VANCOUVER—A February 2017 poll from the Angus Reid Institute, a Canadian public opinion research organization, finds Canadians are noticeably more enthusiastic about NAFTA than they were just eight months ago, now that U.S. President Donald Trump is threatening to radically change the trade deal.
44 per cent of Canadians now say NAFTA has benefitted their country, compared to just 25 per cent who said this in a poll taken by Angus Reid in June 2016.
Eight months later, with the deal under threat by the new U.S. President, those polled are much more positive about NAFTA.
These latest views on NAFTA have changed even more drastically from Canadian public opinion in the early 1990s. Back in 1993, as NAFTA was being negotiated, 58 per cent of respondents told Angus Reid that they opposed the deal.
Over the years, however, Canadians have come around on the concept of free trade. During the 2015 federal election, Angus Reid polling found international trade to be Canadians’ preferred foreign policy focus.
Canada’s enthusiasm for NAFTA contrasts sharply with our neighbours to the south. Americans, polled by Angus Reid in September 2016, were evenly split on keeping NAFTA. Canadians from the same poll were 71 per cent in favor of keeping the deal.
Key Findings of Feb. 2017 Poll:
- 44 per cent say NAFTA has benefited Canada, while 13 per cent say it has hurt us and 12 per cent say it has had no effect. The rest, 31 per cent, are unsure.
- 56 per cent believe NAFTA will be renegotiated. Only 8 per cent think it will be done away with completely and 12 per cent expect it to survive unchanged.
- Only 10 per cent think Canada will emerge from NAFTA renegotiations better off than it is now. 35 per cent say the country will be worse off.
- Only 24 per cent want NAFTA renegotiated, while 31 per cent want it expanded and strengthened.