According to an Ipsos Reid poll conducted for Global Media, nearly 2/3 (a clear majority as it were) of Canadians support sending fighter jets to help the latest US led mission into the Middle East. The poll, conducted before Mr. Harper’s speech to the commons, says 64% of Canadians support going east. This is apparently just 6% less than the percentage of Canadians who supported us getting into Libya—you know, where we helped overthrow the previous dictator to make way for the most recent one (or ones).
What Global doesn’t tell you is exactly how passionately Canadians feel about the situation. Thankfully, the good people at Ipsos Reid did that for us! Only 29% (less than a third) strongly support getting involved. At the Opposite end, only 16% strongly oppose the planned mission. The other 55% of Canadians only somewhat support or somewhat oppose the combat mission. The supporters do outweigh the opposers, but as per usual, the majority of Canadians fall right in the middle.
While a majority of Canadians are only somewhat sure of their positions, Mr. Mulcair, Mr. Trudeau, and Mr. Harper believe that Canadians do feel strongly one way or the other. I guess our leaders are acting more like Trustees than Delegates at the moment. Nevertheless, they all seem to agree on two things
1) ISIS is bad
2) The other parties (Government vs. Opposition) are going about it in the wrong way.
Justin Trudeau got a lot of heat about his refusal to support the mission, particularly his comments about finding some better way to contribute those six aging aircrafts. I mean, if that’s all we can send, that’s all we can send. Since Harper won’t elaborate on our current capability, Trudeau accused the Prime Minister of failing to offer clarity, a plan, or the truth (this time in regard to Canada’s involvement in Iraq).
Conservative MP Laurie Hawn, former Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister of Defence, broke the mold in his comments to the media about the Opposition’s reaction. Broke the mold in that he didn’t reiterate exactly what had already been said. Mr. Hawn suggested that the NDP’s opposition to going to war was expected. “It’s in their DNA,” he said.“They’re just not going to support anything…doing what military has to do!” Hawn was likely referring to how the NDP’s predecessor, the CCF opposed Canada getting into World War II. Except, while their leader did (J. S. Woodsworth), 6 of the 7 CCF MPs (including Tommy Douglas) disagreed with their leader and supported Canada entering World War II, not opposed it. Oops, Mr. Hawn you just made an accusation which wasn’t quite true, if that was what you meant.
But Conservative MP Hawn did something far worse while denouncing Justin Trudeau’s opinion on the government’s plan. The Liberals refuse to support it as it stands, and feel that sending six aging planes is probably not the best way for us to contribute. Hawn said that this was (yet another) “indication of their leader’s lack of experience and maturity in international affairs…” Did you see what was missing there? Hawn forgot to plug “he’s in over his head.” After all, that’s still the Conservative’s new election slogan isn’t it?
John Geddes, a Maclean’s journalist in the House the day of the speeches, gave a very Canadian response to the whole affair. Mr. Harper’s goals are laudable and he is only asking a little. Of course, by doing so, he is backing the opposition parties into a corner. Paul Wells, another journalist consulted by Maclean’s paints the Opposition as both allowed to make comparisons to the last Iraq war, while, at the same time, they shouldn’t be.
According to them, at the end of the day, none of our politicians are crazy about this mission one way or the other. Nor are the Canadian people strongly in favour of or opposed to said mission. How Canadian, Eh?