Ipsos Reid

Ipsos Reid

February 28, 2005 05:00 ET

CANADIANS ASSESS THE GOMERY COMMISSION

Majority (61%) Don't Believe Commission Will Get To The Bottom Of What Happened To Sponsorship Funds Attention: News Editor TORONTO, ONTARIO--(CCNMatthews - Feb. 28, 2005) - As the Gomery Commission, established to investigate allegations of wrongdoing with Federal Government sponsorship funds, heads into Montreal this coming week where it will open phase two of its hearings, a new Globe and Mail/CTV poll indicates that it does so with significant public cynicism about its process and pessimism about its outcome --especially in Quebec where the focus of the activities are alleged to have taken place.

The survey, conducted in the week following the historic appearances of former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and current Prime Minister Paul Martin to testify to the inquiry reveals that a majority (61%) of Canadians don't believe the Commission will get to the bottom of what happened to the sponsorship funds (55% of self-identified Liberal supporters also hold this opinion), almost half (45%) don't believe the speculated cost of $80 million for the Commission is worth it if it means finding out what actually happened, and four in ten (37%) of those aware of the inquiry believe that Commissioner Mr. Justice Gomery has shown a bias towards former Prime Minister Chrétien and predetermined the Commission's outcome--with half of those in Quebec (47%), where the Commission heads next, believing the same.

The awareness of the Commission is quite pervasive as 81% of the Canadian public acknowledges its existence, with 65% of those who are aware it saying they are following the Commission deliberations "closely". In all, 52% of Canadians are aware of and following the Commission proceedings closely-53% in Quebec.

Of those who are aware of the Commission, it would appear that the recent testimony of the previous and current Prime Minister at the Commission didn't elicit much confidence in their testimony: only 29% believe that Prime Minister Paul Martin had no knowledge of the day-to-day decisions related to the sponsorship program when he was the then Finance Minister, and even less (22%) believe the same of Mr. Chrétien when he was Prime Minister.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/ CTV/Globe And Mail poll conducted from February 15th to February 17th, 2005. For the survey, a representative randomly selected sample of 997 adult Canadians were interviewed by telephone. With a sample of this size, the aggregate results are considered accurate to within ± 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult Canadian population been polled. The margin of error will be larger within each sub-grouping of the survey population. These data were weighted to ensure the sample's regional and age/sex composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to the 2001 Census data. **Respondent answers are cross-tabulated by self identified voter intention to compare opinions across major party supporters.

Eight In Ten Canadians (81%) Aware Of Gomery Commission…

Eight in ten Canadians (81%) are aware of the "inquiry headed up by Justice Gomery" that is "investigating matters raised by the Auditor General concerning a sponsorship program established by the Federal Government years ago", while 19% of Canadians are not aware of this happening.

Those most likely to be are aware (81%) are:
· Residents of Alberta and Ontario equally (85%), followed by Quebec, (80%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (78%), Atlantic Canada (77%), and British Columbia (70%);
· Those aged 35 and over (84% vs. 71% among those aged 18-34);
· Men (84% vs. 77% among women);
· Those with an annual household income of $30,000 or more (85% vs. 64% among those with an annual household income of less than $30,000;
· Those with a University degree level education or higher (90% vs. 77% among those with lower levels of education); and
· Conservative Party supporters (87%) followed by Bloc Quebecois supporters (86%), and Liberal and NDP supporters equally (both at 79%).

Two-Thirds (65%) Of Those Aware Of The Commission Are Following Proceedings Closely…

Two-thirds (65%) of those who are aware of the Commission are following the hearings "closely" (15% very/50% somewhat), with the remainder (35%) not following these hearings "closely" (27% not very/7% not at all).

Among these respondents, those most likely to be following the hearings closely (65%) are:
· Residents of Saskatchewan/Manitoba (71%), followed by residents of Ontario (68%), Quebec (66%), Alberta (65%), Atlantic Canada (59%), and British Columbia (53%);
· Those aged 35 and over (71% vs. 48% among those aged 18-34);
· Men (72% vs. 58% among women); and
· Bloc Quebecois supporters (72%), followed by Conservative Party supporters (70%), NDP supporters (64%), and Liberal Party supporters (63%).

Most Canadians (61%) Don't Think Commission Will "Get To The Bottom" Of What Happened -- Majority (55%) Of Liberal Party Supporters Feel This Way…

Most Canadians (61%) disagree that "when the Commission is finished its work it will actually get to the bottom of what happened with the sponsorship funds" (31% somewhat/30% strongly), but 36% of Canadians do agree with this (26% somewhat/10% strongly). The remaining 3% of Canadians "don't know" if they agree or disagree.

Those most likely to disagree (61%) are:
· Residents of Saskatchewan/Manitoba (71%), followed by residents of Quebec (65%), Alberta (63%), Ontario (61%), Atlantic Canada (56%), and British Columbia (47%); and
· NDP supporters (71%), followed by Bloc Quebecois supporters (64%), Conservative Party supporters (58%), and Liberal Party supporters (55%).
Those most likely to agree (36%) are:
· Residents of British Columbia (46%), followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (42%), Ontario (36%), Quebec (33%), Alberta (32%), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (26%); and
· Liberal Party (44%) supporters followed by Conservative Party supporters (38%), Bloc Quebecois supporters (36%), and NDP supporters (26%).

