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For Immediate Release
Canadians Angry at the United
States but Disagree
October 31, 2005 - Ottawa, Ontario - Established Canadians appear to be embracing international priorities that reflect Canada's changing demographics. A poll conducted by the Innovative Research Group released today by Canadian Defence & Foreign Affairs Institute (CDFAI) in cooperation with Carleton University, Laval University, Queen's University, University of Montreal/McGill University (The REGIS), Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Canada Institute) and The Dominion Institute shows that a large majority of Canadians (72%) believe the United States is an unpredictable and unilateral trading and security partner. That number is up sharply from last year when 51% of Canadians agreed with that viewpoint. It appears that the ongoing lumber dispute and other cross-border trade and security problems are at fault.
Canadians are, however, greatly divided along ethnic, linguistic, and regional lines on other major issues of Canadian foreign and defence policy. For example, more than 70% of English-speaking Canadians agree that if Canada wants to be a significant force in international affairs, it needs to have an effective military and the willingness to use it. Only 50% of Francophones agree.
The poll conducted by Innovative Research Group, measures the impact of cultural, linguistic and regional differences on how Canadians perceive their foreign and defence policy interests. It looks at where attitudes differ between newer Canadians and longer established Canadians, between first generation immigrants and their second-generation offspring.
The core sample for the survey was 1,000 randomly selected Canadians. An over sample of 141 interviews were conducted to boost regional sub-samples. It was conducted between September 16th to September 20th, 2005. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1% 19 times out of 20.
The survey was commissioned for the conference The World in Canada: Demographics, Diversity & Domestic Politics in Canadian Foreign Policy, to be held at the National Arts Centre in Ottawa on October 31st and November 1st.
The conference traces the changes in Canada's demographic make-up and explores the relationship between domestic politics and Canadian foreign policy, across the fields of diplomacy, development, defence and security and immigration.
Conference partners include Carleton University, Laval University, Queen's University, University of Montreal/McGill University (The REGIS), Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars (Canada Institute) and The Dominion Institute.
(See attachment for quotes from conference partners)
This is the fourth annual conference hosted by CDFAI and its partners.
CDFAI is a think tank, influencing positive change in foreign policy for this country.
(Complete poll results are available online at www.cdfai.org)
For more information, contact:
"The country is headed toward a real crisis in its international relations, particularly with the United States, because of the growing schism between the majority of Canadians who do not speak French and those who do over issues such as Canada's role abroad and its relationship with the United States."
David Bercuson, Ph.D.
On The U.S.
"The results of this poll demonstrate that the public's perception of the United States remains negative. We showed in a poll last year that young people, particularly young Quebeckers, were the most 'anti-American'. Unfortunately, American Government policies are causing a growing anti-American backlash that seems unlikely to subside."
On Canadian Military
"I am glad that the current Liberal government is focussing a bit more resources on our beleaguered military. This poll demonstrates strong support for strengthening the military and for a proactive role in the deployment of troops overseas to help in humanitarian situations and in cases of failed states."
On International Terrorism
"What is almost as striking as the profound demographic change Canada has experienced since 1970 is the degree to which both new and old Canadians agree that Canada's priorities must change to meet the changing times."
Greg Lyle, Managing Director
"In foreign policy there is often a tension between what the world outside our borders seems to require of Canada, and what Canadians themselves - in all their variety - want their government to do, or will permit it to do. Analyzing the complex interplay between the world within Canada and the world beyond is especially important for interpreting and understanding foreign policy in a liberal-democratic state."
Charles Pentland, Ph.D.
On Foreign and Defence Policy
"This conference will offer both academics and practitioners of foreign and defence policy the opportunity to gauge the degree to which the relationship between the state and domestic actors, especially demographic groups, is important for policy outcomes. It will help us better understand why states do what they do in the international system today."
William Hogg, Research Associate, McGill University/UniversitÉ
"Other polls and conferences ask Canadians whether or not they agree with what the government is doing. This is not the right way to set priorities as this merely confirms what the government already knows. We've tried to ask Canadians what is important to them especially where it matters most here at home."
David Carment, Ph.D.