Home Page News Opinion Foreign Policy Politics Policy Legislation Lobbying Hill Life & People Hill Climbers Heard On The Hill Calendar Archives Classifieds
Hill Times Events Hill Times Books Hill Times Careers The Wire Report The Lobby Monitor Parliament Now
Subscribe Free Trial Reuse & Permissions Advertising
Log In
Global

Quebec survey respondents positive, pragmatic about ties with China

By Pascale Massot, Paul Evans, Xiaojun Li      

A new survey shows that Quebecers have views of China even more positive than in the rest of Canada.

Quebec respondents who completed a recent survey for the University of British Columbia and University of Ottawa in French are even more positive about China than those who completed the survey in English, though sample sizes are too small to draw any firm conclusions. The Hill Times photograph by Sam Garcia
Share a story
The story link will be added automatically.

As Ottawa awaits the outcome of the NAFTA negotiations and amidst deepening tensions in United States-China relations, a new survey shows that Quebecers have views of China and the prospect of deeper relations even more positive than in the rest of Canada.

Conducted by Qualtrics on behalf of a research team based at the School of Public Policy and Global Affairs at the University of British Columbia and the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa, the survey conducted in March used identical questions posed to a national sample in September 2017. Respondents had the option of responding in either official language, 296 choosing English and 225 French.

Paul Evans is a professor with the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. Photograph courtesy of Paul Evans

Contrary to media speculation that Quebecers would be more anxious than other Canadians about China’s rising presence and influence, in several key areas Quebec residents were in fact more optimistic about opportunities and less concerned about the risks.

Like Canadians elsewhere, Quebec respondents see trade and investment as the top priorities for the federal government followed by cooperation on global issues including climate change, counter-terrorism, and peacekeeping. Seventy-two per cent support negotiation of a Canada-China free trade agreement, slightly higher than the 69 per cent in the national survey in 2017.

Fully 48 per cent hold a favourable view of China compared to 36 per cent in the national survey. This compares to 53 per cent who hold a favourable view of the United States, a figure almost identical to that in the national survey.

Pascale Massot is an assistant professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. Photograph courtesy of Paul Evans

Like the national sample, a significant majority of Quebec respondents feel that China will surpass the United States in the next decade as the world’s largest economic power. They also see that in the next decade China will be a more responsible global leader than the United States, more likely to maintain global peace, be more respectful of people around the world, and be better at addressing environmental issues. They are slightly less concerned about China’s influence on housing affordability.

Xiaojun Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of British Columbia. Photograph courtesy of Paul Evans

Views of China’s political system and human rights record are as negative as they are in the rest of Canada. Unlike the national sample, Quebec respondents ranked advancing human rights in China ahead of protecting Canadian values and institutions at home from a rising Chinese presence. They are more likely to disagree with the proposition that China is too powerful to be pressured about its human rights situation and more likely to view the strengthening of rule of law as the best way to improve human rights.

The two surveys point to continued anxiety about global order and leadership in the era of Donald Trump. Despite this—perhaps because of this—Canadians inside and outside Quebec harbour a willingness to expand relations with China even while they’re aware of its more assertive foreign and defence policies and rising presence inside Canada.

This pragmatism stands in contrast to the frequent negativity of editorial opinions about Xi Jinping’s China in much of the mainstream English-language media. Quebec respondents who completed the survey in French are even more positive about China than those who completed the survey in English, though sample sizes are too small to draw any firm conclusions.

In Quebec, social media is the most frequent source of news about China followed by TV, whereas online newspapers and blogs take the top spot Canada-wide. The evidence that a considerably higher proportion of Quebecers (42 per cent) almost never listen, watch, or read news about China as compared to 27 per cent in the rest of Canada may help explain the link between media exposure and attitudes.

The results from both the Quebec and national surveys suggest that the door is open to a more active agenda by the Trudeau government in deepening relations and living with a China that Canadians across the country recognize as increasingly important to their future.

The full results for the Quebec survey, including for the aggregate and both the French and English language responses, as well as the October 2017 national survey are available at www.iar.ubc.ca/reports.

Paul Evans is a professor with the Institute of Asian Research at the University of British Columbia. Xiaojun Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at the same university. Pascale Massot is an assistant professor in the School of Political Studies at the University of Ottawa. 

The Hill Times

Politics This Morning

Get the latest news from The Hill Times

Politics This Morning


Your email has been added. An email has been sent to your address, please click the link inside of it to confirm your subscription.
More in News

RCMP forensic lab ‘drowning in work’ as it misses all response targets, internal figures show

Lawyer Rick Woodburn says prosecutors have to wait too long for samples from the lab, leading to worrying court delays and cases being thrown out.

Booting of NATO group chair prompts new rules for association oversight

The Joint Interparliamentary Council approved a new process to step in when parliamentary associations lose confidence in their leaders.

As tax season nears, feds freeze Phoenix system changes to help issue proper income slips

News|By Emily Haws
Meanwhile, some MPs say they're still frustrated by the lack of constituency office support on Phoenix cases, and efforts continue to reduce the pay-problem case backlog, which on Nov. 28 was 289,000 open files.

Finance bureaucrats, House committee need to stop working in silos on budget planning, says ex-PBO Page

News|By Emily Haws
Liberal House Finance Committee chair Wayne Easter says he thinks the finance minister, his staff and bureaucrats have been listening.

Nothing in migration compact tells Canada to ‘open borders,’ says UN refugee agency rep

Also, Kazakhstan celebrates its 27th anniversary of independence and deepening relations with Canada after the historic visit of a Canadian Governor General.

End of an era: reporters say goodbye to the Hot Room as Centre Block closes for the next decade

Feature|By Emily Haws
The Hot Room, located at 350-N, gives regional correspondents and freelancers colleagues to bounce ideas off of and grow, says Winnipeg Free Press reporter Dylan Robertson.

‘Alberta is angry,’ says political strategist who predicts big trouble there for Trudeau’s Liberals in 2019

News|By Abbas Rana
The federal government needs to put in place a plan to help out Albertans in the fossil fuel industry to retrain themselves to find jobs in the green energy sector, says NDP MP Linda Duncan.

Feds’ justice reforms, poverty-reduction bill priorities for House in coming months: Chagger

News|By Beatrice Paez
House Leader Bardish Chagger said the government is hoping to see progress on Bill C-87, which seeks to halve poverty by 2030, and Bill C-75, a package of reforms to the justice system, in the coming months.

‘Failure is not an option’: NDPers say they’re optimistic heading into 2019, despite falling political fortunes, but much rides on Singh’s byelection win

Burnaby South, B.C., byelection offers a key chance for NDP leader Jagmeet Singh to take the national spotlight, but ‘failure is not an option,’ says former NDP staffer Farouk Karim.
Your group subscription includes premium access to Politics This Morning briefing.