One week after the devastating terror attacks in Paris, a new Ipsos poll shows a majority of Canadians disagree with the Liberal government’s plan to resettle 25,000 refugees by the end of the year.
The Ipsos poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, found that 60 per cent of Canadians disagree with Justin Trudeau’s election promise to relocate 25,000 people displaced largely due to the conflict in Syria.
Opposition is highest in Alberta with 70 per cent and lowest in Ontario with 56 per cent.
The major concern among those who oppose the Liberal’s refugee plan is security and the fear that appropriate security checks will be limited in order to hit Trudeau’s timeline.
“There’s a sense that the speed with which this is taking place will be at the expense of the security of Canadians,” said Darrell Bricker, president of Ipsos. “There is a serious concern that there are potential terrorists posing as refugees.”
The poll found 67 per cent of Canadians believe terrorists pretending to be refugees could enter our borders. A separate Ipsos poll conducted in both the United States and the United Kingdom found this number jumps to 81 per cent, fuelling debate in the U.S. to halt refugee resettlement programs.
But while the majority of Canadians oppose the federal government’s plan, a similar majority (67 per cent) reject the idea of closing the country’s borders entirely, while only 33 per cent agree.
“Of the three countries we looked at, by far the most immigrant-friendly is Canada,” said Bricker.
The attacks in Paris killed at least 130 people and wounded 350 more and increased worries of a terrorist attack in Canada. Seventy five per cent of Canadians believe there is a real threat of an attack on home soil – up 14 points from a poll in October. In the U.S. the number is up ten points to 91 per cent.
Canada’s Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan said the Liberal government will be mindful of the recent attacks in Paris and Beirut when screening refugee applicants, with security considerations being a priority.
“We have always stated that the security and health will be at the forefront. I want to remind people that when it comes to refugees they are fleeing war. And we will do this in a manner that takes Canadian security as a top priority and will be done in a responsible manner.”
Speaking at the opening press conference of the Halifax International Security Forum, he defended the federal government’s plan, saying it not only helps the world’s most vulnerable but sends a message to the Islamic State group.
“This crisis is not just about a humanitarian project this also sends a great message to ISIS that you might create this environment for us, but we will not let you take advantage of this,” said Sajjan. “By doing our part for this we are actually hitting ISIS in a different way as well.”
The Liberal government says it will release details of its refugee plan next Tuesday. A report from The Canadian Press pegged the cost at roughly $1.2 billion over the next six years and will involve several government departments as well as the military in a co-ordinated effort.
Exclusive Global News Ipsos 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 was conducted between Nov. 17 and 19, with a sample of 1,002 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel and is accurate to within +/ – 3.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.