Two-in-five Quebecers believe political corruption in their province amounts to a systemic failing.

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A majority of residents of three Canadian provinces express concern about the level of corruption they perceive, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll conducted for Maclean’s has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,226 Canadian adults, 55 per cent of Canadians are worried about corruption in their province. The areas registering the highest level of concern are Quebec (68%), British Columbia (61%), and Ontario (56%).

Almost half of respondents in the Atlantic Provinces (46%) also worry about corruption, and about a third in Alberta (37%) and Manitoba and Saskatchewan (33%) feel the same way.

Ethical Politicians

Half of Canadians (49%) describe politicians in Quebec as “very unethical” or “moderately unethical”—ranking them as the worst in the country in this indicator. Politicians in Ontario are next on the list with 36 per cent, followed by politicians in British Columbian (29%) and politicians in Alberta (28%).

Quebec Corruption Scandal

One third of Canadians (32%) have been following recent media reports of political corruption or ethical violations in Quebec “very closely” or “moderately closely”. Quebecers are particularly aware of the situation (62%), along with about one-in-four Ontarians and Atlantic Canadians. Considerably fewer respondents in the Prairies and the Western Provinces are paying attention to these reports.

Compared to other news stories, the Quebec scandal is not widely watched. More people have been following the debate about the long gun registry (48%) and the war in Afghanistan (50%). Twenty-nine per cent of respondents have been watching stories about the new hockey season.

Two-in-five Canadians (40%) think Quebec politicians are less ethical than their counterparts in other provinces, while 30 per cent say the ethical standards of Quebec politicians are the same as in other areas.

Overall, 26 per cent of Canadians say political corruption in Quebec is a matter of “a few bad apples”. The same proportion of respondents (26%) say this is rather a systemic failure that must be addressed through changes in policy. A fifth of Canadians (22%) say political corruption in Quebec is part of a broader issue in society and cannot be fixed through policy alone.

In Quebec, 41 per cent of respondents side with the notion that corruption in the province is a systemic failure.

Only two per cent of Canadians and three per cent of Quebecers believe that political corruption in Quebec is not a problem.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)


Jaideep Mukerji, Vice President, Public Affairs
+514 409 0462

Methodology: From September 29 to September 30, 2010, Angus Reid Public Opinion conducted an online survey among 1,226 randomly selected Canadian adults who are Angus Reid Forum panelists. The margin of error—which measures sampling variability—is +/- 2.8%, 19 times out of 20. The results have been statistically weighted according to the most current education, age, gender and region Census data to ensure a sample representative of the entire adult population of Canada. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.