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Can the government regain the goodwill it had during the pandemic? Maybe by making things

An interesting thing happened during the pandemic. Several Canadians felt that their government had a positive impact on people's lives.

It didn't last long. But perhaps the government should now think hard about how it can generate such good feelings, even outside the moment of a serious crisis.

In March 2020, just as the pandemic began to affect Canada's lives, the Institute for Environmental Studies asked Canadians "How the government affects the lives of most people." I asked. 30% of survey respondents said the government had a positive impact, and 40% said they had a negative impact. Environics discovered a similar split when asking that question in January and October 2019.

By August 2020, there were modest but interesting changes. Currently, 36% say positive and 34% say negative. 

The 36-34 division lasted from the winter of 2020 to February 2021. However, as the threat of COVID-19 receded, so did the positive mood. When Environics asked a question in early 2022, public opinion was back to what it was before the virus had settled. 30% said the government had a positive impact and 41% said it had a negative impact. 

The story below the number of votes can be complicated. Given voting intent and political ideology, that negative sentiment is conservative or liberal with conservative voters who tend to reduce government support. It seems to capture both NDP voters who want a good government. Do more. Those who voted for a party that is currently in power in either the state or the federal government also seem to feel better about what the government is doing.

More Canadianssay they prefer "big government with more services" to "big government with less services"How public opinion has changed or deteriorated in the long run. The current positive and negative splits are pretty much what the Environmentals Institute found when asking the same question in 2002. This may suggest that the current level of dissatisfaction is simply the default, not necessarily a sign of a collapsing faith.

But still not ideal. And if the current goal is to strengthen the democracy system and build trust, its negative sentiment is hoping that liberal democracy will prosper, as well as progressives who believe in a positive government. It looks like a remarkable area for those who are new.

Would you like to feel better about the government?

The Environics Institute's findings make sense given how most people probably experience government. You don't notice when it works, but you really notice when it doesn't. Much of what a good government guarantees: paved roads, clean drinking water, clean air, reduced corruption – now a baseline expectation. And if you need to be in line for hours to renew yourpassportorfly, it's easy Cover cheap public transportation It took you to get there, or a check for a Canadian children's allowance that arrived a week ago.

That negative sentiment is also consistent with how the government is generally reported by the media. Bill Fox, a former Toronto Star Ottawa bureau chief and former Brian Mulroney Communications Director, said in his bookTrump, Trudeau, Tweets, Trudeau: Wrong, what isn't working, who didn't receive the check, which employer isn't eligible for a pandemic remedy "

The government's pandemic policy may have saved countless lives, but people were lined up at Montreal's passport office, but this week may have a hard time remembering the success of the pandemic. Faced with a downturn. (Ryan Remiorz / Canadian Press)

Fox borrows Thomas Patterson's belief that newshas a negative biasBut Fox, who appeared in the Herle Burly podcastearlier this year, linked that trend with current concerns about public confidence in liberal democracy and its institutions. 

"We are [strengthening] the idea that the government hasn't really done much, but it doesn't do any good," Fox said. "And that's certainly a problem for Western liberal democracy."

Journalists emphasize that it's not working is an important part of asking the government to explain, and in doing so It may be fair to say that it encourages the government to take better action. But it's no wonder Fox also suggests that the irony about government can be a corrosive force that slowly undermines liberal democracy. Journalists may unknowingly ask themselves if they are contributing to it. 

But the biggest problem is the government itself. 

The government needs to indicate and convey

. If public opinion about the impact of government actions improved during the pandemic, it is likely that the actions were so specific and immediate. Support programs were implemented promptly, health restrictions were enforced, vaccines were procured and distributed. 

The Canadian government is probably more successful than they are credited with. It's not entirely fortunate that Canadians enjoy a relatively high quality of life on average. However, it is not always clear that the government has achieved much, or what it should be.

When the Justin Trudeau administration first tried to apply a business philosophy known as "delivery science" to its agenda, the Prime Minister said about, not just input, but government action. I focused on the results of. 76} But no matter what delivery was meaningful to the government's internal processes, it did not place much emphasis on what was achieved.

Liberals like to point out that the Canada Child Benefithas led to a significant reduction in child povertyand in 2015 If not over-promised, they may have a little better talk about the number ofboiling water recommendations that have been lifted in the indigenous community in the last seven years. not. However, liberals are plagued by claims that they are more talkative than action and struggle to respond to those accusations.

Trudeau stands near "vaccinated". He signed at the Ottawa Vaccination Clinic last September. (Blair Gable / Reuters)

But no matter what the Liberal government has done in the last seven years, there's still a lot to do now. Clean energy needs to be developed and deployed, public transport expanded, and many homes – homes – built. It's a mistake to pine the days when Sir John A. McDonald was building the Canadian Pacific Railway — CPRisin Sterling's example. NoHow to get things done— Build "" In the discussion of "Liberalism" There are merits. For those who want to demonstrate that liberal democracy works, not just for progressives. 

As much as the pandemic showed that the government could move at speed and scale, COVID-19 also found weaknesses likecare124} AndPreparation and capacity limitsPandemics are also responsible for problems such as inflation and the passport office and airport scenes. Public policy may have saved millions of lives, but Canadians could be forgiven if they questioned the effectiveness of the government and left the pandemic.

It is unlikely that the majority of Canadians will be completely satisfied with the government. But the next few years will be a particularly good time to show that governments can have a positive impact on people's lives.