Canada slipping on world stage, says survey

November 13th, 2008 - 12:01 pm ICT by IANS  

Toronto, Nov 13 (IANS) A majority in Canada - which played a pioneering role in ushering in global peacekeeping and the greenpeace movement - feel their country’s influence in world affairs has declined over the years.In a survey, most Canadians also don’t approve of their current government’s role in fighting global warming.

In the survey, commissioned by the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation and Montreal-based Laval University, 51 percent of Canadians say their country’s influence in world affairs has declined. In fact, 16 percent say it has declined “a great deal”.

Though 48 percent say the government can play a positive role to raise Canada’s profile, 37 percent say individuals and NGOs can be more influential in having a positive influence in world affairs.

Half of the Canadians oppose the current government’s decision not to fulfill the previous government’s commitment to the international community on the Kyoto accord over global warming.

Forty-six percent respondents also don’t approve of their prime minister’s decision to snub China by not attending the opening ceremony of the Beijing Olympics.

“Canadians care about foreign policy and clearly there are enough divergent opinions to warrant lively, informed debate on our role in a rapidly changing world,” said Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation president Pierre-Gerlier Forest Wednesday.

According to the survey, Canadians want their country to work to promote the so-called Canadian values. These include human rights (93 percent), freedom of speech (90 percent), gender equality (87 percent), freedom of the press (81 percent), democracy and elected government (78 percent) and the right to own private property (69 percent).

Interestingly, 56 percent respondents oppose asylum to US army deserters in Canada, as against 38 percent who want a favourable treatment of them.

Many US army men opposed to the Iraq war have fled here to seek asylum.

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