Is Populism on the Rise in Canada? The Samara Centre Releases New Report

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Happening Now Wednesday, May 15, 2019 View Count = 1645

Is Populism on the Rise in Canada? The Samara Centre Releases New Report

The word populism is on everyone’s lips. It’s blamed for bringing President Donald Trump to power and causing Brexit. Recent media and political commentary, including from senior leaders on the left and right, suggests that populism is growing in Canada too—even that it is transforming our politics.

Last week, the Samara Centre for Democracy released Don’t Blame “The People”: The Rise of Elite-led Populism in Canada, a report that uses comparative data to help answer the question: is populism on the rise in Canada?

Don't Blame "The People"

In the report, we find that Canadians, while dissatisfied with the way politics work, are not turning radically against institutions. Indeed, new data shows that populism in Canada may be more about what elites say than what regular people think. One finding showed that political leaders may be using the rhetoric of populism to advance their own interests, with an analysis of the written record of Parliament revealing that politicians are complaining much more about “elites” than ever.

Along with data from our 2019 Democracy 360, the report also includes recommendations on how we can evolve the conversation on populism in Canada, and challenge those leaders who use the language of populist outsiders to manipulate citizens.

This research has already begun to evolve and expand the conversation on populism. Check out some media highlights below:



  • Report co-authors Mike Morden and Kendall Anderson were interviewed on 27 CBC morning shows across Canada, from Cape Breton and Quebec City to Regina and Whitehorse
  • Mike also spoke with Global News Radio in Toronto, 1310 News in Ottawa, and 680 CJOB in Winnipeg, among other programs


Media Coverage


Read the report and tell us what you think!

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