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Most Canadian voters ready to embrace diversity, study finds

Jenni Sheppard Jun 27, 2017 2:07 am 249

Canadian voters are ready to embrace diversity in choosing future prime ministers, according to a new poll by Angus Reid.

The poll, conducted online from May 24 to 28, asked 1,533 Canadians about parties led by people from different ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual backgrounds.

In all cases, most respondents said they could back a party led by such a candidate, with 94% saying they could support a black leader.

The idea of a party led by an Indigenous leader garnered the support of 85% of respondents.

In terms of sexuality, 85% said they could support a party led by a gay man and 84% said they could back a party led by a lesbian woman.

Meanwhile in religion, some 86% said they could back a Jewish leader, while an evangelical Christian garnered the support of 65% of respondents.

As well, 63% said they could back a party led by a Sikh, while 58% said they could support a Muslim leader. Some 80% said they could support a party led by an atheist.

In terms of gender, 69% of respondents said they could back a party led by a transgender leader. Whether that leader identifies as male or female was not specified.

Overall, the group receiving the most support from respondents is women, with some 96% saying they could vote for a party with a female leader.

American views slightly different

It’s worth noting that Canada has already had a female prime minister, Kim Campbell, who was elected leader of the governing Progressive Conservatives in 1993.

Not so in the United States of course, where Hillary Clinton missed out on becoming the country’s first female president last year.

Angus Reid also polled 1,533 Americans for their thoughts on presidential candidates from different ethnic, religious, gender, and sexual backgrounds.

Despite what recent election results would seem to show, 90% of American respondents said they could indeed back a female presidential candidate.

As well, most Americans were supportive of a Native American presidential candidate (89%), or a Jewish presidential candidate (83%).

Given the current political climate in the States, it might come as a surprise to learn that 81% of respondents said they could back a Hispanic presidential candidate.

However, it won’t come as any surprise to political watchers that the group with the least support from Americans is Muslims, with only 47% backing such a presidential candidate.

Americans were also far less likely than Canadians to back a leader who is transgender (50%), atheist (52%), a lesbian woman (62%), or a gay man (63%).

What does the future hold?

Let’s head back to the True North Strong and Free. What does the future hold here in Canada, according to respondents?

Unsurprisingly, since this wouldn’t be the first time, some 88% believe a female prime minister is probable or definite in the next 25 years.

Meanwhile, 78% of Canadian respondents said there would definitely or probably be a black prime minister sometime in the next 25 years.

As well, 71% said a gay man would definitely or probably become Canadian prime minister at some point in the next 25 years.

And 67% said a lesbian woman would definitely or probably become Canadian prime minister at some point in the next 25 years.

Interestingly, only 37% of respondents said there will probably or definitely be a Sikh prime minister in the next 25 years.

This contrasts with the fact there are four Sikh members of Justin Trudeau’s cabinet – Harjit Sajjan, Navdeep Bains, Bardish Chagger and Amarjeet Sohi.

Overall though, while Canada and the US may have a long way to go to call their leaders truly diverse, if this latest poll is to be believed, they are mostly ready to make that happen.

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Jenni Sheppard
Jenni is a former Senior Staff Writer at Daily Hive. Happy Vancouverite. Traveller, snowboarder, foodie, film fan, feminist, geek, cheesemaker, curler.

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