Half of Canadians think the trucker protest is behaving badly, but understand their frustration: Poll

Protesters stand on the top of a truck parked in front of the Parliament buildings during a demonstration against COVID-19 restrictions, in Ottawa, Saturday, Feb. 5, 2022. Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press.

As the trucker protest continues in downtown Ottawa, nearly half of Canadians say they agree with the frustration of the protesters but disagree with their behaviour, according to an opinion poll conducted over the weekend for The Hub.

Fifteen percent of Canadians strongly agree and 33 percent somewhat agree that they don’t like the protesters’ behaviour but understand their grievances, according to the survey designed by Public Square Research and Maru/Blue.

Canadians are also getting frustrated with the public discourse on the restrictions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Sixty-five percent of Canadians agree that “it’s been hard to have a conversation about COVID-19 without people getting mad.”

A strong majority of Canadians are simply tired of the protesters, though.

As the Ottawa blockage approaches two weeks, 69 percent of Canadians agree that it “went too far and has gone on too long.” Sixty-four percent of respondents are concerned about the protest becoming violent and getting out of control and 59 percent say they are afraid of “right-wing extremists getting more power” due to the protests.

The poll also found that 51 percent of Canadians think we should “do whatever it takes” to shut down the protest, even if that means calling in the army.

The protest, which has set up shop in front of Parliament Hill, has been roiling Canadian politics and MPs launched an emergency debate Monday night to discuss it.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the protests have crossed a line and that he would offer federal resources to deal with the blockade in downtown Ottawa.

“This pandemic has sucked for all Canadians,” said Trudeau. But the protest “has to stop.”

Interim Conservative Party leader Candice Bergen said the country is so divided right now that “we are in uncharted territory,” arguing that Trudeau’s pandemic policies and rhetoric have made the problem worse.

The poll shows 52 percent of Canadians share Bergen’s concerns about the country becoming more divided due to the trucker protest.

Even with protests breaking out across the country over the weekend, most Canadians are still relatively content with the pandemic restrictions they’ve faced in the last two years.

While 23 percent of Canadians “strongly agree” that the pandemic restrictions “went too far and have gone on too long,” 58 percent either somewhat or strongly disagree with that statement.

Forty-six percent of Canadians say they no longer feel the same sense of pride about being Canadian, in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

One thing Canadians agree on is that it’s time to pump some money into the health-care system.

Eighty-three percent of Canadians agree that the system needs more money for beds to care for cancer and heart patients and that politicians should “stop using COVID-19 patients or protesters as an excuse.”

The poll was conducted using an online omnibus survey of 1,520 Canadians from the Maru Voice panel from Feb. 4 to Feb. 6.

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