Trust in the government response to COVID-19 started high and, overall, has dwindled in Canada. While Canadians accepted the need for big travel restrictions at the start, mobile apps for contact tracing and other targeted responses have not been universally met with open arms. As Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy professor Peter Loewen explains, this lack of trust could impact the way a vaccine is rolled out in Canada. With the pandemic growing, will Canadians have faith government can respond to the full complexity of issues ahead?

Listen in with Peter Loewen

Peter Loewen is a Professor in the Department of Political Science and the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. He is also the Associate Director, Global Engagement at the Munk School, Director of PEARL, a Research Lead at the Schwartz Reisman Institute, a Senior Fellow at Massey College, and a Fellow with the Public Policy Forum. For 2020-2021, he is a Distinguished Visitor at the Institute for Advanced Study at Tel Aviv University.

Peter’s main research site is PEARL (Policy, Elections, and Representation Lab) at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy. This group is interested in four big questions: How do individuals make decisions about politics? How do politicians make policy and represent citizens? How is technology changing governance and politics? How is COVID-19 shaping political behaviour and citizen behaviour more broadly?

To answer these, they organize their research into four broad groups: Voting Behaviour and Public Opinion; Political Elites and Representation; Artificial Intelligence, Governance, and Democracy; and COVID-19 special research.

PEARL’s research is principally empirical, combining various forms of survey data with experiments (including field, lab, and survey experiments). They also use text-as-data, administrative records, and social media data.

PEARL lab research projects often involve partnerships. Current and past projects and partnerships include MEO, the Digital Democracy Project, the Canadian Election Study and Consortium on Electoral Democracy, Public Policy Forum, Clean Prosperity, the Commission on Leaders Debates, The Samara Centre for Democracy, the Privy Council Office of Canada, the Ministry for the Status of Women, and the Digital Public Square. Their website is here.

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