“More than two-thirds of Canadians feel Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the wrong choice in awarding a $10.5 million settlement to Omar Khadr, according to a new poll by the Angus Reid Institute.” CBC News
But we don’t see the survey questions in this article. How was the poll actually worded? Reading one article might make us believe we are well informed, but how does a single poll actually tell us how people feel?
“And while the survey shows that a majority of Liberals and New Democrats are opposed to the government's decision, how the numbers compare to previous polling suggests that views on Khadr have hardened over the last decade — and that he remains a divisive figure.”
How can a single poll tell whether Khadr is a divisive figure or not? What information do respondents have to make such a claim?
The article then switches to a former US special force soldier who was blinded in one eye during the 2002 firefight in Afghanistan involving Khadr. Of course he would be critical of this, but who needs a US soldier’s advice on a decision between Canada and Khadr. Why would we expect the widow of Sgt. Christopher Speer who was killed in that battle to agree either?
The article claims 71% of respondents agreed the government had "done the wrong thing". "Though Khadr has publicly renounced the radicalized worldview of his father, almost two-in-three Canadians (64%) don’t appear to believe him." says the ARI article. What information do they have to believe or disbelieve? What news sources do they get their information from? Who paid for the Angus Reid Poll?
How would these respondents feel if their son or daughter was imprisoned and tortured at the age of 15? How would they feel if their government did nothing to help for ten years and left them there to be interrogated by a formidable power?
But here is the reason I suspect this CBC article was written. "This disapproval with the government's decision extended to Trudeau's own supporters: 61 per cent of Canadians who said they voted Liberal in 2015 felt that the wrong decision had been made. That increased to 64 per cent among NDP voters.”
This article is much more about a Conservative push to win public opinion with help from a single poll and media. Andrew Sheer was quoted here almost as a wink that we can expect him to be the next prime minister.
The article claims the “poll suggests Conservative Leader Andrew Scheer, in his fierce criticism of Trudeau's decision to settle with Khadr, is on the right side of public opinion.”
I don't believe a single poll represents public opinion in a deep and meaningful way. I believe we feel more comfortable when justice is done. We would probably be sickened to see or hear of the cruelty that happens in prisons and battlefields. We value kindness and helpful neighbours, but we haven't figured out how to create that politically and economically.