Canadians are concerned that Syrian refugees are getting preferential treatment in the immigration process, according to an exclusive poll conducted for CityNews by Forum Research.
“Canadians are compassionate, but also strictly fair, and hate queue jumpers,” said Lorne Bozinoff, the president and founder of Forum Research.
“There is a sense that these refugees are getting into Canada ahead of some other groups who may have been waiting as long, and that has an effect.”
In a random sampling of 1,369 Canadian voters, 54 per cent are concerned Syrian refugees invited to Canada will get preferential treatment in the immigration queue, and one third (34 per cent) are “very” concerned.
A higher level of concern is characteristic of those 45 to 54 year old (60 per cent), the least wealthy (63 per cent), in Alberta (69 per cent) and among Conservative voters (80 per cent) and among the least educated (66 per cent).
Those with the highest education had the least concerns, at 37 per cent, the poll found.
Meanwhile, Canadians are evenly split when it comes to the impact thousands of Syrian refugees will have on the country, the same poll found.
The random sampling showed that 34 per cent believe the refugees will have a positive impact on the country, with an equal 34 per cent also believing they will not have a positive impact.
Thirty-two per cent had no opinion.
Young, wealthy Canadians from Atlantic Canada were the most optimistic that refugees would have a positive impact.
The poll also found refugees were most welcome among Liberals and New Democrats.
Conservatives scored lowest when it came to their feelings about the refugees, with just 11 per cent believing they will have a positive impact, according to the poll.
“It appears that constant controversy over, not the refugees themselves, but the mechanics of getting them here, has eroded some of the traditional welcome Canadians extend to newcomers,” said Forum Research president Dr. Lorne Bozinoff.
Results are based on the total sample of 1,369 and are considered accurate plus-or-minus three per cent, 19 times out of 20.
On Wednesday, it was revealed that Canadians are nearly split on their support of the government’s plan to resettle 25,000 Syrian refugees, with 48 per cent supporting the plan and 44 per cent opposing it.
And of those opposing the plan, the majority say the government should be focusing on problems within Canada, like homelessness.