January 20, 2009 06:01 ET

If Obama Closes Guantanamo, Two Thirds (64%) Say Prime Minister

Harper Should Ask to Bring Omar Khadr Back to Canada, Not Keep in U.S. (36%)

Attention: News Editor, Government/Political Affairs Editor TORONTO, ON--(Marketwire - Jan. 20, 2009) - Toronto, ON - Incoming President Barack Obama is expected to issue an order to close the Guantanamo detention center in his first week in office, and prisoner Omar Khadr, a Canadian citizen and the only Western citizen still held at the detention camp who is scheduled to stand trial later this month, could be transferred to U.S. civilian detention or returned to Canada if Prime Minister Stephen Harper asks the Americans to repatriate him.

Mr. Khadr, 22, faces charges for allegedly killing a U.S. soldier in Afghanistan with a grenade when he was 15. He was arrested in July of 2002 after an intense battle during which he was severely wounded.

The results of a new Ipsos Reid poll conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global Television reveals that two in three (64%) Canadians 'support' (27% very much/36% somewhat) 'Prime Minister Harper asking the Americans to repatriate Mr. Khadr and bring him back to Canada'. On the other hand, one in three (36%) Canadians 'opposes' (17% very much/19% somewhat) this course of action.

Atlantic Canadians (69%) are most supportive of the Prime Minister asking the Americans to repatriate Omar Khadr, followed by those living in British Columbia (67%), Ontario (65%), Saskatchewan and Manitoba (64%), Quebec (61%) and Alberta (58%).

Younger Canadians (73%), aged 18 to 34, are significantly more supportive than middle-aged (61%), aged 35 to 54, or older Canadians (59%) of this idea.

Women (70%) are more likely to support this plan than are men (58%).

When compared to Ipsos Reid data collected in July of 2008, it appears that with the prospect of the Guantanamo detention center being closed, public opinion regarding Mr. Khadr has done an about face: in July, six in ten (60%) Canadians believed that he 'should remain in U.S. custody because he is being tried by a U.S. military court, and that Canada needs to allow this legal process to finish before deciding whether or not to ask for his return' to Canada.' This compared to four in ten (40%) Canadians who believed at the time that since 'Mr. Khadr is a Canadian citizen, the U.S. military has no right to detain and try him, and our government should be asking for his immediate return to Canada'.

These are the findings of a poll conducted on behalf of Canwest News Service and Global National from January 13 to 15, 2009. This online survey of 1016 Canadian adults was conducted via the Ipsos I-Say Online Panel, Ipsos Reid's national online panel. The results of these polls are based on a sample where quota sampling and weighting are employed to balance demographics and ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual Canadian population according to Census data. Quota samples with weighting from the Ipsos online panel provide results that are intended to approximate a probability sample. Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls, however, an unweighted probability sample of this size, with a 100% response rate, would have an estimated margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had the entire adult population of Canada been polled.

For more information on this news release, please contact:

John Wright
Senior Vice President
Ipsos Reid
Public Affairs
(416) 324-2002

About Ipsos Reid
Ipsos Reid is Canada's market intelligence leader, the country's leading provider of public opinion research, and research partner for loyalty and forecasting and modelling insights. With operations in eight cities, Ipsos Reid employs more than 600 research professionals and support staff in Canada. The company has the biggest network of telephone call centres in the country, as well as the largest pre-recruited household and online panels. Ipsos Reid's marketing research and public affairs practices offer the premier suite of research vehicles in Canada, all of which provide clients with actionable and relevant information. Staffed with seasoned research consultants with extensive industry-specific backgrounds, Ipsos Reid offers syndicated information or custom solutions across key sectors of the Canadian economy, including consumer packaged goods, financial services, automotive, retail, and technology & telecommunications. Ipsos Reid is an Ipsos company, a leading global survey-based market research group.

To learn more, please visit www.ipsos.ca.

About Ipsos
Ipsos is a leading global survey-based market research company, owned and managed by research professionals. Ipsos helps interpret, simulate, and anticipate the needs and responses of consumers, customers, and citizens around the world.

Member companies assess market potential and interpret market trends. They develop and build brands. They help clients build long-term relationships with their customers. They test advertising and study audience responses to various media. They measure public opinion around the globe.

Ipsos member companies offer expertise in advertising, customer loyalty, marketing, media, and public affairs research, as well as forecasting, modeling, and consulting. Ipsos has a full line of custom, syndicated, omnibus, panel, and online research products and services, guided by industry experts and bolstered by advanced analytics and methodologies. The company was founded in 1975 and has been publicly traded since 1999.

In 2007, Ipsos generated global revenues of €927.2 million ($1.27 billion U.S.).

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Contact Information

  • John Wright, Senior Vice President, Ipsos Reid Public Affairs
    Primary Phone: 416-324-2002
    E-mail: john.wright@ipsos.com