Thursday, April 8, 2010

Support for Mission in Afghanistan Low

An EKOS poll indicates that support for the Canadian mission in Afghanistan is low, and that opposition to an extension of the mission is now a majority opinion.The Canadian Armed Forces have now been in Afghanistan for more than eight years, and have been in the wilder Kandahar region for four. That is a long deployment in a warzone for the 2,500 to 2,800 men and women in the country.

This EKOS poll shows that Canadians are feeling that war weariness. Only 28% would support an extension of the mission beyond July 2011, despite Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's request that we stay. Fully 60% of Canadians oppose the idea.

Opposition is highest in Quebec, where 68% say they would oppose an extension. The lowest level of opposition can be found in Atlantic Canada and Alberta, but even there opposition is at 53%.

Support is highest in Alberta, at 37%, and lowest in Quebec, at 18%.

There is no significant difference of opinion among the different age groups and education levels, but there is a definite split along gender lines. While 54% of men oppose an extension, 66% of women feel the same way.

No matter how people vote, opposition is still a majority view. It's lowest among Conservatives (52%) and Liberals (57%), however, and highest among Bloc Québécois supporters (76%).

When it comes to the mission itself, let alone any extension, opposition is almost at the magical 50% mark, with 49% of Canadians say they oppose Canadian military participation in Afghanistan. Opposition is highest in Quebec, with 62%.

Support is only at 36%, and is highest in Alberta at 50%. Only 21% of Quebecers support the mission.

Again, there is not much variation when broken down by age and education level. But women split 55-28 against the mission, while men are more undecided (44% oppose, 45% support).

Support is highest among Conservative supporters, at 48%. However, 36% of Tories still oppose the mission.

The oppose/support split is 49-39 among Liberals, 62/25 among New Democrats, and 75/17 among Bloc supporters.

Most of the news concerning Afghanistan in this poll's field days were about the detainee issue and President Harmid Karzai's corruption. Canada's last combat death, that of Corporal Darren J. Fitzpatrick, was on March 20 and so far this year three Canadian soldiers have lost their lives in Afghanistan. While any loss is heart-wrenching, at this time last year ten Canadian soldiers had lost their lives.

One can be led to think that these high levels of opposition to the mission have less to do with the sacrifices that have been made and have to be made, and more with Canadians questioning why, indeed, we're there.

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On a completely different note, Gilles Duceppe will be appearing on CBC's The Hour tonight (Thursday) at 23h00. Could be interesting television.

28 comments:

  1. Watching The Hour as we speak. I've always liked Duceppe - so far the interview is going good, even though its like, five minutes in. XD

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  2. I don't like George's last question.

    What about those 48% of Newfoundlanders who didn't want to join Canada in 1949?

    I have a feeling they dealt with it.

    The 40% in 1980 and the 49% in 1995 accepted the result. The 48% or 45% or whatever in 2015 or whenever Quebec votes OUI will have to accept the result. That's democracy.

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  3. Hey! He used my argument.

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  4. Nickelback is on now. This is worse for Canadian unity.

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  5. Interesting to see if Duceppe is asked for how long or how often these referendums should be held.

    Every 15 or 20 years ? Every new generation ? Until there is a yes vote ?

    At what point does Quebec society simply move on and the seperatist minority accept that independence is not in the cards ?

    I'd assume one final referendum would decide this for good.

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  6. Back to the main topic, i'm amazed that the Liberals are so split on this.

    It seems like Iggy and a few other Liberal MPs would be open to the 600 or so soldiers in Kabul doing training in a non-comabt role.

    Apparently Harper is leery about the whole thing, although a lot of the people around him are hawks.

    Perhaps a question should be put to the house and a free vote be held as to whether Canada should accept Hilary's offer of 600 non-combat military trainers in Kabul.

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  7. Shadow,

    Sovereignty will remain an option as long as a large proportion of Quebecers believe in it. As many referendums will be held as the people decide are necessary.

    If the PQ is elected with a mandate to hold a referendum, then obviously they hold a referendum. Democracy in action!

    --- Back to the main topic, i'm amazed that the Liberals are so split on this.

    It's not a cut-and-dry issue. Even Conservatives are surprisingly undecided.

    Ignatieff was on Powerplay not too long ago and asked a good question. If we do send people to help train the Afghan Army, who are we doing it for? At the moment, I'm not really too keen on having our men and women working in a dangerous country for Karzai and his corrupt government.

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  8. Eric anything we do is for the people of Afghanistan, not Karzai and his gov't. It is a democracy.

    Remember he is term limited. In 5 years he'll be gone and its likely that someone like Abdullah Abdullah would replace him.

