Thursday, February 27, 2020
The National Dilemma or Trudeau's (Sophie's) Choice
An Angus Reid poll finds that Canadians are split, almost half and half, on the Wet'suet'en/Coastal Gaslink demonstrations and blockades. 47 per cent support 'patience and dialogue' while 53 per cent want the blockades brought down using 'whatever force is necessary.' It's Ipperwash by a nose.
I suppose it's a safe bet that the company's polling base was under-represented among First Nations populations and so this may be weighted toward the non-FN majority.
A lot (78%) are worried that the protests have damaged Canada's reputation as a place for investment. There you go.
On a party basis, Tory respondents are far more on the economy/law and order side (89%). Justin's Liberals, however, give the edge to indigenous rights/environment by 55%. Only 24% of New Dems chose the economy/law and order option. I wonder what Horgan is going to make of that, especially if this turns ugly.
Team "Use of Force" or, as I call them, the Tories, support the force option by a bloodthirsty 89 per cent. The Libs and New Dems favour the talking option by 60 and 79 per cent respectively.
Respondents were asked whether they thought the protesters were 'troublemakers' or 'committed people taking a stand on something they feel strongly about.' BC was evenly split. Alberta and Saskatchewan, however, were heavily on the troublemaker option. Ontario, Quebec and Atlantic Canada give a solid nod to the protesters.
It looks like the media slant has scored a hit with the population. Canadians have bought into 'elected chiefs' as the proper voice of First Nations. And, by wildly huge numbers, they're ready to put the blame on Trudeau for the whole mess. Only Liberals support the prime minister and, even then, by a 50/41 per cent margin.
For the other players it's also dismal. Horgan is polling at 18 per cent. Kenney's numbers mirror Trudeau's - 50 yea to 40 nay. Ford comes in even lower than Horgan at a dreary 15 per cent. Legault's numbers are favourable but not by that much, 41 to 37 per cent.
No one is looking good on this. That, I expect, will make Horgan and Trudeau hesitant to use muscle lest something goes horribly wrong and they get their very own Ipperwash and hand the First Nations another Dudley George.
Added into their political calculus has to be the Coastal Gaslink venture and whether the gas line to Kitimat is any more economically valid than Teck's Frontier mine proposal. Nobody in Asia is paying $9/million BTU for methane. They're barely paying half that. And with massive new gas fields reportedly being discovered in the Russian sector of the Arctic Ocean, Canada's break even price may be a distant memory. Is that worth fighting over?