Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Didn't Link Syrian Refugees with Increased Terror Risk, Poll Suggests

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Canadians Didn't Link Syrian Refugees with Increased Terror Risk, Poll Suggests

Article excerpt

Syrian refugee poll also explored terrorism

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OTTAWA - People who backed a plan to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada in a matter of months largely expected no increased risk of terrorism as a result, newly released federal polling information reveals.

About 44 per cent of those surveyed in November were in support of the plan. And of them, about 60 per cent thought there would be no change to the terrorism threat facing Canada in the next six months.

However, 35 per cent of respondents didn't support the plan were concerned, and 55 per cent of them told pollsters they thought the threat of terrorism in Canada would increase in the next six months.

Overall, the results suggest that while people around the world may directly link immigration with terrorist threats, that's generally not what is happening in Canada, said one expert.

The telephone poll of 1,512 Canadians was carried out by Harris/Decima between Nov. 18 and 24, 2015 and had a margin of error of 2.5 per cent, 19 times out of 20.

The poll was carried out just before the Liberals revealed how they were going to meet a campaign promise to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of 2015. The plan they launched kept the target but pushed back the date to February 2016.

The poll also came on the heels of a terrorist attack at a Paris nightclub linked to Islamic militants.

It is unusual for the Immigration Department to ask explicit questions on terrorism in a poll about attitudes towards immigration, said Jack Jedwab, the director of the Canadian Institute of Identities and Migration.

Terrorism is usually a matter for public safety, he said.

"When the immigration authorities use it, the pollster is suggesting a potential link there, even though it's being refuted by a lot of people -- which is nice to see," he said.

The $83,486 contract for the poll had actually been signed by the previous Conservative government for the annual tracking of attitudes towards immigration.

But a spokeswoman for the department said after the election, the questions were repurposed. …

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