Foreign Interference: Two-thirds, including majority of CPC voters say all leaders should read NSICOP report

Majorities feel Poilievre, Trudeau, parliament, not taking foreign interference seriously enough

June 21, 2024 – The House of Commons rose for summer break this week. It is a ritual that sends bills yet to be passed into legislative purgatory, while sending MPs back into ridings to work the proverbial ‘barbeque circuit’.

One subject MPs of all stripes will surely be talking about: the capital gains inclusion increase, most likely to be boosted by Liberal caucus members and pilloried by those in the Conservative tent. What they’re less likely to raise spontaneously: lingering questions and murkiness over the latest revelations in the foreign interference scandal.

Capital Gains Tax: One-in-five say increasing inclusion rate will cost them more over next five years

A bombshell report was released earlier this month by the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP), a group made up of cross-parliament MPs and senators. The committee’s report detailed the ways foreign interference has been infiltrating Canadian politics.

The ensuing political firestorm has put pressure on the Trudeau government to name the individuals who, as the report says were ‘semi-witting or witting’ participants in the efforts of foreign states to interfere in Canadian politics. It has also put Opposition Leader Pierre Poilievre’s decision not to seek the security clearance required to read the report under the microscope.

New data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians largely aligned on the seriousness of the issue and the feeling that their political leaders need to do more to reflect it. Public opinion polling data shows a strong majority of Canadians say all federal leaders should be informed about the report by receiving the necessary security clearance. Notably, even three-in-five who would support the CPC in a future federal election say this.

Click below to see Key Takeaways from the data.

Two-thirds of Canadians saying that they believe all federal leaders should receive the proper security clearance to read the recent NSICOP report. At least three-in-five of all party supporters hold this view: 

Pierre Poilievre has gone on record as stating that the government should release the names of those the report lists as having been a “witting or semi-witting” participant in foreign interference. For their part, Canadians agree. Seven-in-10 say those names should be made public.

Perhaps because of the heavy politicization of the issue, there is broad sentiment parliamentarians must take it more seriously.

 

Only CSIS, and to a lesser extent the RCMP, appear to have the confidence of Canadians in handling the issue. Politicians, on the other hand, garner less confidence.

The Full Story

INDEX

  • Foreign interference debate

  • Canadians tell leaders to read the report

  • Seven-in-10 say names should be made public

  • Leaders should be taking this “more seriously”

  • Confidence in CSIS and RCMP, not in politicians

 

Foreign interference debate

The fires of the nation’s political discourse were only stoked further in early June when the National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) released a report alleging that some parliamentarians have either “wittingly or semi-wittingly” participated in foreign interference targeted at Canadian elections. Both India and China have been alleged as participating, complicating Canada’s tense diplomatic efforts with each Asian giant.

Some details of the report remain murky, with NDP leader Jagmeet Singh, Green leader Elizabeth May, and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau offering varying interpretations. For their part, three-in-10 Canadians are following the issue closely, which rises to half among those who would support the Conservative Party.

Canadians tell leaders to read the report

Unlike May, Singh and Trudeau, CPC leader Pierre Poilievre has resisted calls to read the report. Observers say Poilievre would be “hamstrung” politically, given that he would be unable to comment on what he read in the report. Others have criticized Poilievre for placing political concerns at the forefront. Singh stated that he believes Poilievre’s unwillingness to do so is “disqualifying” for his pursuit of leading the nation as prime minister.

At least three-in-five (60%) across all party supporters say that each leader should take steps to read the report. This is evidently a rare moment of disagreement between intending CPC voters and Poilievre, as just one-quarter (23%) agree with his decision to not read the report.

Canadians broadly feel that all federal party leaders should receive security clearance and read the report. One-in-five are unsure (20%) and 14 per cent disagree that this is necessary:

Seven-in-10 say names should be made public

While Poilievre has chosen not to read the report, he has publicly called on the government to release the names of any MP who is under suspicion of working with foreign actors. Public Safety Minister Dominic Leblanc has stated that publicly discussing intelligence information would be inappropriate, while Trudeau voiced concerns about the risks those who collected the information would face if names were to be released.

Canadians are less concerned about the risks of releasing names of those identified in the report. Seven-in-10 (69%) say the names should be released, though this ranges from 89 per cent of CPC voters to half of Liberal voters (51%).

Leaders should be taking this “more seriously”

Perhaps it’s the politicking that has many Canadians feeling that the government and parliament are not taking this issue seriously enough. Asked how they feel the issue has been handled, two-thirds say both the prime minister and parliament more broadly are not treating the issue with sufficient seriousness. Half (53%) say this of the leader of the opposition.

Confidence in CSIS and RCMP, not in politicians

The broader issue of ensuring the integrity of Canadian elections is one that many Canadians feel an urgency around. Two-in-five said last year that they were worried that Canadian elections were becoming less free and fair (42%). Confidence in the Canadian Security Intelligence Service is relatively high, with seven-in-10 Canadians saying they have a least some confidence in that body to stop foreign election interference in the future. Approaching three-in-five (57%) say this about the RCMP, while fewer than half have confidence in parliament (43%) or the Conservative Party (47%). The governing Liberals fare worst on this issue, with three-in-five saying they have no confidence at all (58%) in that party’s ability to stop this going forward:

METHODOLOGY

The Angus Reid Institute conducted an online survey from June 14 – 17, 2024 among a representative randomized sample of 3,080 Canadian adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum. For comparison purposes only, a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding. The survey was self-commissioned and paid for by ARI. Detailed tables are found at the end of this release.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

For full release including methodology, click here.

For questionnaire, click here. 

MEDIA CONTACT:

Shachi Kurl, President: 604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org @shachikurl

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