By ANGUS REID INSTITUTE
March 16, 2022 – Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky pleaded for more than “deep concern” from Canada in a rare virtual address to Parliament Tuesday.
After three weeks of witnessing non-stop coverage of the Russian attack on Ukraine, it’s unclear the extent to which Canadians were, in the days leading up to his speech, inclined to fulfill his requests related to direct confrontation.
A new study from the non-profit Angus Reid institute finds half (48%) of Canadians inclined to send more weaponry to the frontlines in Europe. This represents a near tripling of support for Canada supplying Ukraine with lethal aid in the last six weeks. The number of Canadians who say this country has no role to play in the conflict has almost halved to 12 per cent over the same period.
Still, sending lethal aid is far less palatable to people in this country than less confrontational actions – some of which are already being taken – such as humanitarian help (79%) and the imposition of broad (68%) and targeted (64%) economic sanctions.
Alongside the desire to send humanitarian aid, four-in-five Canadians say they support the Liberal government’s plan to allow unlimited Ukrainian refugees into the country in the coming weeks and months. Canada is already home to 1.4 million Ukrainian Canadians, the second largest such population outside of Ukraine itself.
This connection may help to explain the considerably higher level of support for refugees from Ukraine in the wake of this conflict compared to the level offered to Syrian refugees in 2015.
At that time, the government committed to settling 25,000 Syrians in Canada, which was supported by 39 per cent of Canadians. Support for that influx of refugees eventually rose to 52 per cent in February 2016 but remained far short of the enthusiasm seen for accepting Ukrainians fleeing war now.
More Key Findings:
- Nine-in-ten past Liberal (90%) and NDP voters (92%) support the plan to welcome Ukrainian refugees. Support among past CPC voters is lower (75%) but still at firm majority levels.
- Two-in-five Canadians (43%) would support Canada in actively campaigning for Ukraine to join NATO.
- Half of Canadians (49%) say that Canada’s international reputation has worsened over the past decade, while 14 per cent say it has improved, and one-in-three (33%) do not think it has changed.