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Federal Politics: Trudeau approval sinks over vaccination rollout delays, but national political picture remains static – Angus Reid Institute

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Liberal Party holds a three-point advantage in vote intent over opposition CPC


February 22, 2021 – Criticism, uncertainty and delays have beset Canada’s COVID-19 vaccine rollout and bedevilled the Trudeau government since the beginning of the year. Now, new data from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute sees these factors also suppressing positive views of the prime minister.

Justin Trudeau’s personal approval has dropped five points from where it stood in both December and January, suggesting that the fallout from vaccination delays has hurt his standing. Indeed, a majority of Canadians say the Liberal government had done a poor job of securing doses. Canadians now largely view him with either moderate approval (36%) or strong disapproval (33%).

But while vaccination woes have had a dragging effect on how Canadians view the prime minister personally, the federal political picture is statistically unchanged since last month. The latest vote intent data show a narrowing between the Liberal and Conservative parties from a five-point gap to three points – with the incumbents down by a point, and the main challenger up a point. The NDP continues a slight but gradual climb in vote intention to 20 per cent.

Further, no one opposition party or respective leader appears to be poised – at the moment – to break through among the Canadian electorate. Conservative Party leader Erin O’Toole has seen his own favourability among Canadians decline again in the last month. And while NDP leader Jagmeet Singh continues to be viewed more favourably than other party leaders, it remains to be seen whether his party can meaningfully climb above the 20 per cent mark.

The Angus Reid Institute’s polling shows the Liberals have managed to climb out of political ditches in the past. One key determinant in the coming months will be whether a long-promised arrival of significant vaccine supply enables the Trudeau government to emerge from this period without major damage to its electoral prospects.

More Key Findings:

  • The Conservative Party leads over the Liberals in western provinces British Columbia (+3), Alberta (+27), Saskatchewan (+47), and Manitoba (+14). The Liberal Party leads in Ontario (+11), Quebec (+14), and Atlantic Canada (+24).
  • Trudeau’s strong disapproval numbers are driven by past CPC voters, three-quarters of whom view him this way (74%). Only 21 per cent of past Liberal voters strongly approve of the PM.

About ARI

The Angus Reid Institute (ARI) was founded in October 2014 by pollster and sociologist, Dr. Angus Reid. ARI is a national, not-for-profit, non-partisan public opinion research foundation established to advance education by commissioning, conducting and disseminating to the public accessible and impartial statistical data, research and policy analysis on economics, political science, philanthropy, public administration, domestic and international affairs and other socio-economic issues of importance to Canada and its world.

INDEX: 

  • Top Issues

  • Trudeau approval

    • Cross-party breakdown of approval

  • Federal leader favourability

  • Vote intention

    • Regional breakdown

    • Age and gender

 

Top Issues

Nearly one year into the COVID-19 pandemic, this health, economic and social crisis continues to dominate the priority list for Canadians. Health care, climate change and the economy follow, with little change over the past month as restrictions and challenges continue to consume much of Canadians’ available mental bandwidth.

Trudeau Approval

For Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, 2021 has been a year thus far dominated by one question: when will Canadians be vaccinated?

The rollout has had elements of early success, followed by failure. Canada had contracts in place for more doses per citizen than any other country. Delivery, however, has not met expectations. Both manufacturers supplying doses for Canada’s first phase of inoculation – Pfizer and Moderna – have had production delays that meant reduced (or zero) delivery over recent weeks.

Related: Most view Canada’s vaccine rollout relative to other nations as a “failure”

While Trudeau continues to insist Canadian who wants to be vaccinated will have the opportunity to do so by September, few Canadians are confident at this point this pledge will be met. It has had a notable impact on how they view the prime minister. Currently, a majority of Canadians disapprove of Trudeau for the first time since last September:

One of the most significant challenges Trudeau faces from a public opinion perspective is to overcome the opinions of those Canadians who hold intensely negative views toward him. Canadians are nearly four times as likely to strongly disapprove (33%) of Trudeau than to strongly approve (9%), a trend the often-embattled politician has faced before:

