Most Cana­di­ans don’t want to fol­low Trump’s path: Poll

The Recorder & Times (Brockville) - - NATIONAL NEWS - STEPHANIE LE­VITZ

OTTAWA — Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau heads to Wash­ing­ton Tues­day to fur­ther strengthen the ties be­tween Canada and the U.S. just as a new poll sug­gests Cana­di­ans don’t want this coun­try head­ing down the same path as its south­ern neigh­bour.

But the re­sults of the EkosCana­dian Press survey don’t nec­es­sar­ily mean Cana­di­ans’ points of view are com­pletely at odds with those who voted U.S. Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump into of­fice, said Ekos pres­i­dent Frank Graves.

Ekos and the Cana­dian Press sur­veyed 4,839 Cana­di­ans via tele­phone be­tween Sept. 15 and Oct. 1 as part of an on­go­ing ef­fort to un­der­stand whether the same driv­ers ex­ist in Canada as those be­hind pop­ulist move­ments sup­port­ing a more iso­la­tion­ist view­point around the world.

The re­sults sug­gest Canada favours a more open ap­proach — 60 per cent of those asked don’t want a “Canada First” for­eign pol­icy that mir­rors the “Amer­ica First” ral­ly­ing cry that put Trump in of­fice. Eighty per cent of those sur­veyed also dis­ap­prove of the way Trump is han­dling his job, and 52 per cent want to see Canada be­come less like the U.S.

“Canada is clearly piv­ot­ing open, you can make the case with some of the data on that,” said Graves.

“But if you look at more of the data, I’m not so sure. It’s not that clear.”

The data also sug­gests 22 per cent of those sur­veyed think Canada ought to be­come more iso­lated, a marked in­crease af­ter years of the num­ber re­main­ing rel­a­tively flat.

Also, among those sur­veyed 37 per cent think Canada’s im­mi­gra­tion pol­icy ad­mits too many vis­i­ble mi­nori­ties. Twenty-nine per cent said they’ve ex­pe­ri­enced an in­ci­dent of racism in the last month, and 33 per cent said they be­lieve racism is be­com­ing more com­mon.

Ekos con­ducted the survey be­tween Sept. 15 and Oct. 1, and the survey of the en­tire sam­ple has a mar­gin of er­ror of plus or mi­nus 1.4 per­cent­age points 19 times out of 20.

Dif­fer­ent sam­ple sizes were polled for each ques­tion to in­crease the num­ber of ques­tions re­searchers were able to ask.

Ekos has been track­ing at­ti­tudes to­wards vis­i­ble mi­nor­ity im­mi­gra­tion for 25 years be­cause it serves as a way to test lev­els of racial in­tol­er­ance in Canada, said Graves.

The ques­tion of whether it is too high was put to 1,154 peo­ple dur­ing the re­cent survey, and the mar­gin of er­ror for those find­ings was 2.9 per­cent­age points, 19 times out of 20.

Forty-two per cent be­lieve the right amount are be­ing let in and 15 per cent say too few.

Graves said the in­ci­dence of those be­liev­ing it’s too high peaked be­fore the last fed­eral elec­tion and seems to be on the de­cline. It’s still lower than it was in the 1990s, he said.

The survey also probed for peo­ple’s per­cep­tions of their eco­nomic fu­ture, and the re­sults sug­gest Cana­di­ans are pretty pes­simistic about the way things are go­ing, de­spite eco­nomic in­di­ca­tors to the con­trary.

That, cou­pled with the re­sponses on how open this coun­try ought to be, sug­gests the door can’t be closed on the ar­gu­ment that the same eco­nomic and so­cial frus­tra­tion that has fu­elled pop­ulism else­where doesn’t ex­ist here, Graves said.

“There’s clearly a sig­nif­i­cant por­tion of Canada that’s not go­ing to be con­vinced by the whole no­tion that an open wel­com­ing Canada is the right an­swer to the prob­lems that they see in their lives and the coun­try.”

What that might mean for Canada’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape re­mains to be seen. Sixty-four per cent of those who say Canada is let­ting in too many vis­i­ble mi­nori­ties iden­tify as Con­ser­va­tive sup­port­ers; 62 per cent of those who think the num­ber is just right are Lib­eral.

But Graves noted that stud­ies done in the U.S. be­fore and af­ter that elec­tion re­vealed that peo­ple who were ex­hibit­ing racial in­tol­er­ance and who voted for Trump said they would have voted Demo­crat if that party had put for­ward a more pro­gres­sive plat­form.

Main­tain­ing sup­port for im­mi­gra­tion ranks high on the Lib­er­als’ list of pri­or­i­ties; in the com­ing weeks, they’re poised to un­veil how many new­com­ers Canada will ad­mit in 2018.

The Lib­er­als are keen on im­mi­gra­tion to foster eco­nomic growth, but com­pli­cat­ing the is­sue is the on­go­ing ar­rival of asy­lum seek­ers at the bor­der prompt­ing crit­i­cism the govern­ment has lost con­trol of the sys­tem.

In Bri­tain, a survey af­ter the sur­pris­ing yes vote in a ref­er­en­dum on leav­ing the EU found that nearly 73 per cent of those who voted to leave were wor­ried about im­mi­gra­tion lev­els be­ing too high.

The Ekos survey found 41 per cent feel too many im­mi­grants are cur­rently be­ing let in over­all.


Prime Min­is­ter Justin Trudeau was on his way to Wash­ing­ton on Tues­day. A new poll sug­gests Cana­di­ans don’t want this coun­try head­ing down the same path as the U.S.

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