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Poll: Canadians Call for Real Action on Reconciliation with First Nations

Vancouver (Research Co.) – Significant majorities of Canadians believe the federal government should be taking specific steps to achieve reconciliation with the country’s Indigenous peoples, a new Research Co. poll has found.   In the online survey of a representative national sample, 89% of Canadians consider it “very important” or “moderately important” to end long-term drinking water advisories in First Nations communities.  

More than four-in-five Canadians also think it is important to release all government records related to the residential school system (88%), take steps to end bias against Indigenous Canadians in the justice system (86%) and investigate all unmarked gravesites located near former residential schools (84%).  

Just under four-in-five Canadians (79%) consider it important to demand an apology from the head of the Catholic Church for its role in the residential school system.   “A holistic approach to reconciliation with First Nations peoples is clearly favoured in Canada right now,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Most Canadians believe it is equally important to repair the mistakes of the past and to deal with the problems of the present.”  

Across the country, 45% of Canadians say they followed news stories related to the National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls. Just under one-in-four Canadians (23%) consider the inquiry “a success”, down four points since a similar Research Co. poll conducted in February 2019.  

In December 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated: “It is time for a renewed, nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples, one that understands that the constitutionally guaranteed rights of First Nations in Canada are not an inconvenience but rather a sacred obligation.”  

More than half of Canadians (53%, +1) think a renewed nation-to-nation relationship with First Nations peoples can be achieved in Canada, while 30% (-4) do not and 17% (+3) are undecided.

Canadians who voted for the Liberal Party and the New Democratic Party (NDP) in last month’s federal election are more likely to believe that a renewed nation-to-nation relationship can be attained (65% and 55% respectively) than those who cast ballots for the Conservative Party (38%).  

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