Potential Elements of Perimeter Security Deal Garners Strong Support

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The latest Canadian Press/Harris Decima survey asked about the potential security perimeter deal between Canada and the US

Four hypothetical elements of a Canada-US security partnership were tested, with respondents being asked how strongly they would support or oppose the element being included in a Canada-US security perimeter deal. The elements were; Shared intelligence gathering, a bilateral agency to oversee the building of border infrastructure, harmonizing safety regulations for food products, and requiring visas to cross the border

  • Harmonizing safety regulations for food products is the element that garners the most support among Canadians. Nationally, 84% of respondents are supportive of such an element being part of a Canada-US security perimeter, while 13% are opposed. This initiative garners wide support nation-wide, with no less than 80% in any particular region supporting it. New Democrats are slightly less likely than other voting blocks to support the idea.
  • The notion of shared intelligence gathering also garners widespread support. Overall, 75% are supportive of shared intelligence gathering being part of a perimeter deal, while 20% are opposed. Once again, the notion holds wide support across the county with more than 2 in 3 respondents in each region supporting such an initiative. Those over the age of 50 are less likely than those younger to support the idea, but even among this age group, more than 70% indicate they are supportive of shared intelligence gathering.
  • Seven in ten Canadians support a bilateral agency to oversee the building of border infrastructure. Nationally, 70% support this idea, while 20% are opposed. Residents of Quebec are much more likely than those living elsewhere to support such an agency, while those over the age of 50 are once again less likely than their counterparts to support such an element being part of a Canada-US perimeter deal.
  • A majority are opposed to the idea of needing visas to cross the border. Nationally, 59% are opposed to such an element being part of a deal, while 38% are supportive. Interestingly, there is a regional split on the question, with a majority of those in Quebec and Atlantic Canada supporting the idea. However, less than 3-in-10 who lives in Alberta and BC answered in kind. Across voting intention lines, a majority of non-BQ voters are opposed to the idea.

Respondents were also asked more generally about the state of Canada-US relations, and asked to indicate how relations stood on a variety of issues.

  • Six in ten Canadians view the Canada-US relationship as at least ‘good’. Nationally, 61% express the view that Canada-US relations are either excellent (8%) or good (53%). A further 33% describe Canada-US relations as fair, while just 4% view relations as poor. Men, Albertans, Conservatives and those with higher household incomes view Canada-US relations most positively.
  • Most believe Canada-US relations are the same as they were five years ago. Overall, 62% expressed this view, while 21% believe relations between the two countries are better than they were 5 years ago. A further 14% feel relations are worse than they were five years ago.

When it comes to specific aspects of the relationship between Canada and the US, tourism is seen as the best aspect of trade relations.

  • Overall, 62% view the tourism aspect of the trade relationship as excellent (11%) or good (51%). A further 26% view the relationship as fair, and 9% see it as poor.
  • When it comes to diplomacy 55% view the relationship as excellent (9%) or good (46%). A further 34% see it as fair, and 6% see it as poor.
  • A majority (50%) view border security or crossing as excellent (8%) or good (42%). A further 34% see this aspect of the relationship as fair, while 12% view it as poor.
  • On the matter of cross-border trade or business, 46% see the relationship as excellent (6%) or good (40%). Additionally, 38% view the relationship in this respect as fair, while 10% see it as poor.

Each week, Harris/Decima interviews just over 1000 Canadians through teleVox, the company’s national telephone omnibus survey. The most recent data were gathered between February 3 and February 7, 2011. A sample of the same size has a margin of error of 3.1%, 19 times out of 20.