Cross-party breakdown of approval

Partisan views of Trudeau have in some ways softened during the COVID-19 outbreak. Strong disapproval of him has dropped among all federal party supporters over the past two years. As seen in the graph below, the Prime Minister generates very strong negative opinions among past CPC and Bloc Quebecois voters; this is less the case with past supporters of other parties:

That said, Trudeau has made no gains in strong approval, leaving him in a position where the majority of the country views him moderately, whether one way or the other:

Federal leader favourability

While approval of Trudeau now falls below majority level, his main political rival, Conservative Party and opposition leader Erin O’Toole, also continues to sink slightly. O’Toole has held the position for less than a year but has yet to endear himself to many Canadians. His favourability rating continues to fall while his unfavourability continues to rise. Half of Canadians now say they view him in a negative light:

Jagmeet Singh fares best in the country from a public opinion perspective, bolstered by near unanimous support among past NDP supporters (see detailed tables). Half of Canadians (48%) view him positively, the best mark of all major federal party leaders. For Green Party leader Annamie Paul, lack of awareness continues to be a problem. Half say they have no opinion of her.

O’Toole’s lack of positive connection with potential voters is best demonstrated by looking at net favourability: he sits at negative 22, a fall of seven points from just over a month ago, while Singh remains at plus eight.

Vote intention

Canadians recently told the Angus Reid Institute that they would be mostly comfortable voting in a federal election during the pandemic. Recent speculation suggests that they may get the chance. Asked how they would vote if an election were held the day they were canvassed, 34 per cent of Canadians say they’d support the Liberal Party, while 31 per cent would cast their ballot in support of the CPC and 20 per cent for the NDP.

The Liberal Party’s fortunes have fluctuated between slight leads and, at one point, a tie against its main challenger, the CPC. Meanwhile, the NDP has seen its vote support base increase ever so slightly over the past year, but the party has been unable to surpass the one-in-five mark:

Regionally, the head-to-head competition between the Liberals and Conservatives is reasonably divided between the east and west. The Liberals garner the largest share of vote intent in Ontario, Quebec, and Atlantic Canada, while the Conservatives lead in B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba. The NDP performs best in British Columbia and Manitoba.

Women of all age groups continue show preference for the Liberal Party over the CPC, though this trend is particularly apparent among women ages 55 and older, among whom the Liberals’ advantage rises to 22 percentage points. In comparison, the advantage the Conservative Party holds among men is significantly lower.

For detailed results by age, gender, region, education, and other demographics, click here.

To read the full report, including detailed tables and methodologyclick here.

To read the questionnaire, click here.

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Shachi Kurl, President: 1.604.908.1693 shachi.kurl@angusreid.org @shachikurl

Dave Korzinski, Research Director: 250.899.0821 dave.korzinski@angusreid.org


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Boris Johnson hails Biden as ‘a big breath of fresh air’

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British Prime Minister Boris Johnson hailed U.S. President Joe Biden on Thursday as “a big breath of fresh air”, and praised his determination to work with allies on important global issues ranging from climate change and COVID-19 to security.

Johnson did not draw an explicit parallel between Biden and his predecessor Donald Trump after talks with the Democratic president in the English seaside resort of Carbis Bay on the eve of a summit of the Group of Seven (G7) advanced economies.

But his comments made clear Biden had taken a much more multilateral approach to talks than Trump, whose vision of the world at times shocked, angered and bewildered many of Washington’s European allies.

“It’s a big breath of fresh air,” Johnson said of a meeting that lasted about an hour and 20 minutes.

“It was a long, long, good session. We covered a huge range of subjects,” he said. “It’s new, it’s interesting and we’re working very hard together.”

The two leaders appeared relaxed as they admired the view across the Atlantic alongside their wives, with Jill Biden wearing a jacket embroidered with the word “LOVE”.

“It’s a beautiful beginning,” she said.

Though Johnson said the talks were “great”, Biden brought grave concerns about a row between Britain and the European Union which he said could threaten peace in the British region of Northern Ireland, which following Britain’s departure from the EU is on the United Kingdom’s frontier with the bloc as it borders EU member state Ireland.

