Despite angering U.S. President Donald Trump, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s bold assertion that Canada “will not be pushed around” by America on trade earned the support of most Canadians, a new Nanos Research survey suggests.

The report, commissioned by CTV News and The Globe and Mail and released Sunday, shows that Trudeau’s handling of the tricky trade relationship with Trump has earned the support of the majority of Canadians.

The survey also found that a majority of Canadians are optimistic that Canada’s economic interests will be met if NAFTA is renegotiated.

Last Sunday, Canada’s list of retaliatory tariffs against the U.S. came into effect. Steel, aluminum and a long list of other products -- including playing cards, bourbon, pens and inflatable boats -- are among the $16.6 billion worth of American-made products affected.

Many of those products are produced in key states that Trump hopes to win during the U.S. midterm election in November.  

Trudeau’s government ordered the tariffs after the Trump administration slapped its own tariffs on Canadian-made steel and aluminum brought into the U.S., saying the goods posed a “national security risk.”

More than half of Canadians (59 per cent) believe Canada’s ongoing diplomatic outreach will be effective (15 per cent) or somewhat effective (41 per cent) to change the U.S. position on trade. Another 14 per cent disagree.

From a broader perspective, seven in 10 Canadians (or 71 per cent) approve or somewhat approve of Trudeau’s handing of the trade relationship with Trump. About one in four (26 per cent) disapprove or somewhat disapprove of Trudeau’s approach.

Following the G7 summit in Charlevoix, Que., Trudeau held a press conference where he insisted that Canada won’t be pushed around by the U.S. The statement angered Trump, who called Trudeau “meek and mild” during G7 talks.

Seven in 10 Canadians supported Trudeau’s move, with 53 per cent of respondents agreeing that the statement was a good idea and 23 per cent calling it a somewhat good idea. Only 22 per cent said it was a bad idea or a somewhat bad idea.

The fate of NAFTA remains unclear nearly a year after trilateral negotiations began. Trump has sent mixed messages over the deal. At times, he’s said he wants it totally scrapped, but he’s also said he’d be open to two separate trade pacts between U.S.-Mexico and U.S.-Canada.

While Canada’s NAFTA negotiators continue to work towards striking a deal, approximately six in 10 Canadians are confident or somewhat confident that Canada can protect its economic interests if NAFTA is renegotiated. Another 14 per cent say they are not confident.

Women, seniors and those living in Atlantic Canada and Quebec tended to be more supportive of Trudeau’s approach. Men, Baby Boomers and those living in the Prairies were generally less supportive.


The observations are based on a RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between June 26th and 28th, 2018 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The margin of error for a random survey of 1,000 Canadians is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.