Canadians are more concerned about the international threat China poses than they are about Russia.
A poll commissioned by the Macdonald-Laurier Institute found that 79% of Canadians said China poses a serious or moderate threat to the security of Canada, while only 68% believed the same with regard to Russia.
Another 22% of people polled said they only viewed China as posing a minor or no threat at all, while 33% viewed Russia in the same way.
“This study confirms yet again how out of sync the Government of Canada is with public opinion on China’s emerging threat to Canadian sovereignty and national security,” said MLI Senior Fellow Charles Burton in a news release on the poll.
“As a consequence, the credibility of Canada’s claim of principled commitment to the international rules-based order rings hollower and hollower as the years go by.”
Canadian attitudes towards Beijing have shifted dramatically in the past few years. Since the retaliatory arrest of Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor by Chinese authorities, perception of China has plummeted to an all-time low.
Another poll from July by the Innovative Research Group showed that 53% of Canadians don’t trust China to act fairly.
“Chinese Canadians are often under-represented in public debates and the survey not only tells people what they think in these unprecedented times, it also sheds light on the diversity within the Chinese-Canadian community,” IRG research manager Vanessa Agrawal told Vancouver is Awesome.
Another poll from October conducted by Pew Research shows that 73% of Canadians had a very unfavourable or somewhat unfavourable opinion of China.
Instead of taking responsibility for how China is viewed, a spokesperson for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs blamed Canadian politicians and the Liberal government for the anti-China attitudes among Canadians.
“I have noted this opinion poll you mentioned. You said that it showed more Canadians now hold negative opinions towards China. I want to tell you that it is because of the Meng Wanzhou incident I just mentioned,” Zhao told the Globe and Mail in response to a question on a recent Pew Research poll.
“These politicians in Canada should think it over: why are more people in Canada now viewing China unfavorably? It is several Canadian politicians and the Canadian government that are at the bottom of this.”