Political Traction: Canada talks up Ontario's next premier

Jaime Watt takes a weekly look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians on CBC's Power & Politics. This week: Wynne earns support as Canada's first openly gay premier, while First Nations protest frustrate Canadians.
Jaime Watt charts the political stories Canadians are talking about: Ontario's incoming premier Kathleen Wynne, Barack Obama's inauguration and Idle No More protests 7:05

Jaime Watt joins CBC News Network's Power & Politics host Evan Solomon each week to look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians.

Political Traction with Navigator's Jamie Watt appears weekly on Power & Politics. (CBC)

Monitoring the House of Commons' question period, mainstream media and the conversation on social media, Watt and his team at Navigator Ltd. determine which issues gained the most attention in official Ottawa, and then measure how much traction those issues managed to find with Canadians outside the nation's capital.

The conversation so far this week suggests Kathleen Wynne is gaining the support of Canadians since becoming Ontario's next premier, Watt said.

Watt told Power & Politics that Canadians are responsive to Wynne being the first openly gay premier.

"(Her traction is) being driven in big part by the fact that she's a woman and that she's a gay woman."

Wynne serves as a role model and her historic achievement gives Ontario Liberals a chance to differentiate themselves from the party's past, Watt said.

On Monday, the Ontario Progressive Conservatives released an attack ad calling Wynne "another McGuinty Liberal." Watt said he's surprised the PC party released the ads, because he expected the opposition to focus entirely on whether Wynne has enough economic management experience.

But even though Wynne gained traction in Ottawa and across Canada, Watt said says other Liberal leadership races aren't gaining steam.

"Canadians are ignoring the Quebec race, they're yawning at the federal race and really the only one that they're paying any attention to is Wynne's win in Ontario."

First Nations protest tactics frustrate Canadians

Interest in First Nations issues dropped dramatically on the Traction radar, after being in the top spot for weeks.

Following World Day of Action protests on Monday, Watt said Canadians are frustrated and confused by the tactics associated with the Idle No More movement.

The movement needs to appeal to common aspirations of a strong and united Canada, Watt said.

Meanwhile, in the week following Barack Obama's inauguration, the U.S. President and his second-term mandate generated major traction in Canada. Watt pointed out that Canadians tune in to the discussion because they love the pomp and circumstance of American politics.