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While not every Canadian has an answer of how to fix the railway blockade situation, most can agree that the government certainly doesn’t have one either.
DART & Maru/Blue conducted a poll for the National Post and found that many Canadians at the moment agree with the following, “Right now, Canada is broken.” In fact 69 percent of Canadians across the country agree with that statement across the country and 83 percent agree with it in Alberta.
“This is one of the few polls that I just looked at — and I’ve been doing this for 30 years, so I did polling around the Oka Crisis — I was astonished when I saw some of these numbers, but I’m not surprised,” said John Wright, a partner with DART.
“A lot of the blame has been centred on the prime minister and the Liberal government,” said Daniel Béland, director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.
The Liberals seem to be taking the brunt of the blame for the rail blockades with many feeling that Justin Trudeau is not leading the country in a positive direction, nor do they feel that Trudeau has come through on his signature promise to be the Prime Minister that stands up for Indigenous people. Two-thirds of Canadians feel he hasn’t fulfilled that pledge.
Beland believes that part of the reason for this is that when the blockades first started, Trudeau was out of the country, campaigning to have a seat on the United Nations Security Council which left Canadians feeling alienated from their leader.
“There was some form of void. The government left the impression — at least many people came to the conclusion — that there was no one really in charge of the situation,” said Béland.
As time has dragged on Canadians have only had less and less faith in the Prime Minister, with only 27 percent of Canadians who think Trudeau has handled the situation well. The premiers on the other hand had a higher, 45 percent approval rating for their handling of the issue.
Many Canadians themselves feel torn on the concerns of Indigenous people in Canada partly because of the Canadian government’s treatment of them throughout history. The poll showed that 57 percent of Canadians agree that “governments lie to Indigenous people about making things better for them.” More than half, 62 percent of Canadians believe Trudeau has not delivered on his promise to Indigenous people.
Canadians who were polled about the methods of the blockades as a form of protest disagreed with it by about 50 percent but said they would “stand with Indigenous people in solidarity” to help find another way to solve the issue. The other half of Canadians felt that “we’ve done enough for Indigenous people in Canada.”
When the poll asked Canadians if they would support a one-time payment issued immediately to Indigneous people for things like “food, clean water and housing.” two-thirds said they would support such a payment, even if it cost $1 billion.
The DART & Maru/Blue poll was conducted on Feb. 24 and used a sample selection of 1,511 random Canadians.