Canadians’ perceptions of their southern neighbours are rebounding following the election of U.S. President Joe Biden, according to a new survey.
The survey, conducted and commissioned by Nanos Research, asked more than 1,000 Canadians between Jan. 31 and Feb. 4 to rank their level of comfort with international partners, in terms of those countries or regions they feel Canada has a positive relationship with and one that’s also beneficial.
Fifty-one per cent of respondents selected the U.S., up from 34 per cent in 2019, when Europe was listed first. This year, Europe ranked second with 38 per cent of votes, while seven per cent of Canadians were “unsure.”
Of those that ranked the U.S. as the partner they’re most comfortable with, 28.5 per cent listed “physical proximity” as the main reason for their view, followed by 18.2 per cent who identified “largest/important trading partner.”
The survey results come as Biden and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau hold their first face-to-face virtual bilateral meeting Tuesday afternoon, where the two leaders will discuss and then unveil a “partnership roadmap” for the future of the Canada-U.S. relationship.
U.S. AS A TRADING PARTNER
In line with the findings above, Canadians feel more positive about the Canada-U.S. trade relationship than they did in 2019.
Thirty per cent feel “positive,” up from 19 per cent in 2019, while the number of those that feel “negative” about the trade relationship has declined from 17 per cent to five per cent.
Quebec residents feel most “positive or somewhat positive,” about trade ties with the U.S., followed by B.C., Ontario, Atlantic Canada, and the Prairies.
CHINA AS A TRADING PARTNER
Notably, respondents’ opinions about trade relations with China have declined since 2019.
Thirty-eight per cent said they had a “negative” opinion of China in terms of being a positive trade partner, up from 25 per cent in 2019. Only three per cent said they currently feel “positive” about the relationship.
Quebec residents feel most “positive/somewhat positive” about Canada’s relationship with the superpower, followed by Atlantic Canada, B.C., the Prairies, and Ontario.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated since 2018 when Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were jailed on allegations of state spying, largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of Huawei executive Meng Wanzhou at the request of the U.S. days prior in Vancouver.
The Canadian government maintains the freedom of Spavor and Kovrig is a top priority, despite little signs of progress and limited consular access.
On Monday, MPs voted en masse to declare China’s treatment of the Uighur Muslims a genocide – allegations that Chinese officials vehemently reject.
Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land-and cell-lines) random telephone survey of 1,036 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between January 31stand February 4th, 2021. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada. The sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.
Individuals were randomly called using random digit dialing with a maximum of five call backs.
The margin of error for this survey is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
The research was commissioned and conducted by Nanos Research.
With a file from CTV News’ Rachel Aiello