Polls gauge the effectiveness of political talking points and media spin. Most Canadians support our troops being in Iraq; majority of Canadians worry about domestic terrorism

A democracy imposes an extraordinary intellectual responsibility upon ordinary people. Our system is finally determined by what our citizenry thinks. This is thrilling and this is terrifying. A thoughtless member of a democracy is a delinquent member of a democracy. Anti-intellectualism has been one of the regular features of populism, but in this respect populism is an offense against the people, because it denies their mental capability and scants their mental agency. Anti-intellectualism is always pseudo-democratic. In enshrining prejudices and dogmas, it robs the citizen of his exacting and proper role. … Dictators employ intellectuals, but finally they fear intellectuals. They live in dread that their liars will one day decide to tell the truth. Sooner or later, therefore, they destroy them. - Reason and the Republic of Opinion, Leon Wieseltier, November 11, 2014

Most Canadians support our troops being in Iraq, poll finds
Diana Hall and Sidney Cohen Toronto Star Ontario Canada November 23, 2014

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About two-thirds of Canadians support the mission in Iraq and consider the Islamic State a threat to Canada that must be confronted overseas, a new poll says.

Days after Canada’s third bombing mission destroyed a warehouse and training ground in northern Iraq Tuesday, a Forum Research poll found 66 per cent of voters agree with the Canadian effort to combat the Islamic State, also known as ISIL. Our contribution to this war effort includes bombing missions by six CF-18 fighter jets.

The survey found that 30 per cent do not agree with the mission — a position mirrored by 40 per cent of voters aged 18-34, and 37 per cent of those polled in Quebec.

The poll also discovered more Canadians agree that ISIL poses a direct threat to Canada today (67 per cent) than did in a September poll (56 per cent).

About two thirds of voters support the claim that the Islamic State must be combatted in Iraq to stop the group from spreading into Canada.

A strong majority of Canadians — 70 per cent — believe the country needs tougher anti-terrorism laws.

Forum put Ben Franklin’s famous adage to voters: “Those who give up their freedom for security deserve neither freedom nor security.” Less than half — 45 per cent — agree with Franklin, a quarter do not and just under one-third have no opinion on the statement.

Majority of Canadians worry about domestic terrorism, according to new survey
Douglas Quan Postmedia News/Canada.com November 24, 2014

Almost two-thirds of Canadians believe homegrown terrorism is a serious issue, but most do not perceive a threat from radicalized individuals in their communities, according to a new survey.

The national poll, conducted in the wake of deadly attacks on Canadian soldiers, found that just over half of respondents supported new anti-terror legislation that would boost the powers of Canada’s spies. Another 22 per cent said the government should go even further, suggesting they have not been swayed by civil liberties concerns.

At the same time, those surveyed recognized that there are many factors behind radicalization — religion, mental illness and marginalization — and seemed open to a range of preventative measures, not just punitive ones.

“People are sensitive to the fact this is a complex issue that requires a comprehensive approach,” said Christian Leuprecht, a security expert at the Royal Military College of Canada and Queen’s University.

The survey took place Nov. 10 to Nov. 12, not long after the country witnessed deadly back-to-back assaults on uniformed Canadian soldiers in Ontario and Quebec.

“That particular attack (on a soldier at the National War Memorial in Ottawa), even though it was carried out by one person … it did certainly, for many Canadians, shake our sense of security,” said Shachi Kurl, senior vice-president at the Angus Reid Institute. “This is the first time in a long time where we’ve had a sense of danger on our soil.”

When asked whether the homegrown terrorism threat was serious or overblown, 62 per cent of respondents said it was serious. This perception was particularly acute among those 55 and older.

Residents of Saskatchewan and Quebec were more likely to perceive the threat as serious compared to residents in B.C. and the Atlantic provinces.

Respondents were less certain when asked whether they believed radicalized Canadians driven by violent ideology were living in their communities right now. Thirty-five per cent answered “yes,” 28 per cent said “no” and 37 per cent said “not sure.” Alberta and Ontario residents were most likely to say “yes.”

Similarly, about one-third of Canadians said it was “likely” that people were becoming radicalized in their communities, though this number surged to 47 per cent in Quebec, conceivably part of the fallout from Quebec’s recent debate over a “Charter of Values” and a reflection on Quebec’s distinct ethno-demographic composition and immigration trends, Leuprecht said.

On public policy, 51 per cent said they support Bill C-44, proposed legislation that would give the Canadian Security Intelligence Service more powers to watch Canadians. An additional 22 per cent said the bill doesn’t go far enough.

Twenty-seven per cent, however, said the bill tramples on civil liberties. Those living in B.C. and people 18 to 34 were the most likely to subscribe to this view.

Posted at: November 24, 2014 - 1:42 pm -- Posted by: Jim Scott -- Permalink: # -- Email This Post