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(12/03/09) -

Canadians Reject Sending More Soldiers to Afghanistan

Support for the military operation has increased since October, but a majority of Canadians are still opposed to the mission.

Support for the military operation has increased since October, but a majority of Canadians are still opposed to the mission.

As the U.S. and Britain get ready to send more troops to Afghanistan, two-thirds of Canadians believe that their own country’s military commitment should not be altered, a new Angus Reid Public Opinion poll has found.

In the online survey of a representative national sample of 1,006 Canadian adults, 66 per cent of respondents express opposition to Canada committing more soldiers to the war in Afghanistan, while only 28 per cent would consent to this idea.

The Mission

This month, 42 per cent of respondents (up five points since October) say they support the military operation involving Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan, while 53 per cent are opposed (down three points).

Support for the military mission is highest in Alberta (66%) and lowest in Quebec (32%).

Canadians are evenly divided on whether the country was right to send military forces to Afghanistan, with 40 per cent believing this was the correct decision, and 40 per cent claiming this was a mistake. Overall, three-in-five Canadians (61%) say they have a clear idea of what the war in Afghanistan is about.

When The War is Over

When asked about what they think will be the most likely outcome of the war in Afghanistan, seven per cent of Canadians expect a clear victory by U.S. and NATO forces over the Taliban, and 32 per cent foresee a negotiated settlement from a position of U.S. and NATO strength that gives the Taliban a small role in the Afghan government.

In addition, 16 per cent of respondents believe the Taliban will play a significant role in Afghanistan after the war is over, and a further 16 per cent believe U.S. and NATO forces will ultimately be defeated by the Taliban.

Obama’s Plan

Canadians are skeptical about the plan for Afghanistan outlined by U.S. President Barack Obama. Just over a third of respondents (37%) are very or moderately confident that the Obama Administration will be able “finish the job” in Afghanistan, while a majority (54%) are not too confident or not confident at all.


While Canada was not mentioned as a possible source of additional soldiers, the population flatly rejects the possibility of an increase in the number of Canadian troops in Afghanistan. Following a month filled with intense discussions about Canada’s role, support for the mission actually increased by five points.

At this stage, Canadians are not entirely satisfied with the situation in Afghanistan, but would definitely be against any attempts to change course in the next two years. It is important to note that, despite his popularity in Canada, Obama’s plan for Afghanistan is not regarded as an ideal solution to the conflict.

Full Report, Detailed Tables and Methodology (PDF)


Jodi Shanoff, Vice President, Public Affairs
+416 712 5498