A new Ipsos poll suggests Canadians would prefer a hardliner position above re-establishing diplomatic ties with Iran over the targeted shooting of a Ukrainian airliner that killed 57 Canadians on board.
The poll, released on Wednesday, showed 76 per cent of Canadians surveyed would support increased sanctions against the Iranian government, while 89 per cent said they wanted the Trudeau government to press Iran to pay damages to Canadian families affected by the plane crash.
The poll was conducted on behalf of Global News between Jan. 24 and 27, interviewing a sample of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 years and up online.
It found strong support for a hardliner position among voters of every party, including the Conservatives, Liberals, New Democrats and Bloc Quebecois.
“What we get out of this survey is, as of right now, Canadians want to see that the government is standing up for Canadians and are asking the Iranian government to respond in some way to what happened rather than to just show resolve on the part of the Canadian government,” said Sebastien Dallaire, Ipsos’ premier vice-president.
On the other side, six in 10 of respondents said they would support re-establishing formal diplomatic ties with Iran, like re-opening a Canadian embassy.
On this issue, support was divided among party lines. While a majority of Liberal voters (66 per cent), NDP (69 per cent), and Bloc (63 per cent) voters supported this course of action, only 47 per cent of Conservative voters said they would like to re-establish formal ties with Iran.
Overall, Dallaire said the results were unsurprising.
“We’re at the stage in this overall situation where what we’re noticing is Canadians want some action taken now and maybe establishing better relationships with the Iranian government comes in second place right now, even though there’s still a majority of Canadians who want to normalize relations,” he said.
Based on the results of the poll, Dallaire said the “message is one of wanting to be in a position of strength and making demands.”
The Ukrainian plane crash on Jan. 8 occurred moments after an Iranian retaliatory missile strike against the United States, which hit two American military bases in Iraq, one of which was near the city of Irbil that housed Canadian soldiers. The Boeing 737-800 crashed five minutes after take-off from Tehran’s airport. All 176 people on board were killed.
Iranian officials first insisted the plane went down due to a mechanical issue but eventually admitted three days later the country’s Revolutionary Guard accidentally shot down the plane, gearing up for a potential military encounter with the U.S.
Canada’s relationship with Iran has been fraught over the last two decades.
In 2016, the Liberal Party announced its willingness to re-engage and potentially restore diplomatic ties with Iran. One year earlier, Canada acted as lead sponsor for a United Nations resolution that condemned Iran’s human rights violations.
Canada closed its embassy in Tehran in 2012 and expelled its Iranian diplomats from the country, severing diplomatic ties after Iran defied a UN Security Council resolution about its nuclear program. To date, it has not been re-opened.
Under Stephen Harper’s leadership, Conservatives labelled Iran as a state supporter of terrorism, listing the Revolutionary Guard and the Quds Force, led by Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as terrorist entities.
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.” This poll was conducted between Jan. 24 and Jan. 27, with a sample of 1,000 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. This poll is accurate to within plus or minus 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled.