Canadians support non-combat role – open to bringing 25,000 Syrian refugees (Globe and Mail/Nanos Survey)


Canadians support training local troops in Syria and accepting 25,000 refugees; split on sending Canadian troops to fight ISIS or providing only humanitarian aid

A majority of Canadians support sending non-combat personnel to Syria to train local troops, as well as the Trudeau Liberals’ pledge to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees into Canada. Contrary to current government plans, deploying Canadian fighter jets to support the international mission was also supported, although support has experienced a decline over the past year. Support was split among Canadians when considering sending in Canadian ground troops to fight ISIS directly, or providing only humanitarian aid.

  • Training local troops only – The most popular choice for intervention in the Syrian conflict, according to Canadians, is to deploy non-combat military to train local troops in the region. Four fifths of Canadians (81%) either support or somewhat support the deployment of non-combat troops (54% support; 27% somewhat support), while 16% of Canadians either somewhat oppose or oppose the same idea (8% oppose; 8% somewhat oppose).
  • Accepting 25,000 refugees – The majority of Canadians (65%) support or somewhat support the Trudeau liberal plan to bring in 25,000 refugees from Syria into Canada as promised by the Trudeau Liberals during the election (46% support; 19% somewhat support). Twelve percent say they would somewhat oppose this plan, and one fifth (22%) say they would oppose the plan.
  • Deployment of fighter jets – Contrary to the Trudeau Liberal’s plan to stop Canadian air support in the international mission in Syria, a majority of Canadians (59%) continue to support or somewhat support the deployment of fighter jets in Syria. Thirty-eight percent support, and 21% somewhat support deploying the jets- down from those who supported (44%), and who somewhat supported (21%), deployment of jets a year ago. However, almost two fifth (38%) of Canadians somewhat opposed or opposed this plan (16% oppose; 22% somewhat oppose).
  • Deployment of Canadian ground troops – Opinions on deploying ground troops to Syria were split among Canadians. Just under half of Canadians (49%) either oppose or somewhat oppose sending in ground troops to Syria to fight ISIS. Thirty-two percent said they oppose  such a plan, and 17% said they somewhat oppose it,however, fewer Canadians oppose sending in troops now compared to 2014, where 40% of respondents said they opposed such a plan. Just under half of Canadians (47%) said they would support or somewhat support sending in ground troops (24% support; 23% somewhat support)
  • Provide only humanitarian support – Opinions on providing  only humanitarian aid to Syria were similarly split among Canadians. Just under half of Canadians (49%) either oppose or somewhat oppose providing only humanitarian support and offering no military involvement in Syria (32% oppose; 17% somewhat oppose), compared to 23% who said they would oppose and 14% who said they would somewhat oppose the same thing a year ago. Comparatively, just under half of Canadians (47%) would support or somewhat support providing only humanitarian aid. Twenty-five percent of participants said they would support, and 22% said they would somewhat support, this type of intervention. This is a decline from 2014 when 38% supported, and 21% somewhat supported, the same action.

The full survey results can be found by visiting our website


Nanos conducted an RDD dual frame (land- and cell-lines) hybrid telephone and online random survey of 1,000 Canadians between November 21st and 24th, 2015 as part of a Canadian 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. The research was commissioned by the Globe and Mail.

The margin of accuracy for a random sample of 1,000 Canadians is 3.1 percentage points, plus or minus, 19 times out of 20.

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