A new Ipsos poll for Global News CA shows why Canada’s provinces are starting to cave to the Freedom Convoy’s demands to lift Covid mandates, including “vaccine passports.”
The polling shows that despite intense slanted coverage from the mainstream press, nearly half of Canadians have sympathy for the movement’s cause, while young people have strong support for the Freedom Convoy’s concerns.
“Nearly half (46%) of Canadians say they ‘may not agree with everything the people who have taken part in the truck protests in Ottawa have said, but their frustration is legitimate and worthy of our sympathy’,” Ipsos reports. It notes, remarkably, that the “proportion of 18-34-year-olds who adopt this point of view is 61%, while those aged 35-54 (44%) and 55+ (37%) are much less likely to agree.”
But another key insight from the poll is the breakdown of support for the Freedom Convoy by Canadian province.
“Regionally, those in Alberta (58%) and Saskatchewan and Manitoba (58%) are most likely to align with this argument, while a sizeable minority in Quebec (47%), Ontario (44%), Atlantic Canada (43%), and British Columbia (36%) agree,” Ipsos remarks about the Freedom Convoy’s arguments. “Politically, most Conservative voters (59%) are on this side of the argument, while a minority of Bloc (44%), NDP (43%) and Liberal (30%) voters are also aligned.”
This broad base of support for the Freedom Convoy is also enlightening: It is not cordoned to one faction, but has garnered sympathy from the major political camps. This suggests that the resistance to its demands would crumble over time.
There were further insights gathered as Canadian politics observers reacted to the findings.
It's also further proof, given other polls showing much less support for the protests, that the responses pollsters get depend on the questions they ask, which is nothing new.
— Lorrie Goldstein (@sunlorrie) February 11, 2022
“Considering how negatively most MSM have covered protests, it’s astounding to me the Global/Ipsos poll says 46% of Cdns urveyed & 61% of young people 18-34 say while they may not agree with all of the protesters’ tactics, their frustrations are legitimate & deserve sympathy,” Toronto Sun columnsit Lorrie Goldstein observed. “It’s also further proof, given other polls showing much less support for the protests, that the responses pollsters get depend on the questions they ask, which is nothing new.”
“The police state approach is not going to work if 61% of young people are in support of what the protests symbolize,” retired journalist Yvonne C. said. “Government has to see it now! Any heavy-handedness will not go over well. Remove the restrictions. All of them. Now!”
The premiers of Alberta and Saskatchewan have already made serious concessions on Covid regulations under pressure from the truckers’ strike, while backchannel reports out of Ontario suggest that premier Doug Ford is about to make an announcement to do away with vaccine passports.
A brand new secret recording of Ontario premier Doug Ford reveals that he is maneuvering to hand the Freedom Convoy protesters a huge victory on vaccine passports, Rebel News reports.
“We’re pulling these passports,” Ford says in the video leaked to Rebel News. “We’re going to get back to normal. I can’t get you the exact date, but it’s going to be very soon. I’ll be speaking over the next few days. Friday I’m going to put out a statement. Monday I’ll be giving some dates. And we’re going to move forward.”
The Canadian premier in Ontario earlier on Thursday, however, signaled confrontational actions to be taken against Freedom Convoy protesters, including blocking all financial and material aid to the movement.
Ford, who is the premier for Canada’s most populous province, had issued the following statement:
“Today, the Attorney General brought an application in the Superior Court of Justice for an order pursuant to section 490.8 of the Criminal Code prohibiting any person from disposing of, or otherwise dealing with, in any manner whatsoever, any and all monetary donations made through the Freedom Convoy 2022 and Adopt-a-Trucker campaign pages on the GiveSend Go online fundraising platform.”
“This afternoon, the order was issued,” the premier said. “It binds any and all parties with possession or control over these donations.”
The GiveSendGo campaign for Freedom Convoy 2022 had just cleared 8.4 million dollars.
The Canadian premier’s sudden about-face would potentially de-escalate a confrontation that had threatened to become an international incident.
The Biden administration on Thursday called on the Canadian government to use its federal powers to “end the truck blockade by Canadians protesting the country’s COVID-19 restrictions,” the AP reported.
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas and Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg discussed the situation with Canadian officials. They urged their Canadian counterparts “to use Federal powers to resolve this situation at our joint border,” the report noted.
The Canadian premiers have decided that there is another way to resolve the conflict rather than crush the peaceful protest: Concede to reasonable demands to respect human rights.
OPINION: This article contains commentary which reflects the author's opinion.