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What Canadians think about the Emergencies Act, according to Nanos polling

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The majority of Canadians still support the federal government’s use of the Emergencies Act to shut down the so-called “Freedom Convoy” protests in early 2022, according the new data from Nanos Research.

The survey found 44 per cent of people “support” the use of the Act, in addition to 20 per cent of people who “somewhat support” the move.

Six per cent of people “somewhat oppose” the use of the legislation, versus 27 per cent who said they “oppose” it.

The numbers are similar to those gathered nearly two years ago, in late 2022, which showed 48 per cent of respondents “support” the use of the Emergencies Act in response to the protests, compared to 18 per cent who “somewhat support,” seven per cent who “somewhat oppose,” and 24 per cent who “oppose.”

(Nanos Research)

The Emergencies Act was invoked on Feb. 14, 2022, following nearly three weeks of protests in opposition to COVID-19 vaccine mandates that saw truckers roll into downtown Ottawa and gridlock the streets.

Demonstrators also blockaded some key Canada-U.S. border crossings.

According to Nanos Research, Canadians older than 55 were more likely to support or somewhat support the Emergencies Act — at 71 per cent — compared to 55 per cent of respondents aged 18-34.

When the federal government invoked the Act — for the first time in its history — in 2022, it argued that the national security risks stemming from the protests justified its use.

The Federal Court, however, ruled last month that use of the Act did “not bear the hallmarks of reasonableness — justification, transparency and intelligibility,” and that it was “not justified.”

The federal government says it plans to appeal that ruling.

The Nanos Research survey also found that two-thirds of respondents either “disagree or somewhat disagree that Freedom Convoy protesters should be financially compensated by the government for actions like freezing bank accounts.”

The question was framed using the Federal Court ruling that use of the Act was not justified, and that some of the powers it gave the federal government violated the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Fifty-seven per cent of respondents said they do not think protestors should be financially compensated, in addition to nine per cent of people who said they “somewhat disagree.”

According to the survey, 22 per cent of people believe protestors should be financially compensated, in addition to eight per cent who “somewhat agree.”

The public inquiry led by Commissioner Paul Rouleau last year — which heard from more than 70 witnesses over six weeks in addition to the submission of more than 7,000 documents — found Prime Minister Justin Trudeau met the threshold to invoke the act.

Methodology: Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,114 Canadians, 18 years of age or older, between January 29th and 31st, 2024 as part of an omnibus survey. Participants were randomly recruited by telephone using live agents and administered a survey online. The sample included both land- and cell-lines across Canada. The results were statistically checked and weighted by age and gender using the latest Census information and the sample is geographically stratified to be representative of Canada.

Individuals randomly called using random digit dialling with a maximum of five call backs.

The margin of error for this survey is ±2.9 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

This study was commissioned by CTV News and the research was conducted by Nanos Research.

Watch the full episode of Trend Line in our video player at the top of this article. You can also listen in our audio player below, or wherever you get your podcasts. The next episode comes out Wednesday, Feb. 20.

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