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COVID-19 and Delayed Political Polarization in Canada

November 30, 12:30 pm2:00 pm PST

Speaker: Peter Loewen, Director, Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, University of Toronto

The COVID-19 pandemic has been associated with large degrees of deep partisan polarization. In the US case, partisanship rapidly became associated with differences in the willingness to practice social distancing, to wear a mask, and eventually to get vaccinated. It was also associated with different risk perceptions about COVID and different relationships between COVID concern and evaluation of incumbents. The Canadian case is different. Partisan differences in evaluations of COVID and behavioural responses to it were small through the first year of the pandemic, but then began to widen. Drawing on more than 100,000 survey interviews with Canadians, we explore why political polarization over COVID was delayed.

Peter Loewen is the director of the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy and a professor of political science at the University of Toronto. He is also the director of the Policy, Elections & Representation Lab (PEARL), associate director of the Schwartz Reisman Institute, a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and a fellow with the Public Policy Forum. For 2020-2022, he is a Distinguished Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Tel Aviv University.

Professsor Loewen received his B.A. from Mount Allison University and his PhD from l’Université de Montréal.

His work has been published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Nature Medicine, Nature Human Behaviour, American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, British Journal of Political Science, Political Research Quarterly, Transactions of the Royal Society B, and Journal of Economic Behavior and Organization, and other journals. He has edited four books and is a regular contributor to the media, including the New York Times, Washington Post, Globe & Mail, Toronto Star and National Post.

RSVP by November 29.

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Event contact: canada@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0531

Access Coordinator: Mr. Tomas Elias Lane, BA, canada@berkeley.edu, 510-642-0531

Webcast available November 30, 2022. Event will be webcast live.


November 30
12:30 pm – 2:00 pm PST
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223 Moses Hall


Canadian Studies Program
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