In Canada, ignorance may be bliss — at least when it comes to our political system.
Almost all of the decision-making within that system happens in private spaces — such as caucus or cabinet meetings — hidden from public scrutiny.
Yet, according to a 2012 online poll conducted by The Environics Institute, most Canadians take pride in our political system and feel it’s important to support it.
That poll was part of the AmericasBarometer project, a biennial survey of democracy and governance in the Americas.
It asked 1,501 Canadians to rate — on a scale of one to seven — how much should citizens support the political system, with seven being a lot and one being not at all.
Seventy percent responded with a five, six or seven. Sixty-five percent gave the same ratings when asked how proud they were of our political system.
In fact, Canadians were “among the most likely” in the hemisphere to express strong pride in their political system — a rating of six or seven.
Of course, there are a few caveats.
The number of respondents who expressed such strong pride declined 24 points between 2006 and 2012 — going from 63 to 39 percent.
The survey also found just 51 percent respect the political institutions of Canada.
And, while 70 percent were very satisfied or satisfied with how democracy works in this country, just 11 percent believe those who govern the country are interested in what citizens think.
To me, all of that suggests Canadians may believe the failings of our political system have less to do with it’s structure and more to do with the parties and personalities in it.
But I’ll have more to say about that in a future posting.