Canadians are suffering from political correctness fatigue, suggests a new poll.
The same aversion to inoffensiveness largely credited with the rise of Donald Trump in the United States is alive and well in Canada, the survey by the Angus Reid Institute found.
In fact, Canadians are even more exhausted by the ever-present risk of offending than our southern neighbours, the pollsters found.
But north of the 49th, that burnout cuts across the political spectrum and all ages, says Shachi Kurl, executive director of the institute.
“In Canada, that feeling that people are too easily offended these days by the language that others use is something that actually cuts across the entire political spectrum, left to right,” Kurl tells Yahoo Canada News.
A similar poll by Pew Research in the United States – prior to the current presidential race - found 59 per cent felt that way.
There are many factors at play in Trump’s success, Kurl says.
But “clearly he has tapped into a sense of frustration and that frustration certainly may be manifested in a fatigue around political correctness or having to watch what you say or having to be inclusive or mindful or hurting others or offending.”
There are also bigger issues at play, such as economic mobility and hope for the future.
In the U.S., Independent and Republican voters were more likely to feel that frustration that Democrats, Kurl says.
But in Canada the sentiment cut across party lines.
Seventy-nine per cent of Conservatives polled, 60 per cent of Liberals and 62 per cent of New Democrats said they felt people are too easily offended.
The poll found 76 per cent of Canadians felt that political correctness has gone too far.
And yet 72 per cent admitted they hold their tongues, at least sometimes. Almost one in five do it regularly.
And most don’t do it out of fear of being judged. Eighty-seven per cent said they do it to be polite.
“This is such a typically Canadian response,” Kurl says. “On one hand, Canadians say they feel political correctness has gone too far…. On the other hand, four-fifths of Canadians say they do self-censor and watch what they say, or hold their tongue, and they do it because they want to be polite, as opposed to being judged for speaking out.”
Yet Canadians tend to curb their conversation not out of fear of reprisal, but politesse, she says.
“We feel a sense of constraint as Canadians around being politically correct and at the same time, those are shackles, in some ways, that we’re actually putting on ourselves.”