Federal Stimulus – Canadians Aren’t Feeling The Love

Last week, the Parliamentary Budget Officer, Kevin Page, released the results of a survey his office conducted with the receipants of the federal government’s Infrastructure Stimulus Fund.  The study found that “overall, respondents felt that the program was generally well administered and contributed positively to the general well-being of their community; however, the perceived impact on the unemployment rate in their community is mixed.”

Although a survey of different people, we conducted a survey in early November that asked Canadians whether the federal government’s stimulus plan was having an impact on the economy and on their personal finances.  The findings were quite striking.

  • Only 26% believed the stimulus plan made the economy overall better; 35% believed it had no effect.
  • 63% believed the stimulus plan no effect on their personal finances; 4% believed it made it better
  • Only 22% of respondents knew the correct amount of money ($60 billion) that was spent on the stimulus

The PBO’s report aligns with what we were seeing among the public – the stimulus plan wasn’t being felt.  Despite the extensive advertising campaign, a large majority of Canadians did not know how much was spent on the plan and most believed it wasn’t having a positive effect on the economy or their own finances.  It’s no surprise then that a plurality believed that the government should stop its focus on stimulating the economy and instead focus on reducing the deficit.

If it’s not making an difference, why keep doing it?  That’s what Canadians are thinking.