I just got a call from Ekos, the polling people, who were doing a random survey commissioned by the Government of Canada. Normally I am against polls because they often pose misleading questions to respondents, and during elections (or anytime these days) they encourage “horse race” political coverage in the media. But this morning, when they asked little ol’ me what I thought, I couldn’t resist. As it turns out, it was enlightening.
The questions were mostly about equalization payments: whether I agreed with them in principle (somewhat agree) and if I thought the federal government should place restrictions on their use by the provinces (strongly agree — I guess that makes me a federalist).
But the most interesting question, I thought, went something like this: Do you believe a good way to impact public policy is through the grassroots? I asked what they meant by grassroots, but their definition was more or less “Canadians like yourself.” This is the kind of misleading question that turns me off of polls. Is the Canadian Taxpayers Federation considered a grassroots organization? What about the Toronto Public Space Committee? To me, not being affiliated with government is not enough to constitute “grassroots.” I want to see proof of freedom from corporate interference as well. Hence, the TPSC would qualify under my definition, the CTF likely not (truthfully I’m not sure of its relationship with corporate Canada). In the end, I answered the cloudy question with a ‘5’ out of ‘7,’ with ‘7’ meaning strongly agree.