Nearly half of Canadians say they do not support the Idle No More movement and more than half of those with First Nations ancestry share the sentiment, a new poll suggests.
A poll conducted by Forum Research for the National Post found that among those Canadians who were aware of the grassroots movement, 49% said they did not support it. Just 39% of those surveyed said they supported Idle No More, and 12% said they didn’t know.
Lorne Bozinoff, the president of Forum, said that recent demonstrations have shone the spotlight on Idle No More and First Nations issues, but have not led to widespread support for the movement.
“They do have some level of sympathy among the Canadian population, but not for the things they are actually doing, such as the blockades,” he said. “And if they do more of those things it could erode the support for their goals.”
Among those Canadians surveyed who say they have First Nations ancestry, 52% said they did not support Idle No More, the poll showed.
The finding was surprising, he said.
“The First Nations individuals they surveyed, they seem to [have] very similar [views] to the Canadian population in general,” he said. “It could be that Idle No More appeals to a particular segment of the population, but not perhaps the broader group of First Nations individuals.”
The poll — which randomly surveyed 1,626 Canadian adults on January 16 and 17 — comes amid a series of demonstrations, including some blocking road and rail lines, across Canada in recent weeks.
A large proportion — 61% — of Canadians said police should not allow Idle No More protesters to block major highways, rail lines and border crossings, the poll showed. A quarter of respondents said police should allow blockades, while another 14% didn’t know.
Among those who said they had First Nations ancestry, 53% were against police allowing blockades, and 29% said police should let protesters halt major roadways and rail lines.
The recent Day of Action actually lessened support for the movement for 37% of Canadians surveyed, the poll showed. Those same demonstrations, however, encouraged 14% of Canadians to support Idle No More even more, while 45% said it had no effect either way.
Just 9% of Canadians said they were personally inconvenienced by the Jan. 16 protests.