives. The remaining is the target voting bloc for the NDP.
Singh admits that he got his ideas from Bernie Sanders, the once presidential candidate in the 2016 US presidential elections. The Canadian leader has repeatedly described himself as trying to do what Sanders did. The NDP, like Sanders, is trying to attract young voters. The statistics say it all. The 2015 election witnessed the young voter turnout to be 57.1 percent, a jump of 18 percent from the previous election. A study done by Abacus, a polling firm, discovered that 43 percent of the voters who went for NDP in 2011 switched allegiance to Liberals in 2015.
No confidence in politicians
Singh, during a number of town hall meetings, soon found out the reason for the decline: people asked him a number of questions as to why politicians do not pay heed to voter problems except during election time and why even if the politician listens, replies or respond with a clear partisan outlook. This does not mean there is no counter populist effort. Efforts are being made to include issues concerning North American Free Trade Agreement with a number of partners like the US and also with China.