The Governance Monitor: Trust, Governance, and Governing after Election 2021 - Institute on Governance

The Governance Monitor: Trust, Governance, and Governing after Election 2021


Toby Fyfe

Trust in democracy and its institutions is in decline. Understanding what is impacting this trust – both positively and negatively is essential for any government wanting to lead the country after the federal election.

Advanced Symbolics, Inc. and the Institute on Governance have developed a unique Governance Monitor that will examine the changing state of Canadians’ trust in our public institutions during the election campaign. The Governance Monitor will use Artificial Intelligence to observe Canadians’ engagement and sentiments on the components of trust and good governance via the social media posts of approximately 300,000 Canadians. It will assess the impact of the election campaign on Canadians’ faith and trust in the institutions of government, how it is changing day-to-day, and learn how worried Canadians are about the ability of the government to reliably give them the services they want and need.

Elections matter – they are the most fundamental expression of our democracy. And it is noteworthy that the Prime Minister has been criticized for calling one as Canadians face a 4th wave of the COVID-19 pandemic. Politics aside, it can be noted that at least 110 countries and territories have gone ahead with national elections or referendums during the pandemic, according to the International Idea Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance. (In Canada, that list would include Newfoundland & Labrador, New Brunswick, Saskatchewan, British Columbia and Nova Scotia).

But perhaps more important to the future of democracy and its institutions, the Institute also reports that “79 countries and territories across the globe have decided to postpone national and subnational elections due to COVID-19”. In other words, citizens in these countries no longer have the chance to comment on their governments’ response to the pandemic or to give them a mandate for the future.

Speaking of the future, this election can be considered a pivotal moment. Canadians are anxious to re-emerge from social and economic lockdowns and to return to a normal life, yet the path forward remains uncertain. The direction Canada takes as the pandemic comes under control will depend on Canadians’ views not only on the political parties and their platforms, but on what they perceive as the role of government: do they trust a new government to deliver on its mandate?

Governance Monitor election updates of trust in government will be available on IOG’s website and social-media channels. Rich, exclusive content will also be available to TVO and iPolitics audiences at the top of the day.

Canada faces large and complex challenges such as climate change and building a strong economy in a post-pandemic Canada. A new government – and Canadians – need to know whether the country trusts its public institutions to get the job done.

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