    We've also seen a more assertive parliament that rejected many of his nominees for cabinet.

    So its not the political system that worries me.

    ***

    It is legitimate for any government to hold a referendum, sure.

    My point is that the public, beyond die hard partisans, will see little value in voting for people who continue to ask a question that has already been answered.

    Isn't that the reasoning behind why the current PQ leader plays down the referendum question and says her government will focus on more pressing matters ?

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  9. Why would anyone think Karzai is term limited??

    With the kind of corruption and deal making rampant in Kabul he can easily arrange things that the "crisis" requires he remain in power.

    Nothing new in that. As to sending troops to "train" the Afghan army I agree with Harper, it's non-starter !

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  10. 49

    Interesting piece by Don Newman

    http://www.cbc.ca/canada/story/2010/04/08/f-vp-newman.html#socialcomments

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  11. Peter,

    Our warrior PM, is now turning against Karzai, and the mission in Afghanistan.

    I wonder why?

    I wish the mission had never been extended in the first place, and the Liberals who voted for that, should not have done so.

    Afgahnistan is a failed state.

    And by no stretch of the imagination, can it be called a functioning democracy.

    I am sorry that 140+ of our brave men and women have lost their life in a hopeless cause.

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  12. Eric,

    Is is statistically correct to state a linguistic minority located in one province is against participaction of the mission in Afghanistan?

    This was the case with every armed conflict including WWI, WWII?

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  13. A majority in every province is against extension of the mission, and in only three of the six regions of the country do we find support for the mission outnumbering opposition, and that by small margins.

    So, to answer your question, no.

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  14. Ekos Poll breaks down Quebec based on language English of French.

    The Poll also confirmed the strongest opposition against the military participaction in Afghanistan is in Quebec 62.1% broken down with 62.4 French vs 45.1 English.

    In Ontario it is 12.9% lower (against the military participaction)

    My earlier question was to ask you about the French speaking population in Quebec if they were against military action in WWI and WWII.

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  15. Eric

    the reason I brought this up in I have heard the magic 62% voted against Harper.

    In Quebec 61% voted against Gilles in 2008.

    Do we apply same logic regarding the legitimacy of the Bloc?

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  16. Quebecers were against conscription in WWI and WWII, and were unenthusiastic about the wars. Whether we can say they were against them is a completely different question. They just didn't want to fight the war themselves.

    As to legitimacy, I'm not sure what you're talking about. The 62% was a way of claiming legitimacy for the opposition to form a coalition, not against the legitimacy of the Conservative minority.

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  17. CS, I haven't seen any breakdown by language in the EKOS polling. Can you provide a link?

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  18. I am just curious the Bloc hold 65%of the seats in Quebec with 38.1% in popular support.(2008 G.E. 49/75)

    The Pundits Guide has the ability to examine Polls. We can possibly drill down further based on language of French vs English.

    Do you have any concern a single linguistic minority is overrepresented in Parliament or Quebec?

    Gilles is travelling across Canada telling us adding seats to three provinces is a bad thing.

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  19. http://www.cbc.ca/news/pdf/ekos-data-tables-100408.pdf

    Page 7
    "" 4 on pensions

    A large gap between English and French Intreview 45.1% vs 62.1%
    don't you think?

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  20. --- I am just curious the Bloc hold 65%of the seats in Quebec with 38.1% in popular support.(2008 G.E. 49/75)

    That's what happens with this system. The Conservatives took 46% of the seats in the country with only 38% support.

    --- The Pundits Guide has the ability to examine Polls. We can possibly drill down further based on language of French vs English.

    Not really necessary, we know that very few anglophones vote for the Bloc.

    --- Do you have any concern a single linguistic minority is overrepresented in Parliament or Quebec?

    Not particularly, considering the necessity of protecting the French language and the Quebecois nation.

    But, then again, the Bloc holds 16% of the seats in the House of Commons. If you really consider them a "French" party, rather than just a party, then the linguistic minority is not over-represented, as 22% of Canadians are francophones. With your logic, the Bloc needs more seats.

    --- Gilles is travelling across Canada telling us adding seats to three provinces is a bad thing.

    Certainly it is, in the context of the recognition and now reduction of the Quebec nation in the House of Commons.

    A proportional representation system would ensure accurate representation and reduce the Bloc's standing in the House of Commons, without the use of anti-democratic tricks. Do you support that?

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  21. --- A large gap between English and French Intreview 45.1% vs 62.1%
    don't you think?


    Sure, but even among anglophones opposition to the war is greater than support. A majority of anglophones also oppose extending the mission.

    So what's your point?

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  22. Eric,

    it is not my logic I am defending.

    Are you suggesting the francophone vote can only be fairly protected with francophones?

