Editorial Cartoon by Graeme MacKay, The Hamilton Spectator – Saturday February 19, 2022
Majority have lost faith in Canada’s ability to keep peace and order in wake of trucker protests: poll
After weeks of protests snarling downtown Ottawa and blockading border crossings, nearly two-thirds of Canadians have lost faith in the ability of the country to maintain peace, order and good government and 53 per cent have lost faith in the enforcement of the law, according to a new poll.
The Maru Public Opinion poll, done from Feb. 15 to Feb. 16, found that 71 per cent of Canadians would vote for a “strong-willed person” who will enforce law and order, regardless of what political party they’re from.
This view is strongest in Quebec (86 per cent) and in British Columbia (74 per cent). In Ontario and Alberta — both provinces with conservative premiers — this number drops to 66 per cent, followed by 63 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 62 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan.
“Whether people know it or not, our daily politics and our ability to do things in this country is founded on the principle of peace, order and good government,” said John Wright, executive vice president of Maru Public Opinion. “That speaks to the door that opens to some form of populism that exists in other countries.”
About one-third (32 per cent) of Canadians believe that if governments will not protect “fundamental Canadian values,” then they must take action themselves — even if it requires violence. The sentiment is felt most keenly, at 45 per cent, in Alberta, followed by 37 per cent in Quebec, 29 per cent in British Columbia, 28 per cent in Ontario, 27 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 24 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan. While only about 12 per cent identify strongly with the sentiment, Wright said, that’s still a significant number of Canadians.
A substantial majority (71 per cent) are concerned that in the future, protests might involve trucks used to blockade roads and parts of cities, a fear that’s highest in Quebec at 77 per cent and lowest in Alberta at 62 per cent. A similarly large majority, 69 per cent, believe the consequences the protesters are receiving are “far less” than other law-abiding Canadians would see should they break the law.
That view is highest in Quebec, at 81 per cent, followed by 71 per cent in B.C., 69 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 65 per cent in Ontario, 64 per cent in Atlantic Canada and 60 per cent in Alberta.
Sixty-two per cent of Canadians also say they’ve lost faith in the ability of the country to keep peace, order and good government, a view that’s highest in Alberta (67 per cent), followed by British Columbia (64 per cent), Quebec (62 per cent), Atlantic Canada (62 per cent), Manitoba and Saskatchewan (61 per cent), and Ontario (58 per cent).
The view that the country is no longer enforcing the law is held by a slim majority of Canadians (53 per cent). In Quebec, only 50 per cent feel that way, compared to 52 per cent in Ontario, 53 per cent in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, 55 per cent in Alberta, 57 per cent in Atlantic Canada, and in British Columbia, it’s 58 per cent.
“The support of the prime minister’s emergency act is fuelled by a propellant of anger, embarrassment, betrayal in a sense that their institutions and their police and politicians are impotent,” said Wright. “People want the rule of law. And what we have here is the vacuum of enforcement, the juxtaposition that there are some people in this country who can get away with things that no one would ever dare try.”
The online poll was conducted among a random selection of 1,518 Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panellists, and the results were weighted by education, age, gender and region, and Quebec language. For comparison, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error of plus or minus 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20. (The National Post)