Majority wants Canada to do more for refugees

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Majority wants Canada to do more for refugees

Conservatives, Albertans opposed

TORONTO September 10th, 2015 - In a random sampling of public opinion taken by the Forum Poll™ among 1308 Canadian voters, the majority say Canada can do more for Syrian refugees than settling the 10,000 who have been promised refuge over the next two years (52%). More than one third disagree Canada should do more to help (38%) and one tenth don’t have an opinion (10%). Approval of more help for refugees is common to mid income groups ($40K to $100K - 58%), in Atlantic Canada (60%), among Liberals (60%) and, especially, New Democrats (70%) and among the best educated (post grad - 67%). Opposition to taking in more than the 10,000 refugees promised is characteristic of males (42%), in Quebec (44%) and Alberta (50%), among Conservatives (67%) and among those with some college or university (44%).

On average, Canadians think about 28,000 refugees can be settled

On average, Canadians think about 28,000 refugees ideally can be settled in Canada. The largest single group, 3-in-10, opts for the 10,000 already promised (30%), while 4-in-10 think more than this is possible (41%). One twentieth think over 100,000 refugees should be settled in Canada. Average numbers are higher among younger voters and in BC.

Bombing, humanitarian aid and negotiations all mentioned as solutions to crisis

The leading suggestions for resolving the refugee crisis are to continue bombing ISIS targets (19%), followed by sending humanitarian aid to refugee camps and working towards a negotiated settlement to the conflict (16% each). Other suggestions are airlifting refugees out now (12%), increasing visa issuing staff (11%) and relaxing the rules regarding refugees (7%). Continuing to bomb ISIS targets is a strongly held Conservative position (41%), while Liberals are strongly in favour of airlifts (19%).

Conservatives seen to have best plan for resolving crisis

One quarter of voters say the Conservatives have the best plan for dealing with the refugee crisis (24%) while the NDP (19%) and the Liberals (18%) are not far behind. One sixth say none of the parties has a solution (16%) while one quarter doesn’t share an opinion (23%). Conservatives are most convinced their party’s approach is best (69%) compared to Liberals (48%) or New Democrats (43%), both of who are more likely to say either that no party has a solution or that they don’t know.

 “It’s unfortunate that a critical humanitarian issue like the Syrian refugee crisis has become a partisan conflict, and that the polarizing effect of party allegiances is colouring the genuine warmth and generosity of Canadians to those in peril," said Forum Research President, Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.

Lorne Bozinoff, Ph.D. is the president and founder of Forum Research. He can be reached at or at (416) 960-9603.