The Big Picture: What Canadians Think About Almost Everything


206 pages
Contains Photos, Illustrations, Maps
ISBN 0-921912-11-0
DDC 971.064'7





Reviewed by J.L. Granatstein

J.L. Granatstein is a professor of History at York University and author
of Pirouette: Pierre Trudeau and Canadian Foreign Policy.


Pollsters rule us these days. No government in this country will do
anything important without first pouring public moneys into the hands of
the Goldfarbs or the Daskos and asking that the people’s mood be
sounded. There is much that is useful in this, of course, if it provides
the government Canadians want; there is also a certain reluctance,
springing from this sampling obsession, to do what must be done.

What do Canadians think? The Big Picture presents a compilation of
survey data from the Decima Quarterly Reports, very large polls
conducted by Allan Gregg, one of the Conservative party’s leading
pollsters. And we are told a good deal about, for example, how the
public mistrusts unions; people’s attitudes to government’s role in
the economy; individuals’ satisfaction (or lack of satisfaction) with
their sex life; and the public’s views on the desirability of
immigration. This book assesses our social attitudes, not our political
preferences. The latter can change quickly, while the former are likely
to last somewhat longer. For that reason—and also because Gregg’s
polls go to government and business—there is much that is important
here. Read this book and see what government will do to and for you in
the next few years.


Gregg, Allan., “The Big Picture: What Canadians Think About Almost Everything,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed October 1, 2023,