VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As asylum-seekers continue to trickle over the border from the US, a new poll finds a significant number of Canadians would support a Trump-style ban on travel and immigration here.
The Angus Reid poll reveals mixed attitudes around the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Canada.
“What we are finding is that Canadians for the most part are satisfied and approve of the job the government has done in terms of refugee resettlement, but there are some red flags and caveats that come with that approval,” says Shachi Kurl, Executive Director of the Angus Reid Institute.
“While the majority (60 per cent) do say the government has done a good job overall, you do see significant portions of the Canadian population actually saying we are taking in too many refugees right now.”
Ottawa has set a target of 40,000 refugees resettled this year and nearly half (47 per cent) asked say that number is about right, but 41 per cent believe that number is too high.
One-in-10 (11 per cent) say the number is too low and we should allow more refugees to come to Canada.
“You see that playing out against the backdrop of things such as the US travel ban, the shutdown of acceptance of refugees south of the border and then the subsequent border-crossings in places like Emerson, Manitoba where people are walking into Canada claiming asylum,” Kurl tells NEWS 1130.
“We’ve seen pressure on the federal government to do something in response to all of the developments coming out of the United States — namely to take more refugees. Ottawa actually said no, and again Canadian do think that was the right call to make.”
However, Kurl points out a full quarter of Canadians polled by Angus Reid say they would support a Trump-style ban on Syrian refugees coming to Canada.
“For the most part we do see folks saying we are on the right track, but there are concerns that track might be moving too deep or too far or too fast among certain segments of the population.”
And there are other signs Ottawa may be testing the limits of how many migrants Canadians are willing to accept.
“A significant portion of the population (38 per cent) believe refugees resettled in their neighbourhood would not necessarily be welcomed by neighbours. And you also see more than half (54 per cent) agree that refugees aren’t necessarily making an effort to fit into mainstream Canadian society,” says Kurl.
“It’s a mixed result. It may not be as hard-line as opinion in the United States but, at the same time, Canadians are expressing that while they may approve of refugee resettlement plans laid out by the federal government, they only want to see it taken so far and so fast.”