Politics
Canadian public opinion set against First Nations protesters

Credits: SARAH-EVE CHARLAND

DAVID AKIN | PARLIAMENTARY BUREAU CHIEF

OTTAWA - Even as First Nations activists threaten blockades that could harm the economy, Canadian public opinion appears squarely set against those activists.

Ipsos Reid, in a poll released Tuesday, found that about two-thirds of Canadians believe Canada's aboriginal people's receive too much support from federal taxpayers; that aboriginal peoples are treated well by the government; and that most of the problems of native peoples are brought on by themselves.

That said, the poll also found that two-thirds of Canadians believe the federal government must act now to improve the quality of life for Canada's aboriginal peoples.

And, when asked whether the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper or Canada's First Nations were "being reasonable", a majority - 56% -- said "none of the above."

The poll was conducted between Friday and Monday, after a week of high-profile protests in Ottawa and across the country, many of which were associated with the Idle No More movement, a broad grassroots movement that, its founders and adherents say, is frustrated with both the federal government and current First Nations leadership.

In its poll, done for Global Television and Postmedia News, Ipsos tried to measure the credibility of the many different actors involved in last week's drama. It found that First Nations leaders, including Assembly of First Nations led by National Chief Shawn Atleo, had the approval of 51% of Canadians. Harper had the approval of 46% of Canadians for the way he dealt with last week's events. (Those who voted Conservative in the last election gave him a 78% approval rating).

But the Idle No More movement received the approval of just 38% of Canadians.

And Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence was viewed approvingly by just 29% of Canadians.

"These data show that the national leadership of Canada's First Nations have distinguished themselves as the representatives for Canada's First Nations in the minds of Canadians, and that Prime Minister Stephen Harper maintains a credible position, especially with his voters," Ipsos said in its release. "It's also clear that Attawapiskat Chief Spence is struggling to build public support."

For this survey, Ipsos surveyed 1,023 Canadians using an online interview.

The pollster's method is widely used and, according to the industry association of which the pollster is a member, is believed to be capable of producing accurate results.

The pollster claims its results are accurate to within 3.5 percentage points.

For this survey, Ipsos surveyed 1,023 Canadians using an online interview.

The pollster's method is widely used and, according to the industry association of which the pollster is a member, is believed to be capable of producing accurate results.

The pollster claims its results are accurate to within 3.5 percentage points.

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