And Almost Half Of Canadians (45%) Don't Feel Potential Costs Of Inquiry Are Worth It -- Including 51% Of Liberal Party Supporters…

Just under half of Canadians (45%) disagree that the potential costs of the inquiry -now speculated at up to 80 million dollars- will be worth it if it means finding out what actually happened to 100 or 200 million dollars of the sponsorship funds (18% somewhat/27% strongly). But half of Canadians (53%) agree it will be worth it (26% somewhat/26% strongly) --the remaining 2% of Canadians "don't know".

Those most likely to think it's not worth it (45%) are:
· Residents of Ontario (47%), followed by residents of British Columbia (46%), Quebec and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (both at 45%), Alberta (41%), and Atlantic Canada (40%);
· Women (48% vs. 42% among men);
· Those with an annual household income of $60,000 or more (49% vs. 42% among those with lower levels of annual household income); and
· NDP supporters (56%), followed by Liberal Party (51%) supporters, Conservative Party supporters (32%), and Bloc Quebecois supporters (30%).

Those most likely to think it is worth it (53%) are:
· Residents of Atlantic Canada (59%), followed by Alberta (56%), Quebec (53%), Ontario (52%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (49%), and British Columbia (48%);
· Men (56% vs. 49%); and
· Bloc Quebecois supporters (69%), followed by Conservative Party (66%) supporters, Liberal Party supporters (48%), and NDP supporters (42%).

Four In Ten (37%) Of Those Aware Of Commission Believe Justice Gomery Has Shown Bias Towards Former PM Chrétien And Predetermined Outcome--Half (47%) Aware In Quebec, Where The Commission Heads Next, Believe Same…

Of Canadians who are aware of the Gomery Commission (81%), 37% agree "Justice Gomery has shown bias towards former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien and others and has predetermined the outcome of the Commission before it has completed its work" (26% somewhat/11% strongly). However, half of the respondents (54%) disagree with this statement (29% somewhat/25% strongly) -- a further 9% "don't know".

Those most likely to agree (37%) are:
· Residents of Quebec (47%), followed by residents of Alberta (40%), British Columbia (35%), Ontario (34%), Atlantic Canada (28%), and Saskatchewan/Manitoba (26%);
· Those aged 18-34 (46% vs. 34% among those aged 35 and over); and
· Bloc Quebecois supporters (51%), followed by Liberal Party supporters (41%), NDP Party supporters (35%), and Conservative Party supporters (27%).

Those most likely to disagree (54%) are:
· Residents of Atlantic Canada (65%), followed by residents of Saskatchewan/Manitoba (61%), Ontario (57%), British Columbia (55%), and Alberta and Quebec equally (both at 47%);
· Those aged 35 and older (59% vs. 42% among those aged 18-34);
· Men (60% vs. 48% among women); and
· Conservative Party supporters (66%), followed by NDP supporters (51%), Liberal Party supporters (50%), and Bloc Quebecois supporters (46%).

And Seven In Ten (68%) Don't Believe Prime Minister Martin's Testimony -- Including 53% Among The Liberal Supporters…

Of these same respondents, seven in ten (68%) disagree with the statement that "I believe Paul Martin's testimony at the Gomery inquiry that he had no knowledge of the day-to-day decisions related to the sponsorship program when he was Finance Minister" (27% somewhat/42% strongly), while 29% agree with this statement (20% somewhat/9% strongly). The remaining 2% "don't know" if they agree or disagree.

Those most likely to disagree (68%) are:
· Residents of Quebec (83%), followed by residents of Alberta (70%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (68%), Ontario (63%), Atlantic Canada (60%), and British Columbia (58%); and
· Bloc Quebecois supporters (90%), followed by Conservative Party (80%) supporters, NDP party supporters (62%), and Liberal Party supporters (53%).

Those most likely to agree (29%) are:
· Residents of British Columbia (39%), followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (37%), Ontario (34%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (28%), Alberta (26%), and Quebec (16%);
· Those aged 55 and over (34% vs. 27% among those aged 18-54); and
· Liberal Party supporters (46%) followed by NDP (34%) supporters, Conservative Party supporters (17%), and Bloc Quebecois supporters (10%).

Three-Quarters (76%) Don't Believe Former PM Chrétien's Testimony -- Including 67% Among The Liberal Supporters…

Of Canadians who are aware of the Commission, three-quarters (76%) disagree with the statement that "I believe former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien's testimony at the Gomery inquiry that he had no knowledge of the day-to-day decisions related to the sponsorship program when he was Prime Minister" (24% somewhat/ 52% strongly), 22% agree (16% somewhat/7% strongly), and 2% "don't know".

Those most likely to disagree (76%) are:
· Residents of Quebec (85%), followed by residents of Saskatchewan/Manitoba and Alberta equally (both at 81%), British Columbia (78%), Atlantic Canada (72%), and Ontario (68%); and
· Bloc Quebecois (92%) supporters, followed by Conservative Party (85%) supporters, and NDP and Liberal Party supporters equally (both at 67%).

Those most likely to agree (22%) are:
· Residents of Ontario (29%), followed by residents of Atlantic Canada (26%), British Columbia (21%), Saskatchewan/Manitoba (19%), and Quebec and Alberta equally (both at 15%); and
· NDP (32%) supporters, followed closely by Liberal Party (31%) supporters, Conservative Party supporters (13%), and Bloc Quebecois Party supporters (8%).

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For more information on this news release, please contact:
John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos-Reid Public Affairs
(416) 324-2900

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