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Do Canadians believe Trudeau's claims India is tied to a Sikh leader's death?

A majority of Canadians believe Prime Minister Trudeau's statement about intelligence that alleged India was involved in the death of a Sikh leader in British Columbia, a new poll suggests.

According to a Nanos Research poll commissioned by CTV News, three-quarters of Canadians "believe" or "somewhat believe" that the prime minister has obtained intelligence that suggests there are ties between the Indian government and the June death of a Canadian citizen.

Trudeau announced last month that national security agencies were investigating "credible allegations" surrounding the shooting of Hardeep Singh Nijjar in Surrey, B.C.

The statement sparked outrage from the Indian government, which denied the allegations.

At home, Conservative Leader Pierre Poilievre demanded to see the evidence that heightened tensions between the two countries, alleging that the prime minister "hasn't provided any facts."

However, specific details were shared to those with the proper security clearance. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said he received a briefing from national security officials on the matter, later telling reporters he concurred with Trudeau's assessment, that there was "clear intelligence" of India's alleged involvement.

Despite not seeing these details themselves, given the top-secret nature of the intelligence, most Canadians do believe that intelligence ties India to the killing, a new poll suggests.

Respondents were asked: "Do you believe… Prime Minister Trudeau when he says the government has obtained intelligence that indicates India may be behind the killing of this Canadian citizen on Canadian soil?"

Only one in five Canadians polled said they "do not" or "somewhat do not" believe Trudeau's allegations, while the rest said they either believe or "somewhat believe" the prime minister. Eight per cent said they were unsure.

The survey was conducted online and over the phone between Oct. 1 and 4, 2023, as a part of a random poll of 1,058 Canadians. According to Nanos research, the results were then weighted based on census information to be representative of Canada. The results are considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Canadians aged 55 and older were more likely to say they believe the prime minister, based on the poll data.

Additionally, residents of B.C. (78.2 per cent) were most likely to say they believed Trudeau's statement.

Adults aged 34 and under, as well as residents of the Prairies were less likely to take his word on the subject.

POLL QUESTION: WHAT SHOULD CANADA DO?

The fallout from Trudeau's statement jolted already rocky relations between Canada and India.

Nanos Research asked respondents how they thought things should move forward, and found that they were more likely to want Canada to engage in diplomatic talks than the other options given.

The poll suggested more than half (57 per cent) of Canadians said they would prefer the country decrease tensions and engage in diplomatic talks about the murder.

About one in four respondents said they want Canada to further investigate the allegations.

One in 10 said they want Canada to "be patient" and do nothing for now.

Quebec residents were more likely to say they want Canada to engage in tension-reducing measures (65 per cent) than in B.C., where 50.3 per cent chose diplomatic talks.

On the West Coast, one-third of those polled said they want Canada to further investigate the allegations – the highest rate of all regions.

Sources had told CTV News last week that the Canadian government was given an Oct. 10 deadline to considerably reduce its diplomatic footprint in India.

Asked on Wednesday the status of the situation, Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly said "diplomacy is always better when conversations remain private." 

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