Political Traction: Obama doesn’t go far enough on guns

Jaime Watt takes a weekly look at how issues making waves in Ottawa resonate with Canadians on CBC's Power & Politics. This week: Obama's gun-control measures and First Nations protests.
Jaime Watt looks at what issues Canadians are talking about this week, including the conflict in Mali, the Idle No More movement, and U.S. President Barack Obama's gun control proposal. 10:57

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.

This week, U.S. President Barack Obama's gun control proposals, which he introduced last week, sparked Canada's attention.

But both Ottawa pundits and Canadians agree that Obama's measures didn't go far enough, according to Watt.

"It's where the divide between Americans and Canadians is very profound. We just don't get ... what's going on down there."

Obama announced his plans to curb gun violence one month after the shooting in Newtown, Conn.

Obama's inaugural address on Monday emphasized the importance of gun law reforms.

"Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm," Obama said.

Watt added that the inauguration is grabbing hold of Canadians' attention in a very big way.

"It (the inauguration) has got more traction than any other conversation we've tracked since doing Political Traction," Watt said.

Obama's focus on gay rights in his inauguration address is one of the issues gaining the most traction among Canadians, Watt added.

First Nations tactics backfire

First Nations issues had the most traction last week in both Ottawa and the country as a whole, but the conversation was divided.

Ottawa focused on the internal politics within the Assembly of First Nations, while Canadians were more concerned with the Idle No More protests.

Watt said many Canadians don't support the blockades that were part of last week's Day of Action.

"Canadians are not on side for this kind of activity," said Watt. "I think that's why you'll see a very restrained response from the government, because I think they know where Canadians are sitting on this."

Canada's involvement in Mali was the third issue that gained traction across Canada. Here are the numbers: