A growing number of Conservative voters believe Canada offers “too much support” for Ukraine, a poll suggests

As the grim anniversary of Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine approaches, a new poll suggests Canadians’ engagement in the conflict is waning and support for Ukraine is weakening — especially among Conservatives.

A quarter of Canadians believe Canada is providing “a lot of support” to Ukraine in its fight, compared to 13 per cent who said the same in May 2022, a poll released by the Angus Reid Institute on Tuesday morning showed.

According to the poll, conservative supporters are the driving force behind this result.

The proportion of Canadians who voted Conservative in the last election and now say Canada is doing too much to help Ukraine has more than doubled — from 19 per cent in May 2022 to 43 per cent now — according to the public. Results of the Opinion Research Group.

“It’s… a huge leap,” said Shachi Kurle, head of the Angus Reid Institute. “This is likely to be a difficult political knot for Pierre Poilievre.”

Sorting out the reasons behind the shift is largely an exercise in speculation at this point, Corll said.

On the one hand, she said, there is a long-standing tradition of support for the military among conservative voters. She added that this situation could be tense with conservatives’ support for small government and tax cuts.

“I don’t want to overemphasize it… but what’s thriving, what’s starting to kind of grow out of the weeds into a fairly healthy seedling here, is this almost a Trump mentality, ‘Canada first,'” she said. He said.

“This Conservative mentality does not represent the majority of the country’s Conservative base, or the entire base. It is a minority, but it is an enthusiastic, vocal and growing minority.”

The belief that Canada is giving Ukraine too much is also growing among National Democratic and Liberal voters, the poll suggests. The percentage of voters who believe Canada is doing a lot for Ukraine jumped from 5 to 10 per cent among 2021 Liberal supporters, and from 5 to 12 per cent among 2021 NDP supporters.

Since early 2022, the federal government has allocated more than $2.4 billion in military aid and more than $352 million in humanitarian aid to Ukraine.

Passionate debate about trade with Ukraine

The poll came a day after another emotional debate in the House of Commons on a bill to implement an update to the Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement.

The Liberals accused the Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre And his party abandoned Ukraine when Conservative MPs voted against the bill in November. prime minister Justin Trudeau He attributed the opposition to “MAGA-influenced American thinking.”

Poilievre, whose party has maintained a significant lead in opinion polls over Trudeau’s Liberals for several months, said his party still supports Ukraine and that his objection is to the mention of “carbon pricing” in the legislation.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre addresses the National Conservative Caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, January 28, 2024.Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre addresses the National Conservative Caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre addresses the National Conservative Caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, January 28, 2024.

Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre addresses the National Conservative Caucus on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Sunday, January 28, 2024. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)

“I really think this shows how pathologically Trudeau is obsessed with the carbon tax,” Poilievre said in November, “that even though he has the knife at the throat of the Ukrainians, he will use it to impose his carbon tax ideology on these poor people.”

The trade agreement does not impose any obligation on the Ukrainian government to impose a carbon tax.

Last week, Poilievre called on the Liberal government to donate tens of thousands of surplus air-to-ground missiles scheduled for disposal to Ukraine.

An Angus Reid poll indicates that Canadians, by a ratio of three to one, believe a Conservative vote against a Canada-Ukraine free trade agreement would undermine Canada’s reputation on the world stage. The poll says half of likely Conservative voters think there will be no effect at all.

Corll said elections based on foreign policy issues are rare in Canada, but for the first time in months, Poilievre’s opponents have something to talk about.

“He spent very little time on defense, and that enabled him to remain very disciplined in terms of message and very focused in terms of sustained attacks on the government. And I’m not saying that in some cases those attacks haven’t worked.” “It was not convincing, or it was not the result of a series of private objectives on the part of this government,” Corll said.

“But, you know, for the first time we might be seeing something that puts Poilievre on the defensive…”

Canadians’ interest is waning

The Angus Reid Institute poll indicates the number of Canadians closely following news of the conflict has fallen from 66 per cent in May 2022 to 45 per cent now.

“In general, Canadians are seeking a way out of this conflict,” Corll said.

“And you can see that those who are less engaged are also more likely to say, ‘You know, we’re helping too much, we’ve fulfilled our commitments.'”

The poll indicates that Canadians remain divided over what role Canada should play in the next war.

A third of respondents agreed that Canada should support Ukraine “as long as it takes,” while one in ten believed support should continue for only another year.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Jolie speaks to the media during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, February 2, 2024. Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Jolie speaks to the media during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, February 2, 2024.

Canadian Foreign Minister Mélanie Jolie speaks to the media during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kiev, Ukraine, on Friday, February 2, 2024.

Foreign Minister Melanie Jolie speaks to the media during a press conference with Ukrainian Foreign Minister Dmytro Kuleba in Kyiv, Ukraine on Friday, February 2, 2024. (AP Photo/Evgeniy Maloletk)

Another 30% said they were not sure, while 20% said they believed the war should now end with peace negotiations initiated by Ukraine.

Only five per cent of respondents want Canada to end its subsidy entirely.

The Angus Reid Institute conducted the survey online from January 29-31, 2024 using a random sample of 1,617 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum.

For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

(tags for translation) Conservatives

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