Canadians Prefer Freedoms To Security In Face Of Terrorism

Posted on Thursday, October 27 at 11:41 by Ed Deak
The wide-ranging poll, conducted in the latter half of September, also found that Canadians' top three priorities are the environment, health care and maintaining a balanced budget. Closer ties with the United States was at the bottom of the list of 12 options. Only 31 per cent of those surveyed listed it as a top priority, down six percentage points from last year, and 11 percentage points from 2003. Pollster Donna Dasko said the dramatic drop in interest in better relations with the United States stems mostly from Canadian opposition to the U.S-led war on Iraq and unhappiness over its fallout, as well as discontent with President George W. Bush and his foreign policies. "Canadians just don't like him," Ms. Dasko, vice-president of Environics Research, said yesterday. The survey was released yesterday as the Martin government was hosting the first visit to Canada by Condoleezza Rice, Mr. Bush's secretary of state. The survey was conducted for the Centre for Research and Information on Canada, the research arm of the independent and non-partisan Canadian Unity Council. The poll of 3,201 people, conducted by CROP in Quebec and Environics outside Quebec, is the organization's ninth annual survey on Canadian attitudes, known as Portraits of Canada. The results are considered to be accurate within 1.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. The survey also said significant majorities of Canadians said they feel medicare (85 per cent), two official languages (73 per cent), peacekeeping (69 per cent) and the CBC (60 per cent) are essential characteristics of the country, and their disappearance would fundamentally alter Canada's nature. However, less than half -- 43 per cent -- said they believed cutting ties with the monarchy would result in a fundamental change in the nature of the country. Among the survey's other findings; - A majority of Canadians -- 63 per cent -- said no religious community should be allowed to use faith-based arbitration to settle family disputes. - More than eight of 10 Canadians -- 82 per cent -- say most politicians do not tell the truth or keep their promises, an increase of nine percentage points since 2002. - Sixty-two per cent of Canadians said minority governments are preferable because they force the government to negotiate with other political parties. - A total of 78 per cent of respondents listed the environment as their No. 1 priority. This was followed by 74 per cent who listed health care, and 73 per cent who singled out a balanced budget. - A majority of Canadians -- 54 per cent -- said they would rather preserve their civil liberties in the fight against terrorism, even if it means accepting a lower level of public security. - A majority of Canadians -- 66 per cent -- said non-citizens who promote terrorist activity should be deported from Canada even if they might face mistreatment where they land. The Ottawa Citizen 2005


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