A poll conducted in late February has found that a majority of Canadians believe that Chinese interference in the 2019 and 2021 general elections is an issue to be taken seriously. 

The Angus Reid Institute poll conducted between February 23-25, found that 53% of Canadians perceive the allegations of China’s interference in Canadian elections to be a serious issue while 23% of Canadians believe that the situation is being overblown.

Along party lines, 72% of Conservative voters agreed that Chinese election interference is a serious issue, 60% of Bloc voters agree with the sentiment, and a plurality of Liberal and NDP voters agree with 43% and 39% confidence respectively. 

This poll comes after a series of reports from The Globe & Mail and Global News that revealed the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) has documented alleged interference into Canadian elections and candidate nomination races in 2019 and 2021. The reports claim that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau was made aware of this intelligence, drawing scrutiny over his government’s lack of action.

By-in-large, Canadians want PM Trudeau to take a tougher stance on China, as 53% of Canadians believe that Canada hasn’t done enough and needs to take further action. Nearly 80% of Conservative voters agree with this sentiment, while 66% of Liberals believe that Trudeau has done enough. 

While a majority of Canadians believe that the federal government should stand up to China, an even larger majority of 69% believe that the Trudeau government is afraid to stand up to China, a sentiment that a plurality of Liberal voters agree with. Over 90% of Conservative voters agree, nearly 80% of Bloc voters, and 62% of NDP voters. 

However, Canadians are of split mind on the economic consequences that standing up to China may have. 46% of Canadians say they are worried about the economic consequences of challenging China, while an equal share are not concerned with the consequences. Canadians are becoming far less concerned with the economic consequences of such action, as only 37% of Canadians weren’t worried in Angus Reid’s January poll. 

The polling period was conducted as major reports on the Chinese election interference story were being revealed, as a Global News report outlining allegations against Liberal MP Han Dong was published on February 24, the second day of Angus Reid’s polling period. 

The Angus Reid poll surveyed 1622 Canadian adults. A survey with a probability sample of this size would carry a margin of error of +/- 2 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.