The majority of Canadians expect to see a trade war between Canada and the United States over NAFTA and other trade issues in the next two years, according to a recent Nanos Research survey. 

When asked about the likelihood of a trade war between the two countries, 19 per cent of those surveyed said it’s likely, while 48 per cent said it’s somewhat likely.

Twenty-four per cent said the trade war is somewhat unlikely, and only seven per cent said it’s unlikely.

The survey also showed that more than half (54 per cent) of Canadians want the federal government to continue trade negotiations and hope the U.S. changes its mind on imposing high tariffs on Canadian steel and aluminum.

More than a quarter (26 per cent) of those surveyed said that Canada should raise tariffs on U.S. products in retaliation, while nine per cent think Canada should break off talks on NAFTA in protest of the U.S. tariffs on Canadian goods. Only four per cent think that Canada should give the U.S. enough concessions on NAFTA to end the tariffs.

U.S. President Donald Trump has signed proclamations imposing U.S. tariffs of 25 per cent on steel and 10 per cent on aluminum coming from almost every country. The only two countries spared the tariffs – for now – are Canada and Mexico.

Pollster Nik Nanos said the survey shows that the majority of Canadians are “pragmatic” about the U.S.-Canada trade relationship.

“The reality is that we only have so much leverage (in negotiations with the U.S.),” Nanos told on Monday.

He said Canadians are worried about a trade war and it’s clear that they want their government to try to negotiate the best possible solution. 

Impressions of our finance minister

As part of the same omnibus survey, Nanos Research also asked Canadians about their impressions of federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau.

When asked in early March, following the release of the 2018 federal budget, to evaluate Morneau’s performance in office, 18 per cent of Canadians said he’s doing a poor job and 15 per cent said he’s doing a very poor job.

Thirty-five per cent said he’s doing an “average” job, while 19 per cent said he’s doing a good job. Only four per cent said he’s doing a “very good” job and nine per cent were unsure.

The survey results were consistent with Canadians’ impressions of Morneau in October, 2017. His reputation did not get any kind of a “post-budget bump,” Nanos said Monday.

In the second half of 2017, Morneau was at the centre of several controversies, including a tax-reform plan that upset business owners and questions about how he handled his personal assets after coming into office.

Early this year, federal ethics commissioner Mary Dawson cleared Morneau after he was accused of conflict of interest over his 2015 sell-off of Morneau Shepell shares ahead of a tax change that raised taxes on the wealthiest one per cent and lowered them for the middle class.

Morneau was the executive chair of Morneau Shepell, a human resources company, before he was elected an MP and became finance minister.

Nanos said the latest survey shows that even though Morneau has been mostly out of the media spotlight in recent months, his “brand” has not recovered and “it’s probably going to be a long journey” to regaining the reputation he enjoyed at the start of his mandate.


Nanos conducted a hybrid telephone (land and cellphone lines) and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and older between March 7 and March 12, as part of an omnibus survey commissioned by CTV News.

The margin of error is ±3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.