The majority of Canadians support or somewhat support applying new tariffs and duties to American-made goods if the U.S. pulls out of the North American Free Trade Agreement, according to a Nanos survey conducted for CTV News.

Nearly 50 per cent of Canadians said they support and 26 per cent said they somewhat support new tariffs on American goods if the U.S. were to pull out of NAFTA and apply new tariffs and duties on Canadian goods and materials entering the U.S.

Sixteen per cent of those surveyed said they would be opposed or somewhat opposed to the new tariffs.

U.S. president-elect Donald Trump has said that he would renegotiate or pull out of the trade agreement with Canada and Mexico once he’s in office. Throughout the election campaign, he referred to NAFTA as the “worst deal” the U.S. ever signed. 

Trump has also said that he would pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal involving 12 countries, including Canada.

If Trump does pull out of NAFTA, more than 60 per cent of Canadians believe it is unlikely or somewhat unlikely that Canada will be able to negotiate a better trade deal with the U.S, according to the Nanos survey.

Seven per cent of those surveyed said it’s likely and 16 per cent said it is somewhat likely that a better deal could be negotiated between the two countries. Fifteen per cent said they were unsure.

“Basically what this means is that we’re not prepared to play nice. If the United States wants to pull out of NAFTA and put new tariffs on Canadian goods, then Canadians are willing to reciprocate,” pollster Nik Nanos told

“The fact that Canadians don’t think we can win in a renegotiation of NAFTA speaks to the level of anxiety, and I will say pragmatism, that Canadians have on trade issues.”

Nanos said Canadians clearly believe that they have benefited under NAFTA and have been paying close attention to Trump’s comments about trade during the U.S. election campaign.

“Canadians see that free trade is potentially at risk under a Donald Trump presidency,” he said.

Canada and the U.S. are the world’s largest trading partners, with more than US$690 billion in goods and services traded in 2015. According to the federal government, Canada buys more from the U.S. than any other nation, including all of European Union.


Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between Dec. 16 and 19 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.