The two leaders did not have a joint briefing after the meeting: Johnson spoke to British media while Biden made a speech about a U.S. plan to donate half a billion vaccines to poorer countries.

NORTHERN IRELAND

Biden, who is proud of his Irish heritage, was keen to prevent difficult negotiations between Brussels and London undermining a 1998 U.S.-brokered peace deal known as the Good Friday Agreement that ended three decades of bloodshed in Northern Ireland.

White House national security adviser Jake Sullivan told reporters aboard Air Force One on the way to Britain that Biden had a “rock-solid belief” in the peace deal and that any steps that imperilled the accord would not be welcomed.

Yael Lempert, the top U.S. diplomat in Britain, issued London with a demarche – a formal diplomatic reprimand – for “inflaming” tensions, the Times newspaper reported.

Johnson sought to play down the differences with Washington.

“There’s complete harmony on the need to keep going, find solutions, and make sure we uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement,” said Johnson, one of the leaders of the 2016 campaign to leave the EU.

Asked if Biden had made his alarm about the situation in Northern Ireland very clear, he said: “No he didn’t.

“America, the United States, Washington, the UK, plus the European Union have one thing we absolutely all want to do,” Johnson said. “And that is to uphold the Belfast Good Friday Agreement, and make sure we keep the balance of the peace process going. That is absolutely common ground.”

The 1998 peace deal largely brought an end to the “Troubles” – three decades of conflict between Irish Catholic nationalist militants and pro-British Protestant “loyalist” paramilitaries in which 3,600 people were killed.

Britain’s exit from the EU has strained the peace in Northern Ireland. The 27-nation bloc wants to protect its markets but a border in the Irish Sea cuts off the British province from the rest of the United Kingdom.

Although Britain formally left the EU in 2020, the two sides are still trading threats over the Brexit deal after London unilaterally delayed the implementation of the Northern Irish clauses of the deal.

Johnson’s Downing Street office said he and Biden agreed that both Britain and the EU “had a responsibility to work together and to find pragmatic solutions to allow unencumbered trade” between Northern Ireland, Britain and Ireland.”

(Reporting by Steve Holland, Andrea Shalal, Padraic Halpin, John Chalmers; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge; Editing by Giles Elgood, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Mark Potter and Timothy Heritage)

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U.S. senator slams Apple, Amazon, Nike, for enabling forced labor in China

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U.S. senator

A U.S. senator on Thursday slammed American companies, including Amazon.com Inc, Apple Inc and Nike Inc, for turning a blind eye to allegations of forced labor in China, arguing they were making American consumers complicit in Beijing’s repressive policies.

Speaking at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on China’s crackdown on Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities in its western Xinjiang region, Republican Senator Marco Rubio said many U.S. companies had not woken up to the fact that they were “profiting” from the Chinese government’s abuses.

“For far too long companies like Nike and Apple and Amazon and Coca-Cola were using forced labor. They were benefiting from forced labor or sourcing from suppliers that were suspected of using forced labor,” Rubio said. “These companies, sadly, were making all of us complicit in these crimes.”

Senator Ed Markey, who led the hearing with fellow Democrat Tim Kaine, said a number of U.S. technology companies had profited from the Chinese government’s “authoritarian surveillance industry,” and that many of their products “are being used in Xinjiang right now.”

Thermo Fisher Scientific said in 2019 it would stop selling genetic sequencing equipment into Xinjiang after rights groups and media documented how authorities there were building a DNA database for Uyghurs. But critics say the move didn’t go far enough.

“All evidence is that they continue to provide these products which enabled these human rights abuses,” Rubio said of Thermo Fisher, noting that he had written the Massachusetts-based company repeatedly about the matter.

“Whenever we receive proof of forced labor, we take action and suspend privileges to sell,” an Amazon spokesperson said.

Coca-Cola declined to comment. The other companies mentioned did not respond immediately to Reuters’ questions.

