By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
February 17, 2022 – Concern over escalating tensions along the Russia-Ukraine border has several NATO countries – including Canada – advising their nationals to immediately leave Ukraine.
Amid the uncertainty, new public opinion data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians expressing a desire to support Ukraine in the conflict – but at arms length.
Indeed, the only form of aid or support a majority of people in this country (59%) back is sending humanitarian aid such as medicine and food.
Other possible options, including intelligence support, extending Canada’s military training mission to the country past March (already announced at the end of January) or using targeted or broad economic sanctions received less than majority support. Few (13%) Canadians would commit to putting their country’s troops on the front line.
Russia has issued a set of demands to scale back its aggression, including barring Ukraine from joining NATO. The U.S. has refused to adhere to that demand, despite being reluctant to accede to Ukraine’s formal membership. Ukraine itself may drop the request to join to avoid conflict, according to the country’s ambassador to Britain.
There is significant support in both the U.S. and Canada for Ukraine to join the alliance: three-in-five (61%) Americans and two-thirds (68%) of Canadians believe the country should be allowed to join if it wants to. That belief rises for Canadians who have been following the situation more closely: four-in-five (78%) say Ukraine should be allowed to join NATO.
More Key Findings:
- Canadians are more likely than Americans to say their respective country should step in to provide humanitarian aid, intelligence support, and defensive gear to Ukraine. Three-in-ten (30%) of Americans believe the U.S. should wash their hands of the situation compared to the one-in-five (20%) Canadians who want Canada to do the same.
- Past CPC (23%) and Bloc Québécois (20%) voters are twice as likely as past NDP (11%) and Liberal (9%) voters to want their country to do nothing to help Ukraine.
- Concern that the situation in Ukraine will lead to major conflict between Russia and NATO is highest among older Canadians: nearly all of men (86%) and women (93%) aged 55 and older say they worry of escalation. Men and women 18- to 34-years-old are less concerned, but still two-thirds fear a confrontation.