Growing Proportion of Canadians Have Unfavourable (60%, +11) View of Blockades

Nearly Two in Three (63%, +10) Now Support Police Intervention to End Blockades

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  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs
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Toronto, ON, Feb 25, 2020 — A growing proportion of Canadians are turning sour on the blockade of key transportation corridors in solidarity with the Wet’suwet’en Nation and support police intervention to end the blockades, according to a new Ipsos poll conducted on behalf of Global News.

Hereditary chiefs of the Wet'suwet'en Nation in British Columbia oppose the construction of the Coastal GasLink natural gas pipeline in British Columbia, despite the project being approved by the local band councils whose territory the pipeline passes through. Protests by Indigenous peoples and their supporters have blocked project construction in BC and have also spread to other regions of the country, including blocking main rail lines that move freight and passengers. On Monday the Ontario Provincial Police moved in to end the blockade near Belleville, Ontario, but new blockades are continuing to sprout. This poll was in field ahead of that intervention.

Compared to an Ipsos/Global News poll released last week, Canadians are turning increasingly unfavourable towards the blockades, and becoming more supportive of police intervention to end them. Moreover, those who were previously unsure about the situation appear to be siding against the protests and in support of intervention.  More specifically:

  • Six in ten (60%) are unfavourable (35% very/25% somewhat) towards the protests, up 11 points since last week, while 27% are favourable (11% very/17% somewhat), a decrease of 5 points. One in seven (13%) are unsure, down 7 points. Residents of Saskatchewan and Manitoba (71%) have the most unfavourable views, followed by those living in Alberta (63%), Quebec (60%), Atlantic Canada (59%) British Columbia (59%) and Ontario (57%).
  • Nearly two in three (63%) support (35% strongly/28% somewhat) intervention by police to end the blockade of key transportation corridors by indigenous protestors, an increase of 10 points since last week. One quarter (26%) oppose (13% strongly/13% somewhat) the intervention by police to end blockades, down 2 points. Roughly one in ten (11%) are unsure, down 8 points. Support for intervention by police to end the blockades is strongest in Alberta (76%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (72%), followed by Atlantic Canada (65%), British Columbia (63%), Quebec (62%) and Ontario (58%).

Four in ten (43%) Canadians approve (10% strongly/33% somewhat) of the performance of the Liberal government under the leadership of Justin Trudeau, which is 2 points lower than it was heading into Election Day last October – showing that any honeymoon period the Prime Minister might have had in the aftermath of his re-election has ended. Conversely, six in ten (57%) Canadians disapprove (33% strongly/24% somewhat) of the Trudeau government’s performance, up 2 points from October.

Regionally, Canadians are not aligned. Nearly half (49%) of Quebecers approve of the government’s performance under Justin Trudeau, while Canadians residing in British Columbia (47%), Ontario (44%) Atlantic Canada (43%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (36%) and Alberta (22%) are not as approving.  Approval is significantly higher among adults under the age of 35 (54%) than among those aged 35-54 (40%) or 55+ (36%).

Underscoring the difficulty of the situation for the Prime Minister, those who approve of the performance of the Trudeau government are split on their views of these protests and how to deal with them. Among those who approve of the government’s performance in general, 39% are favourable towards the protests and 48% are unfavourable towards them. However, over half (55%) of those who approve of the Trudeau government support police intervention while 34% oppose it, showing some division among the ranks of Trudeau supporters.

About the Study

These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between February 21 and 24, 2020, on behalf of on behalf of Global News. For this survey, a sample of 1300 Canadians aged 18+ was interviewed online. Quotas and weighting were employed to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the Canadian population according to census parameters. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadians aged 18+ been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

Darrell Bricker, PhD
CEO, Ipsos Global Public Affairs
+1 416 324-2001
[email protected]

About Ipsos

Ipsos is the world’s third largest market research company, present in 90 markets and employing more than 18,000 people.

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The author(s)
  • Darrell Bricker Global CEO, Public Affairs