Ahead of 3 Amigos Summit, only 1 in 4 Canadians believe NAFTA is beneficial: poll

Click to play video: 'Value of North American trade must be promoted in post-Brext world: Gary Doer' Value of North American trade must be promoted in post-Brext world: Gary Doer
WATCH: North American leaders must promote the importance of their trade relationships at next week's Three Amigos Summit in order to counter the isolationism and anti-trade sentiment that fueled Brexit. – Jun 26, 2016

After a turbulent week for free trade in the European Union with the Brexit vote, it’s now time for North America to talk about our own trade deal: the North American Free Trade Agreement.

The agreement is slated to be a major topic of discussion when Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hosts Mexican president Enrique Pena Nieto and U.S. president Barack Obama at the Three Amigos Summit on Wednesday.

A new poll from Angus Reid says only one in four Canadians believe NAFTA has been good for them.

Conversely, roughly the same number says NAFTA is bad for Canadians.

READ MORE: North American trade must be promoted in post-Brexit world: Gary Doer

The rest of us aren’t sure: 22 per cent of respondents say it hasn’t had an impact and 27 per cent say they aren’t sure what the effects of the agreement are.

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The poll says the demographics of the answers closely follow that of the Brexit debate: the older you are, the more negatively you see NAFTA.

But that doesn’t mean that Canadians want to leave the agreement, like the British people wanted to leave the EU: only nine percent of respondents want to scrap the treaty.

Most people (34 per cent) wanted the treaty to be renegotiated.

READ MORE:Activists urge Trudeau to push Mexico on human rights ahead of Three Amigos summit

NAFTA, as well as security, is at the top of the collective Canadian mind heading into the Three Amigos Summit.

Twenty per cent of respondents each called NAFTA and public security as their top priority for discussion between the three North American leaders.

Climate change comes in as a close third with 17 per cent, and 13 per cent said business and investment should be a major topic.

Other concerns include organized crime, border control and infrastructure.

Angus Reid polled 1519 people with an margin of error +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Closer ties to Mexico

Pena Nieto is currently in Quebec City before heading to Ottawa for an official state visit, in a public display of Canada-Mexico cooperation.

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WATCH: Mexican president arrives in Quebec, focused on economic ties with Canada

Click to play video: 'Mexican president arrives in Quebec, focused on economic ties with Canada' Mexican president arrives in Quebec, focused on economic ties with Canada
Mexican president arrives in Quebec, focused on economic ties with Canada – Jun 27, 2016

Ahead of the summit, the poll said the majority of Canadians (69 per cent of respondents) support closer ties to Mexico.

READ MORE: Canada to welcome Mexican president ahead of Three Amigos summit in Ottawa

But it also said that Canadians are wary of that, when asked if respondents believed that Mexico “is a risky venture for Canadian businesses,” nearly four out of 10 agreed.

It’s a view that has changed over the past five years. When asked about whether their view on Mexico was favourable or not, 36 per cent of respondents chose the latter. That’s down from 48 per cent of respondents from a similar question on a different Angus Reid poll in 2011.

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One point of contention between Canada and Mexico is the (fairly recent) requirement of Mexicans to acquire a visa before visiting our country. It was put into place after a rise in asylum claims from Mexicans.

Trudeau has committed to lifting the visa requirement, but Canadians are divided on the issue; 36 per cent of respondents support removing the requirement, and 37 per cent oppose it. The other 27 per cent are unsure on the issue.

READ MORE: Visa lift for Mexicans unlikely to coincide with Three Amigos summit

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