When you talk to Canadians, you develop the impression that they’re a tolerant lot that largely rejects the disaffected rhetoric sweeping countries around the world.
But there is at least one area concerning immigrants in which Canadians feel stronger than people from many other countries, including the U.S., said an Ipsos poll provided exclusively to Global News Wednesday night.
Canadians mostly shun a harder-edged approach on issues such as immigration, terrorism and confidence in institutions, a study titled “Power to the People?” found.
For example, only 37 per cent of Canadians agreed with the statement “Society is broken,” compared to 66 per cent in the United States and 79 per cent in Poland, where that feeling was strongest.
Canadians also showed comparatively more confidence in institutions like banks, the justice system and the media than people in other countries did.
They also appeared to show more tolerant attitudes on immigration — in most instances, anyway.
Canadians were among the least likely to feel like strangers in their own country, and to worry about the effects of immigration on jobs.
They were, however, on the higher end of countries who didn’t feel that Canada would be better off with uncontrolled immigration.
It tied it with France, and came up behind only Israel (77 per cent), Belgium (72 per cent), Hungary (72 per cent) and Serbia (72 per cent).
Canada also outranked the United States, where only 57 per cent disagreed that their country would be better off if America let in all the immigrants who wanted to go there.
Israel, Hungary and Belgium also ranked near the top of the list of countries whose respondents felt their nations would be stronger if immigration were stopped altogether (Canada was on the lower end of that list).
“I think they are worried about the issue of security,” Ipsos president Darrell Bricker said of Canadians, in an interview with Global News.
“There is some concern about some of the things that have been happening negatively in the Middle East finding their way here.”
At the same time, Bricker said that Canadians showed a “sense of fairness” around immigration.
“They’re just not open anybody at any time,” he said.
Canada has welcomed over 40,000 Syrian refugees since Nov. 4, 2015. And in accepting them, the Canadian government is acting “a little on the edge of Canadians’ level of tolerance,” Bricker added.
“There’s just a sort of general embracing of the idea of particularly humanitarian types of immigration, particularly from that part of the world, that the Canadian public’s more tentative about,” he said.
Canadians nevertheless think very differently from other countries that not only feel more strongly that the system is broken, but are also experiencing more nativist attitudes.
Countries experiencing these feelings include Israel, France, Italy, Hungary and Turkey.
Most of these countries have been dealing with a combination of immigration and people who feel “deeply disaffected by their current governments.”
“France is a great example,” Bricker said.
“People’s attitudes about immigration, particularly Islamic, and given the terrorist incidents there and in Belgium, people are very on edge there.”
The survey gleaned its data from 16,597 interviews with adults aged 18 to 64 years old in 23 countries, between Oct. 21 and Nov. 4.
The countries were Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Israel, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Peru, Poland, South Africa, South Korea, Serbia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey and the U.S.
Between 500 and just over 1,000 people participated in each country via the Ipsos Online Panel. Results from countries where 1,000 were polled were accurate to within +/- 3.5 percentage points.
Data from countries where 500 were polled was accurate to within five percentage points.