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Canadians polarized on support for war: poll
Last Updated Sat, 07 Dec 2002 17:41:37

OTTAWA - Canadians are split on whether to support a war in Iraq. A new poll suggests that 41 per cent of Canadians would be against joining an attack.

Poll results (pdf file)
"We couldn't find an issue that could possibly be any more polarized than this particular issue," said Frank Graves of Ekos Research.

In a poll commissioned by the CBC, Toronto Star and La Presse, Ekos spoke with 1,205 Canadians across the country on Dec. 2-4.

The pollsters found that support for military action in Iraq among those polled was 40 per cent.

Not only are Canadians as a whole divided on the issue, they are also divided by region.

The pollsters found "quite striking differences across different the regions," Graves said.

Quebec 23%
B.C. 34%
Prairies 41%
Atlantic 44%
Ontario 48%
Alberta 57%
National 40%

Support for war is lowest in Quebec, where 23 per cent of those polled would support an attack.

Albertans, the poll suggests, would be much more willing to go to war, with 57 per cent showing support.

"This is bound to be an issue which is going to generate a lot of controversy, probably more heat than light, and one that's going to be very difficult for the government to find a centre path," said Graves.

Ekos pollsters also asked what Canadians think of this country's relationship with the United States.

Of those polled, 65 per cent said the White House has no business telling Canada how much money to spend on defence.

And just over half, 52 per cent, said they thought relations between the countries have deteriorated in the past year.

Who's the greatest threat?
Saddam 65%
Bush 38%

Asked whether U.S. President George Bush or Iraq's Saddam Hussein posed the greatest threat to world security and peace, 65 per cent voted for Saddam.

"Although it's somewhat comforting to know that Canadians think Saddam Hussein is a greater threat," said Graves, "there were sizeable minorities, almost 40 per cent of Canadians, who thought George W. Bush was a more dangerous threat to world security."

The survey's national results are considered accurate within 2.8 percentage points 19 times out of 20.

Written by CBC News Online staff

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