Israel's military launched the surprise large-scale exercise on Wednesday on the occupied Golan Heights, testing its battle readiness amid tensions over Iran's nuclear drive and civil war in Syria.
Credits: REUTERS/BAZ RATNER
OTTAWA - Canadians overwhelmingly see Iran and its nuclear program as a threat to Israel and Europe, but few are ready to back military action against the Tehran regime.
A poll released Friday by Abacus Data suggests a deep division in Canadian public opinion over how to interact with Iran.
Canadians are overwhelmingly skeptical about Iran's insistence its nuclear program is for peaceful means. Most believe Iran is using it to build a nuclear weapon within in the next five years, and that it's willing to use it.
Still, they don't feel Iran directly threatens Canada. Rather, Canadians say Israel and Europe face the most peril.
Pollster David Coletto noted that may explain why - despite viewing Iran as a clear and present danger to global peace and security - Canadians are hesitant to support a military strike against the Mideast nation.
Canadians instead favoured stricter economic sanctions or cyber-warfare as ways to weaken the regime. Conservative supporters were more hawkish when it came to considering Canadian involvement in an Israeli-led counter-attack on Iran.
"Everybody agrees (Iran is) a problem," Coletto said. "The solution is where the political division happens."
In recent months, Israel has hinted strongly it is considering a military strike against Iran's nuclear sites. "The international community cannot allow the Iranian regime to pursue a military nuclear capability," said a spokesman from the Embassy of Israel on Thursday, adding his country preferred a diplomatic solution to the ongoing tensions with Iran.
Meanwhile, Canadians generally supported the Conservative government's decision earlier this month to cut all diplomatic ties with Iran and boot Iranian diplomats from Canada.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird said the decision was made over Iran's ongoing support for President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria, its refusal to comply with the UN resolutions over its nuclear program and its anti-Israel rhetoric.
Abacus surveyed 1,208 online respondents between Sept. 12 and Sept. 18, 2012.
A margin of error could not be calculated because the online survey wasn't a random, probability-based sample. But the margin for a survey of 1,200 respondents using a probability sample would be reliable within 2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.