Poll Finds Support for ‘Freedom Convoy’ at 20% Across Canada

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Freedom Convoy in Ottawa 2022
Freedom Convoy in Ottawa 2022

Authorities have Started Clearing Ambassador Bridge

TORONTO – OTTAWA – NEWS – Ontario’s Emergency Order came into effect at midnight.

Last night, downtown Ottawa was the scene of a party, complete with a stage. As protesters appeared to be in defiance of the provincial government.

This morning, police in Windsor have started operations to clear the Ambassador Bridge.

The supporters in Ottawa are quick to claim that they have the vast support of Canadians.

This morning, the results of a national survey released by Maru Public Opinion finds that two-thirds (64%) of Canadians believe Canada’s democracy is being threatened by a group of protesters, and they must be stopped immediately.

Only one- in-five (20%) fully support the truckers—both what they are protesting about and how they are going about it.

Frustration by Canadians over the situation in Ottawa is not translating, at least according to the poll to support for Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Politically, only one-in-six (17%) Canadians think the Prime Minister has looked strong in acting to stop the protests, an equal number think the Prime Minister has used every opportunity to calm things down and find a solution (17%), and just three-in-ten (29%) think the Prime Minister has acted like a prime minister should in the face of the protest.

As for potential consequences to the intransigent protesters, two of the many measures tested find six-in-ten (58%) would have drivers face fines and potential jail terms of up to two years and even more (66%) would have those aiding and abetting drivers in their protests charged with fines and potential jail terms.

The key findings

Only one-in-five (20%) Canadians fully support the truckers

Only one-in-five (20%) Canadians fully support the truckers—both what they are protesting about and how they are going about it. This view is most held by those living in Alberta (29%), followed by those living in Ontario (22%), Atlantic Canada (21%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (21%), and British Colombia (14%).

One-quarter (24%) of Canadians support the truckers with what they are protesting about but not the way they are going about it. This view is strongest held in the province of Québec (28%) and in Manitoba/Saskatchewan (27%), followed by those living in Ontario (23%), British Columbia (22%), Atlantic Canada (21%), and Alberta (19%).

A majority (56%) of Canadians do not support the truckers who are protesting in any way, shape, or form and believe that we need to do everything we can to put an end to their activities. This is a majority view held in every province/region across the country but is embraced the most in British Columbia (64%), followed by those living both in Atlantic Canada (58%) and Québec (58%), Ontario (55%) Manitoba/Saskatchewan (52%) and Alberta (52%).

Canadians blame truckers and the Prime Minister most for incitement, escalation of protests

Asked to choose among four options as to who Canadians blame the most for the incitement and escalation of the protests over the past two weeks:

 A plurality (46%) of Canadians blames the truckers themselves the most for the incitement and escalation of the protests over the past two weeks. This view is highest held in Québec (51%), followed by those living in British Columbia (49%), Atlantic Canada (46%) and Ontario (46%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (44%), and Alberta (32%).

Half (48%) of Canadians think the Prime Minister has demonstrated that he is not up to the job of being prime minister. This compares to one-third (35%) disagree with that perspective followed by the remainder (18%) who were not sure.

Only one-in-six Canadians (16%) think the Prime Minister has made them want to vote for him because of how he has dealt with the situation. This compares with two thirds (63%) who disagree and another one-in-five (21%) who are not sure.

A plurality (45%) of Canadians think the Prime Minister has demonstrated that someone else should lead the Liberal Party of Canada. This compares to one third (35%) that disagree with that view and the rest (18%) who are not sure.

As to the protest itself:

A majority (67%) of Canadians believe these truckers are being heavily funded and supported by foreign interests. This view is held the most in Atlantic Canada (76%), followed by those living in British Columbia (70%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (69%), Ontario (65%), and Alberta (63%).

Two-thirds (64%) of Canadians believe Canada’s democracy is being threatened by a group of protesters and they must be stopped immediately. This view has the highest resonance in Atlantic Canada (68%), Québec (68%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (68%), and British Columbia (67%), followed by those living in Ontario (62%), and Alberta (57%).

Two thirds (64%) of Canadians support using the Canadian Armed Forces in a support role to clear out trucks with heavy tow vehicles. This initiative is supported the most in British Columbia (69%), followed by those living in Québec (66%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (64%), Atlantic Canada (62%) and Ontario (62%), and Alberta (61%).

Two-thirds (64%) of Canadians believe that the way these truckers are protesting right now is just like the mob that took part in the protest in Washington on January 6, 2021.This view is held the highest by those residing in Québec (72%), followed by those living in British Columbia (60%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (63%), Atlantic Canada (62%), Alberta (61%), and Ontario (59%).

Two-thirds (62%) of Canadians believe Canada should work with American military and law enforcement to remove border blockades. This perspective is most likely to be endorsed by those living in Québec (72%), followed by those residing in British Columbia (68%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (63%), Atlantic Canada (62%), Alberta (61%), and Ontario (59%).

A majority (53%) of Canadians give Ottawa police permission to forcefully remove any truckers, their families, and others who refuse to leave the city after 24 hours’ notice—with tear gas and other methods (even if it may cause injury or worse.) This type of action is most supported by those living in the province of Québec (59%), followed by those living in British Columbia (57%), Atlantic Canada (56%), Ontario (52%), Manitoba/Saskatchewan (52%), and Alberta (42%).

Consequences for those who continue to protest

Just one-third (33%) say the drivers should be left alone – that it is their right to protest as they are.

Overall, Canadians believe the following consequences should be meted out for those drivers who continue to protest and not move their vehicle within a city/place/or border-crossing after being told to do so by law enforcement officials:

  • Two-thirds (66%) would have those aiding and abetting drivers in their protests charged with fines and potential jail terms.
  • Six-in-ten (58%) would have drivers face fines and potential jail terms of up to two years.
  •   A majority (54%) would immediately cause the forfeiture of their vehicle so that it may be impounded and sold if they are convicted of an offence.  A majority (52%) would immediately suspend their commercial license to drive any vehicle for a living for two years.
  •   Half (48%) would immediately suspend their personal license to drive a personal vehicle for two years 

>Methodology

These are some of the findings from a study released by Maru Public Opinion undertaken by its sample and data collection experts at Maru/Blue February 9-10, 2022, among a random selection of 1506 Canadian adults who are Maru Voice Canada panelists. The results were weighted by education, age, gender, and region (and in Quebec, language) to match the population, according to Census data. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.5%, 19 times out of 20.

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