The Poll Archive RSS

arp_people1
(07/20/07) -

Human Rights Trump Free Trade for Canadians

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Canada believe human rights should play a role in bilateral commerce negotiations, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 73 per cent of respondents think their federal government should not seek free trade agreements with developing countries that have dubious human rights records.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in Canada believe human rights should play a role in bilateral commerce negotiations, according to a poll by Angus Reid Strategies. 73 per cent of respondents think their federal government should not seek free trade agreements with developing countries that have dubious human rights records.

In addition, 70 per cent of respondents think Canada has a responsibility to help poorer nations, while 67 per cent would prefer to concentrate more on national problems and building up strength and prosperity at home.

Canadians renewed the House of Commons in January 2006. The Conservative party—led by Stephen Harper—received 36.3 per cent of the vote, and secured 124 seats in the 308-member lower house. Harper leads a minority administration after more than 12 years of government by the Liberal party.

On Jul. 16, Harper justified his decision to enter a free trade agreement with Colombia, saying, “When we see a country like Colombia that has decided it has to address its social, political and economic problems, it wants to embrace economic freedom, it wants to embrace political democracy and human rights and social development, then we say ‘We’re in.’ We’re there to encourage you and help you. We’re not going to say, ‘Fix all your social, political and human rights problems, and only then will we engage in trade relations with you.’ That’s a ridiculous position.”

In other topics, only 38 per cent of respondents think Canada should never intervene in another country’s internal affairs, even as part of an international coalition mandated by the United Nations (UN) or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), and just 26 per cent want Canada to take into account the views of the United States when deciding its foreign policy.

Respondents were asked to rate the current government’s performance in dealing with six global issues. Humanitarian aid for the developing world garnered the highest marks at 47 per cent, followed by the war in Afghanistan with 39 per cent, Canada’s Arctic sovereignty with 30 per cent, and peace in the Middle East with 29 per cent. Only 19 per cent of respondents express satisfaction with the federal administration’s efforts to deal with global warming.

On Jul. 18, Liberal party leader Stéphane Dion called on Harper to restore official assistance funding to the Palestinian Authority, declaring, “Under this prime minister’s watch, the Canadian government has been unconscionably slow to resume aid. (…) He has failed to take any action to resume the flow of this much-needed aid.”

Polling Data

Do you agree or disagree with each of the following statements?

Agree

Disagree

Not sure

Canada should not seek free trade
agreements with developing countries
that have dubious human rights records

73%

21%

5%

Since Canada is a rich country, it has a
responsibility to help poorer nations

70%

27%

3%

Canada should not think so much in
international terms but concentrate more
on its national problems and building up
strength and prosperity at home

67%

31%

3%

Canada should never intervene in
another country’s internal affairs, even
as part of an international coalition
mandated by the UN or NATO

38%

55%

7%

In deciding on its foreign policies,
Canada should take into account the
views of the United States

26%

70%

4%

Here is a list of global issues. In your view, has the current federal government done a good job or a bad job in dealing with each one of these global issues?

Good job

Bad job

Not sure

Humanitarian aid for the developing world

47%

30%

23%

The war in Afghanistan

39%

46%

15%

The global fight against terrorism

36%

37%

26%

Canada’s Arctic sovereignty

30%

27%

43%

Peace in the Middle East

29%

43%

28%

Global warming

19%

61%

19%

Source: Angus Reid Strategies
Methodology: Online interviews with 1,006 Canadian adults, conducted on Jul. 16 and Jul. 17, 2007. Margin of error is 3.1 per cent.

Other poll highlights: 70 per cent of respondents think Canada should strengthen its diplomatic and commercial ties with the European Union (EU), followed by Latin America and the Caribbean with 45 per cent, China with 43 per cent, the United States with 40 per cent, Africa with 31 per cent, and Russia with 29 per cent.

Also, 22 per cent pick governor-general Micha«lle Jean as Canada’s best ambassador to the world, followed by former UN ambassador Stephen Lewis with 17 per cent, current prime minister Stephen Harper with 16 per cent, UN high commissioner for human rights Louis Arbour with 14 per cent, foreign affairs minister Peter MacKay with three per cent, and chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) Dick Pound with two per cent.

Complete Poll (PDF)