Three-in-five Canadians want less trade with China but economic costs a concern: Poll

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Although three in five Canadians want the country to do less trade with China, they also fear the economic costs of taking such a stand, a new Angus Reid Institute poll has found.

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Canada has no plans to send delegates to the Winter Olympics in Beijing this February as a diplomatic boycott — a move that was supported by half of Canadians. However, according to the poll, 58% of Canadians fear such actions will have negative consequences to Canada’s economy.

As of 2020, China — the world’s second-largest economy — had $100 billion worth of trade with Canada.

Sixty per cent of Canadians who want Canada to deal with China less for trade believe it can be done with a minor economic impact. Nearly a quarter of Canadians (24%) say China is as good a trade partner as any.

Twenty-one percent says it is impossible to cut trade ties with the country without hurting Canada’s economy.

The poll found many Canadians question if diplomatic actions taken against China will have any impact. Seven-in-ten participants didn’t think anything Canada could do would alter China’s behaviour.

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Past Conservative voters are most likely (79%) to believe Canada is powerless to affect China compared to 25% of Liberal voters and 24% of NDP voters.

Fifty-four per cent in the poll said Canada should prioritize Chinese human rights issues over the economy.

The online survey was conducted Nov. 26-2 with a randomized sample of 2,005 adults who are members of Angus Reid Forum.

kconnor@postmedia.com

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