    If the Francophone population continues to shrink as a per centage than you have no problem with less representation in parliament?

    Do you think we should legislate gender equality if females make up 50% of our population?

    I am curious how you define the entitlement to retain seats for Quebec vs other provinces.

    Should we strip the Atlantic provinces like P.E.I?

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  23. A proportional representation system would ensure accurate representation and reduce the Bloc's standing in the House of Commons, without the use of anti-democratic tricks. Do you support that?

    I am not sure what system, country you are referring to, can you give me an example.

    We have had a few campaigns regarding changing our system and to my knowledge they have failed to win support.

    From what I can see the CPC, Liberals and Bloc have greatly benefited from not changing the system.
    The politicial parties who stand to gain the most would be the NDP, Green. As long as the Liberals think they have a chance of winning through First past the post they won't make any serious moves.

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  24. --- Are you suggesting the francophone vote can only be fairly protected with francophones?

    Are you suggesting that francophones can't represent anglophones? Otherwise, what difference does it make if a linguistic minority is over-represented (even though it isn't)?

    --- If the Francophone population continues to shrink as a per centage than you have no problem with less representation in parliament?

    The first-past-the-post system is designed to represent regions as well as population. That is why smaller provinces get more seats, and why certain seats (like Yvon Godin's) represent smaller, distinct regions. If we stick with this system, then certainly Quebec, as a nation, deserves a larger share than population alone provides.

    --- Do you think we should legislate gender equality if females make up 50% of our population?

    Gender equality is already enshrined in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. If you mean in the HoC, no, people vote for who they like.

    --- I am curious how you define the entitlement to retain seats for Quebec vs other provinces.

    Well, simply put, Quebec is not a province like every other.

    --- Should we strip the Atlantic provinces like P.E.I?

    Not if we keep the FPtP system. If we were dedicated to true democracy, and thus a PR system, then yes.

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  25. Eric,

    If I was living in QC as an allophone I would not entrust the Bloc to protect my rights.

    Many of the bills seem to restrict and use the English or other language.
    The Bloc introduced a motion in parliament to eliminate the use of English in Federal buildings.

    I am curious why you think the Bloc in Quebec would be entitled to represent other French speaking voters?
    The Metis and Acadians don't share the same views to limit language rights from what I have found. Do you have any links of Acadians or Metis in the last 50 years pushing for a breakup of the country?

    I understand our aboriginals in Quebec have treaty rights that are protected and they would not join the Bloc or BQ in leaving.

    Would you condone the armed force to restrict their rights to separate from Quebec?

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  26. --- The Bloc introduced a motion in parliament to eliminate the use of English in Federal buildings.

    The motion was to extend the Charter of the French Language to federal buildings in Quebec, so that Quebecers would be able to work in their own language.

    --- I am curious why you think the Bloc in Quebec would be entitled to represent other French speaking voters?

    I never said they were, you did, when you said that because of the Bloc a linguistic minority was over-represented.

    --- The Metis and Acadians don't share the same views to limit language rights from what I have found.

    Acadians are a minority in their own province, and work to protect their own endangered language rights.

    --- I understand our aboriginals in Quebec have treaty rights that are protected and they would not join the Bloc or BQ in leaving.

    Where is the Bloc and "BQ" going? Treaty rights are in no danger, and in fact, like Duceppe said last night on The Hour, Quebec is more likely to respect the treaty rights of natives than Canada is, which hasn't signed the UN treaty dealing with natives.

    Following a referendum, natives may decide to remain in Quebec rather than Canada, depending on what is offered.

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  27. Eric I think its pretty clear that the French minority is over represented in the house. I make no judgement on whether this is good or bad.

    1) Federalist vote splits/FPTP
    2) Quebec over representation in general

    BQ shouldn't be counted as the only "French" representatives, Quebec MPs like Libel, Paradis, and Bernier are plenty French.

    Also since BQ don't even run candidates in ridings where 15% of Canada's francophones live (ie. Outside Quebec).

    Acadians are represented nicely by people like Yvon-Godin, Dominic Leblanc, and Jean-Claude D'Amours.

    Metis by people like Shelly Glover.

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  28. Eric,

    Bill 101 was favourable to the protection of minority language rights by making French the only official language. Did I miss that memo? The BQ did not make those changes to advance the majority interests in restricting the other languages?

    How does this benefit the minority whose mother tongue is not French?

    Why would the aboriginals trust the provincial government?

    The treaty is not between Quebec and the aboriginals. I would not extinguish the aboriginal self government including their treaty rights with Parliament to trust Gilles Duceppe.

    They would win huge concessions and tracts of land making it clear that Quebec is divisible as is Canada.

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