U.S. lawmakers are seeking to pass legislation that would ban imports of goods made in Xinjiang over concerns about forced labor.

Rights groups, researchers, former residents and some western lawmakers say Xinjiang authorities have facilitated forced labor by arbitrarily detaining around a million Uyghurs and other primarily Muslim minorities in a network of camps since 2016.

The United States government and parliaments in countries, including Britain and Canada, have described China’s policies toward Uyghurs as genocide. China denies abuses, saying the camps are for vocational training and to counter religious extremism.

Sophie Richardson, China director for Human Rights Watch, told the Senate panel that Beijing’s “extreme repression and surveillance” made human rights due diligence for companies impossible.

“Inspectors cannot visit facilities unannounced or speak to workers without fear of reprisal. Some companies seem unwilling or unable to ascertain precise information about their own supply chains,” she said.

 

(Reporting by Michael Martina, Richa Naidu, Aishwarya Venugopal and Jeffrey Dastin; editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Biden’s vaccine pledge ups pressure on rich countries to give more

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The United States on Thursday raised the pressure on other Group of Seven leaders to share their vaccine hoards to bring an end to the pandemic by pledging to donate 500 million doses of the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.

The largest ever vaccine donation by a single country will cost the United States $3.5 billion but Washington expects no quid pro quo or favours for the gift, a senior Biden administration official told reporters.

U.S. President Joe Biden‘s move, on the eve of a summit of the world’s richest democracies, is likely to prompt other leaders to stump up more vaccines, though even vast numbers of vaccines would still not be enough to inoculate all of the world’s poor.

G7 leaders want to vaccinate the world by the end of 2022 to try to halt the COVID-19 pandemic that has killed more than 3.9 million people and devastated the global economy.

A senior Biden administration official described the gesture as a “major step forward that will supercharge the global effort” with the aim of “bringing hope to every corner of the world.” “We really want to underscore that this is fundamentally about a singular objective of saving lives,” the official said, adding that Washington was not seeking favours in exchange for the doses.

Vaccination efforts so far are heavily correlated with wealth: the United States, Europe, Israel and Bahrain are far ahead of other countries. A total of 2.2 billion people have been vaccinated so far out of a world population of nearly 8 billion, based on Johns Hopkins University data.

U.S. drugmaker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech have agreed to supply the U.S. with the vaccines, delivering 200 million doses in 2021 and 300 million doses in the first half of 2022.

The shots, which will be produced at Pfizer’s U.S. sites, will be supplied at a not-for-profit price.

“Our partnership with the U.S. government will help bring hundreds of millions of doses of our vaccine to the poorest countries around the world as quickly as possible,” said Pfizer Chief Executive Albert Bourla.

‘DROP IN THE BUCKET’

Anti-poverty campaign group Oxfam called for more to be done to increase global production of vaccines.

“Surely, these 500 million vaccine doses are welcome as they will help more than 250 million people, but that’s still a drop in the bucket compared to the need across the world,” said Niko Lusiani, Oxfam America’s vaccine lead.

“We need a transformation toward more distributed vaccine manufacturing so that qualified producers worldwide can produce billions more low-cost doses on their own terms, without intellectual property constraints,” he said in a statement.

Another issue, especially in some poor countries, is the infrastructure for transporting the vaccines which often have to be stored at very cold temperatures.

Biden has also backed calls for a waiver of some vaccine intellectual property rights but there is no international consensus yet on how to proceed.

The new vaccine donations come on top of 80 million doses Washington has already pledged to donate by the end of June. There is also $2 billion in funding earmarked for the COVAX programme led by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI), the White House said.

GAVI and the WHO welcomed the initiative.

Washington is also taking steps to support local production of COVID-19 vaccines in other countries, including through its Quad initiative with Japan, India and Australia.

(Reporting by Steve Holland in St. Ives, England, Andrea Shalal in Washington and Caroline Copley in Berlin; Writing by Guy Faulconbridge and Keith Weir;Editing by Leslie Adler, David Evans, Emelia Sithole-Matarise, Giles Elgood and Jane Merriman)

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