Changing values, demographics and economics are reshaping Canada

When Canadian research centre EKOS polled Canadians on their most important goals and values, they found that the top results had been persistent for the last 12 years. Freedom, integrity, ethics and a healthy population have remained most important for Canada since 1998, while respect for authority, traditional family values and minimal government intrusions dropped in popularity and have settled at the bottom of the list.

Changing values and demographics in Canada were the topics of discussion at the INK+BEYOND closing keynote presentation given by EKOS president Frank Graves.

Taking a longer-term perspective and economic context, Graves presented delegates with some of his company’s findings to help demonstrate the future and direction of the print industry.

According to Graves, there are four crucial shifts that have influenced the state of news and journalism: how our outlook on the economy has shifted from the 90’s to today, gerontocracy and generational tensions, mainstream and new media and the dramatic shifts and, lastly, a polarizing right shift.

“We’re infinitely debating the death of radio and television and all of these other things seems premature,” said Graves. “It is true that things change. Things change dramatically and sometimes things change in ways that they’ll be unrecognizable and sometimes they’ll evolve into something fresher and better.”

Findings presented varied from newspapers to government and even sociological trends.

One study showed that readership of political and governmental affairs was higher in 1995 compared to 2013; however, the frequency of this type of readership has been consistent with the 65+ age group.

Another poll revealed that government trust has steadily declined in both Canada and the United States with infrequent spikes in confidence. Government trust in Canada was at its height in 1968 at just under 60 per cent and now rests at approximately 28 percent. As for the United States, 1964 saw its peak at approximately 76 percent and currently rests at around 26 percent.

In his closing remarks, Graves stated that our current challenge lies in reshaping Canadians’ thoughts.

“None of this is going to be solved unless we recapture that notion that there is a belief in progress,” explained Graves, “that actively includes the successions to Next Canada, something that is sadly lacking right now.”