Lawrence who?

Poll finds Canada's agri-food minister has 
low recognition among voters

A recent poll found that only half of Canadians could recognize Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay, and scarcely a quarter of them felt he was doing a good job.

An Angus Reid public opinion poll about the performance of the Trudeau cabinet shows only half of Canadians could recognize Agriculture Minister Lawrence MacAulay and not quite a quarter of those who could, think he’s doing a good job.

He’s included in a group Angus Reid called the ‘middle ministers,’ many of whom are relatively new to federal politics, compared to MacAulay who was first elected in 1988 and held several cabinet portfolios in the Chretien government. MacAulay ranked in the bottom half of this group.

Twenty-four per cent said he was doing a good job, 20 per cent gave him a bad job rating while 56 per cent offered a mixed review. His overall performance score was plus 4, down from plus 6 for 2017.

Every cabinet minister but Finance Minister Bill Morneau saw their performance score drop in 2018.

The cabinet stars are Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and Transport Minister Marc Garneau. With 49 per cent of Canadians saying she has done a good job this year, Freeland’s performance score is plus 20, the highest for any cabinet minister.

Other cabinet ministers of interest to the agri-food sector didn’t fare well. Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr, only a few months into this portfolio, had almost the same awareness level and approval and disapproval rating as MacAulay.

Among ministers of other departments of special interest to agri-food, Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains received more awareness than MacAulay but a much worse minus 20 performance score. Health Minister Ginette Petitpas-Taylor’s ranking was slightly better. Environment Minister Catherine McKenna is much better known but only Garneau and Freeland recorded better performance ratings.

Finance Minister Bill Morneau is the most recognized member of the Trudeau cabinet but only 23 per cent say he is doing a good job while 43 per cent think he isn’t.

Garneau, and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale, who was one of Jean Chretien’s agriculture ministers, are the two other cabinet members whose awareness is above 62 per cent and who received a net positive score from Canadians.

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