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Settling First Nations claims, lawmaker independence and screening of immigrants are the most popular policy proposals.

Vancouver, BC – With four months to go before the Conservative Party chooses its new leader, only four of the 14 contenders for the job are recognized by Canadians, a new nationwide Insights West poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative sample of Canadians, more than half do not know enough about 10 of the Tory leadership contenders. Only four of them—Lisa Raitt, Kevin O’Leary, Kellie Leitch and Maxime Bernier—are actually familiar to a majority of Canadians.

Raitt has the best favourability score of all contenders, with +9 among all Canadians and +28 among those who voted for the Conservative Party in the 2015 federal election.

Bernier scores +6 and O’Leary +5 among all Canadians, but O’Leary is ahead of Bernier among Conservatives (+30 to +23). The situation is different for Leitch, who holds a negative rating among all Canadians (-6) and is well below the three other contenders among Tory supporters (+10).

Proposed Policies

Respondents to this survey were asked if they agreed or disagreed with 15 policy proposals that have been discussed by the candidates seeking the leadership of the Conservative Party. The survey did not reveal which candidate advocated each policy.

Only three policies were regarded positively by more than half of Canadians:

  • Chris Alexander’s proposal to settle all outstanding claims with First Nations (65%, and 55% among Conservatives)
  • Michael Chong’s plan to allow Members of Parliament to act more independently of party leaders (55%, and 62% among Conservatives)
  • Kellie Leitch’s idea of screening immigrants for “anti-Canadian” values (54%, and 79% among Conservatives)

Some ideas resonated better with Tory supporters than with Canadians, including:

  • Leitch’s opposition to a national tax on carbon emissions (45% among Canadians, 66% among Conservatives)
  • Steven Blaney’s plan to ban federal public servants from wearing the niqab (41% among Canadians, 67% among Conservatives)
  • Brad Trost’s pledge to keep recreational marijuana illegal (38% among Canadians, 59% among Conservatives)
  • Bernier’s proposal to reduce funding to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) (32% among Canadians, 55% among Conservatives)
  • Chong’s plan to reduce the power of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) (41% among Canadians, 49% among Conservatives)

Less than a third of Canadians and fewer than half of Conservatives were on board with seven other proposals:

  • Alexander’s plan to increase immigration to 400,000 new immigrants a year (31% among Canadians, 12% among Conservatives)
  • Revisiting the decision to allow same-sex marriage in Canada, which has been discussed by Trost and Pierre Lemieux (28% among Canadians, 39% among Conservatives)
  • Bernier’s plan to privatize Canada Post (28% among Canadians, 41% among Conservatives)
  • Placing limits on abortion, which has also been discussed by Trost and Lemieux (25% among Canadians, 37% among Conservatives)
  • Dismantling the CBC, as proposed by Leitch (23% among Canadians, 40% among Conservatives)
  • Rick Peterson’s pledge to eliminate corporate income taxes (18% among Canadians, 25% among Conservatives)
  • Bernier’s plan to end federal transfer payments to the provinces for health care (16% among Canadians, 15% among Conservatives)

Across the country, one-in-five Canadians (20%) expect the Conservative Party to form the government after the next federal election, while 26% believe the party will win again two elections from now. More than half of Conservative voters in 2015 (53%) are convinced that the Tories will govern again after the 2019 ballot.

About Insights West:

Insights West is a progressive, Western-based, full-service marketing research company. It exists to serve the market with insights-driven research solutions and interpretive analysis through leading-edge tools, normative databases, and senior-level expertise across a broad range of public and private sector organizations. Insights West is based in Vancouver and Calgary.

Most of our surveys are conducted through our Your Insights panel. The Your Insights panel is comprised of 30,000 Canadians who share their opinions on a variety of political, economic, social and other issues while earning the opportunity to get paid and win great prizes. If you’re interested in joining, please register at

About this Release:

Results are based on an online study conducted from January 12 to January 17, 2017, among a representative sample of 1,007 Canadian adults. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error—which measures sample variability—is +/- 3.1 percentage points. View the detailed data tabulations.

For further information, please contact:

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West


Photograph: Christopher Amrich