January 1, 2015 9:00 pm

Parliament Hill shooting top political story of 2014: exclusive poll

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WATCH: 2015 promises to be a thrilling year, politically, but 2014 certainly had its fair share of highs and lows. Jacques Bourbeau takes a look back.

OTTAWA – The brazen shooting attack on Parliament Hill that left a soldier dead and a nation searching for answers has been voted the top Canadian political story of 2014, according to an exclusive new poll for Global News.

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Almost 40 per cent of Canadians, or 4 in 10, chose the Ottawa attack as the top story of the year.

READ MORE: Attack on Nathan Cirillo, Parliament Hill tops 2014 Canadian news stories: poll

In second place, 20 per cent of Canadians chose Rob Ford’s final year as Toronto mayor, while another 10 per cent said the trio of Senate scandals involving suspended senators Pamela Wallin, Mike Duffy and Patrick Brazeau was the political story of the year.

But the daylight shooting in the nation’s capital resonated most with Canadians.

Watch: Security on Parliament Hill after Ottawa shooting

John Wright, senior vice president of Ipsos Global Public Affairs, says the attack represented “a unifying moment in this country.”

Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was shot and killed as he stood guard over the War Memorial in Ottawa on the morning of Oct. 22.

The gunman, Michael Zehaf-Bibeau, then made his way onto Parliament Hill with his rifle, where he shot a security guard in the foot and fired bullets just steps away from Prime Minister Stephen Harper and other politicians who were in Centre Block for their weekly caucus meetings.

Zehaf-Bibeau died in a hail of bullets, one of them fired by Sergeant-at-Arms Kevin Vickers, who has been hailed a hero for his role in the incident.

The RCMP says Zehaf-Bibeau recorded a deliberate, lucid video before the attack in which he cited Canada’s foreign policy as well as his Muslim faith.

But it is not known whether that video will ever be released.

READ MORE: ‘Distorted world view,’ not mental illness, drove terrorists: RCMP

Less likely to ever be seen is the video of the shooting itself, recorded on security cameras set up in Canada’s Parliament, in order for the public to assess what really happened and who fired the fatal bullet that killed Zehaf-Bibeau.

As for the Ford and Senate scandals, Wright said they resonated for their outrageousness and violation of public office.

“The focus upon them across the country was huge and you couldn’t get away from it,” he said.

Other top political stories of 2014 include:

  • The Keystone XL pipeline debate, which has been held up by the Americans (7 per cent);
  • Canada’s decision in October to join the fight against the Islamic State (ISIS) and send CF-18 fighter jets to the Middle East (6 per cent);
  • Finance Minister Jim Flaherty’s death, at 64, in April (5 per cent);
  • The popularity of the Liberals and leader Justin Trudeau (5 per cent);
  • Former Alberta premier Alison Redford‘s spending scandal and her August resignation (3 per cent);
  • The November conviction of former Conservative staffer Michael Sona in the robocalls scandal (1 per cent);
  • Embattled Veterans Affairs Minister Julian Fantino (1 per cent);
  • Former Conservative MP Dean Del Mastro‘s conviction on elections charges and his resignation from Parliament in November (1 per cent).

The poll also found those in Atlantic Canada were most likely to name the Ottawa shooting as the top story, while 1 in 3 Ontarians believed Ford’s final year as mayor was the biggest story of the year.

Nearly 1 in 4 Albertans said the Redford saga was the top political story of 2014 – compared to just three per cent of Quebecers.

Exclusive Global News Ipsos Reid polls are protected by copyright. The information and/or data may only be rebroadcast or republished with full and proper credit and attribution to “Global News Ipsos Reid.” This poll involved online interviews with a sample of 1,005 Canadians between December 16 to 19, 2014 on behalf of Global News. In this case, the poll is accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points had all Canadian adults been polled.

© 2015 Shaw Media

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