By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
February 14, 2022 – If the goal of the Freedom Convoy was to capture the attention of millions of people in Canada and around the globe – mission accomplished.
If, however, the goal was to build support for their demands to end pandemic-related restrictions – it has backfired utterly.
New public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute shows after more than two weeks of unrest, Canadians are now more likely to oppose measures sought by protesters.
Overall, more than two-in-five now say Canadians say the protests have made them more inclined to support ongoing restrictions related to masking indoors (44%) and vaccination requirements to cross the Canada-U.S. border (44%).
As the country rolls into another week of uncertainty, nearly three-quarters of Canadians (72%) say the time has come for protesters to “go home, they have made their point.”
As to how the situation should be resolved – most feel the time for talking is done. Nearly 70 per cent either think local police need to step in and send people home (45%) or that the military should be summoned (23%). One quarter (26%) say it’s up to politicians to negotiate a dénouement.
However, those same politicians, including the prime minister and the leader of Canada’s official opposition, are roundly criticized for harming, not helping events. Two-thirds (65%) say Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s comments and actions have worsened the situation, while two-in-five (42%) say this of Candice Bergen, leader of the official opposition. The Ottawa police and Ontario Provincial Police also garner considerable criticism, with more Canadians – and Ontarians – saying they have worsened rather than helped to resolve the situation.
More Key Findings:
- The story has caught the attention of many Canadians. Two-thirds (64%) say they are following it in the news and discussing it with friends and family. A further three-in-ten (28%) say they are still paying some attention to it. Very few, one per cent, say they had not heard about the situation (see detailed tables).
- Those who support some form of action (93% of Canadians) to remove protesters are largely supportive of arrests if demonstrators refuse to leave. Three-in-five (62%) say this should happen.
- Half of Canadians believe premiers Doug Ford (50%) and Jason Kenney (49%) have harmed the situation more than they have helped. For both, that is also the majority opinion in their own provinces.