Foreign Policy Poll

Published: Wednesday, 10/12/2005 12:00 am EDT

Canadians and the federal government don't see eye-to-eye when it comes to foreign policy issues, according to a public opinion survey published by the University of Ottawa and Ipsos-Reid yesterday. Eighty one per cent of Canadians felt that mediation is one of Canada's most important roles in foreign conflicts. Reducing hunger and poverty was cited by 26 per cent of respondents as being Canada's top international priority, followed by working with the UN at 14 per cent, improving the environment at 13 per cent. Canadians consider themselves a generous lot, with 44 per cent saying so, while 47 per cent of respondents felt that Canada is a world leader in peace and human rights. "Canadians place a lot of importance in foreign policy, but they do not seem to have a very realistic view of what their government actually does abroad," says University of Ottawa political scientist Stephen Brown. "Likewise, Canadians would be hugely disappointed if they realized that Canada is actually less generous than most other wealthy countries when it comes to foreign aid," says Mr. Brown.

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