Just over half of Canadians not confident in ability of security services to prevent home-grown acts of terror

Just over half (55%) of Canadians say they aren’t confident in the ability of domestic security services to prevent homegrown radicals from carrying out terrorist attacks in Canada.

These are among the findings of an Angus Reid Institute (ARI) online survey of Canadian adults on global and national threats to security and safety.

Key Findings

Global safety and securityangus reid institute

Nearly three-quarters (74%) of Canadians feel that the world has become a more dangerous place than a decade ago. This level of concern is about equal across all regions and demographic groups.

The source of danger

Terrorism and ISIS far outweigh other concerns with half (50%) of Canadians choosing this option from a list of possible concerns including the Ebola outbreak, Russian aggression, climate change, the global economy, the Israel-Palestine conflict and global poverty and hunger. Global warming was distant second on this list chosen as most important by sixteen percent, followed by poverty/hunger (11%) and the Ebola outbreak (9%).

angus reid institute

How Canada should respond to the ISIS threat

On the question of what Canada’s priority should be in regards to the threat posed by ISIS, two-thirds (66%) say precedence should be given to securing national borders and dealing with Canadians involved in terrorism domestically or overseas. This represents twice as many as those who would put priority on contributing humanitarian and/or military aid to assist the international community (34%).

Confidence in Canada’s security services

Confidence in institutions such as the RCMP, CSIS and local police to stop radicalized Canadians from carrying out acts of violence is split. Slightly more than half (55%) of respondents say they aren’t confident, with 41% saying they’re “not very confident” and 14% saying they’re “not confident at all”.

By contrast, two-in-five (40%) profess confidence in security services, with 36% saying “confident” and 4% saying “very confident”. There are no significant differences in this sentiment based on region or other demographic markers.

Timing in Context

These findings come on the heels of two violent attacks this week on Canadian military personnel by individuals described in initial reports as suspected radicalized Canadians. The first, in Quebec where one soldier was killed and another injured after being hit by a car driven by a suspected radical. The second, a brazen attack on Parliament in Ottawa that saw a Canadian Forces reservist shot to death as he guarded the National War Memorial.

While the issue of domestic terror at the hands of such people has been a top-of-mind issue for months, the exact timing of these events were unforeseen by Canadians and by ARI. This survey was not developed in reaction to the attacks. This survey was conducted over a period of five days which coincided with the terrorist act in Quebec.

Image Credit: Mikey G Ottawa

Click here for full report including tables and methodology

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