Canadians’ support for taking in Syrian refugees is increasing: Ipsos poll

A new Ipsos poll shows a majority of Canadians support the Liberal government’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees and support has increased sharply following the Paris terror attacks.

The poll, conducted exclusively for Global News, shows 54 per cent of Canadians support the federal government’s plan to accept the 25,000 Syrians by February 2016, up from 40 per cent support in November.

READ MORE: 60% of Canadians disagree with Liberal plan to accept Syrian refugees

Support for the Liberal plan was highest in the Atlantic provinces (64 per cent), while opposition was highest in Alberta with 47 per cent.

Ontario had 55 per cent support, B.C. 53 per cent, Saskatchewan and Manitoba has 52 per cent and Quebec 53 per cent.

“The way the government has managed the arrival of Syrian refugees, what people saw when Justin Trudeau showed up at the airport and handed out coats has had some impact,”  said Darrell Bricker, CEO at Ipsos Public Affairs.

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A previous Ipsos poll conducted near the end of November in the wake of the attacks in Paris that left 130 dead showed 60 per cent Canadians disagreed with the Liberal resettlement citing security concerns.

Bricker says that things have changed over the last month.

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“We have seen a decline in the number of credible people who have been raising security concerns relative to Syrian refugees,” Bricker said. “Given that the opposition has melted away and the pictures all look great. It’s improved public opinion.”

READ MORE: How the refugee crisis evolved in 2015

The Liberals had originally promised to resettle that number by the end of the year but were forced to change the dates for the arrivals citing a number of reasons that range from public pressure to ensure security concerns are addressed to weather forcing the delays of flights.

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As of Dec. 30, 3,701 refugees have arrived in Canada according to the immigration department.

Trudeau gets strong approval numbers

Trudeau’s Liberal government is continuing to enjoy high approval ratings in the early months of his government, according to the Ipsos poll.

It shows a majority of Canadians (66 per cent) believe the new Liberal government is working well. The numbers were particularly high in B.C. (77 per cent) and the Atlantic provinces (73 per cent).

Not surprisingly the lowest numbers were in Alberta where just 52 per cent agreed the new majority government is working well. In the last federal election the Conservatives won 29 of 34 seats in the province, with the Liberals winning their first seat since 1968.

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Bricker says leadership issues facing both the NDP and the Conservatives is helping the Liberals. The NDP are facing a leadership review and the Tories have yet to elect a permanent leader.

“Essentially what’s happening is the Liberals are skating around on the ice by themselves scoring on the other guys net without a goalie,” he said. “The contrast between this prime minister and the previous one and the way that he is coming across visually represents the change he claimed to be.”

How long can the honeymoon with the Liberals last? It depends on how long Canadians are willing to go along with the Liberals “modifying” election promises according to Bricker, who pointed to the refugee resettlement dates that have been continually pushed back.

“There’s a steady habit of modifying what they promised during the election particularly on big issues,” Bricker said. “So the question is at what point will people’s tolerance for that start to wane?”

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.” For the poll, a sample of 2,002 Canadians from the Ipsos panel was interviewed from December 16 to 18, 2015 and is accurate to within 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

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