(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – People in Canada are divided on their assessment of their country’s finances, according to a poll by Angus Reid Public Opinion. 48 per cent of respondents rate the economic conditions in Canada as "good" or very good", while 45 per cent deem them "bad" or "very bad."

Canadians renewed the House of Commons in October 2008. The Conservative party—led by Stephen Harper—received 37.6 per cent of the vote, and secured 143 seats in the 308-member lower house. Harper assembled a minority administration. The Tories also earned a minority mandate after the 2006 election, ending more than 12 years of government by the Liberal party.

Since 2007, defaults on so-called subprime mortgages—credit given to high-risk borrowers—in the United States caused volatility in domestic and global financial markets and ultimately pushed the U.S. economy into a recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The crisis has affected the global financial and credit systems.

In January 2009, Canadian finance minister Jim Flaherty presented the federal budget, which predicts a $70 billion U.S. budget deficit over the next five years, and includes a $33 billion U.S. economic stimulus package, as well as tax relief aimed at the lower and middle class.

Canada’s unemployment rate stood at 8.5 per cent in December 2009.

On Jan. 15, Flaherty discussed the current state of affairs, saying, "The IMF [International Monetary Fund] and others think we will have reasonable growth, the best economic growth in the G-7, in the next several years. (…) I see speculation. I don’t see a lot of evidence. I see editorial comment without numbers, without analysis. I don’t get to speculate. I get to deal with budget-making."

Polling Data

How would you rate the economic conditions in Canada today?

 

Jan. 17

Oct. 21

Sept. 1

Jul. 22

Very Good

1%

2%

1%

1%

Good

47%

47%

46%

42%

Poor

39%

40%

44%

47%

Very Poor

6%

7%

5%

7%

Source: Angus Reid Public Opinion
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,001 Canadian adults, conducted from Jan. 15 to Jan. 17, 2010. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)