Majority of B.C. Chinese Canadians back government non-intervention in Meng Wanzhou case: Poll

Huawei chief financial officer Meng Wanzhou, centre, who is out on bail and remains under partial house arrest after she was detained Dec. 1 at the behest of American authorities, is accompanied by a private security detail as she leaves her home to attend a court appearance in Vancouver, on Wednesday March 6, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck

A new poll has found that a majority of Chinese Canadians in B.C. back the government’s choice not to intervene in the extradition case facing Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou.

The survey, conducted by Innovative Research Group and the Canada Committee 100 Society, found 54 per cent of Chinese Canadian British Columbians backed the government’s position.

Just 15 per cent said they opposed it.

The poll found a pattern of support for the government position, regardless of when respondents immigrated, in what language they consumed media or their mother tongue.

Meng, who is due back in court on Wednesday, was arrested at the Vancouver International Airport at the request of U.S. officials in December. She is accused of conspiring to violate U.S. sanctions against Iran.

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Canada has rejected China’s demands that Meng be released, arguing that it cannot interfere with the rule of law.

According to the survey, members of the Chinese community older than 35 tended to support the government more strongly (60-63 per cent) than those under 35 (37 per cent).

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It also found differences depending on respondents’ place of birth. Those born in Canada were less likely to support the government’s position (37 per cent) than those born in mainland China (54 per cent), or Hong Kong and Taiwan (63 per cent).

“The relatively low support among the younger generation and the Canadian-born Chinese are largely because they are more likely to be uncertain, not because they are more opposed to the Government’s position,” said Innovative Research Group research manager Vanessa Kong.

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The poll also found a correlation between how knowledgeable respondents were about the Canadian justice system and the Huawei case, and how likely they were to back the Canadian government’s decision.

Meng remains in Vancouver on bail, but under electronic monitoring and the supervision of a security company.

She is living in one of two multi-million dollar houses she owns in the city.

Both she and Huawei have denied any wrongdoing.

The Innovated Research Group poll was conducted online between April 18 and April 29, from a sample of 413 Chinese Canadian adults.

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University of Manitoba Prof. Christopher Adams, one of the experts who wrote a report on the failure of polling during the 2017 Calgary election, said consumers of opinion polls should be aware of potential challenges with polls that use small sample sizes, are drawn from non-random samples and which rely heavily on weighting.

Adams said a randomly sampled poll with a pool of 400 respondents would be at the “low end” of acceptable, and would produce a margin of error of plus or minus seven or eight per cent.

However, he said getting a random pool of 400 people from a smaller demographic, such as Chinese Canadians can be difficult.

“If you’re targeting a specific demographic, and that is difficult to do, and if you’re doing it correctly, if the poll is being done properly, like proper random, with a proper questionnaire where you aren’t pushing something … where you’re reaching everybody in the research population [who] has had a chance to be sampled, even though they weren’t contacted, then you’re starting to talk about a good quality poll,” he said.

Adams added that in an online poll, which does not rely on purely random probability, the source of the sample group is also crucial.

“How did these people get recruited into the online sample?” he said. “If it’s acquired through of a very good quality process then I would say it’s probably a good survey.”

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Innovative Research said it found respondents through a variety of “traditional and non-traditional sources,” due to challenges connecting with first generation immigrants, Sources included Innovative’s existing Canada 20/20 panel, along with the use of social networks and referrals as a way to reduce self-selection.

Innovative Research says the results were weighted by demographic, linguistic and immigration attributes to reflect B.C.’s Chinese Canadian demographic composition.

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