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By Chris Hannay (@channay)
Canadians have a very negative impression of the Chinese government and are narrowly opposed to a free-trade deal with that country, a new poll suggests.
The Nanos Research survey found that 76 per cent of respondents had a negative or somewhat negative view of the government of China, compared with only 2 per cent who had positive and 9 per cent who had somewhat positive opinions.
By a narrow margin, poll respondents also did not like the idea of a China-Canada free-trade deal. Forty-seven per cent said they opposed or somewhat opposed talks, and 41 per cent said they supported or somewhat supported it.
"As soon as anyone hears of a Chinese trade deal, visions of jobs don't pop into people's heads," pollster Nik Nanos said. "For the [Canadian] government, which believes that trade with China is very important, it's going to be important for them to explain how this will create jobs in Canada."
The Globe and Mail has previously reported that Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is interested in a deal with China to open up new trade opportunities, but the Asian nation would like Canada to open up its foreign investment regulations and get more oil shipped via pipeline to the coasts. Canadian auto parts makers, for their part, are looking for guarantees from Ottawa that their industry would see some kind of protection from extra competition under a free-trade deal.
The Nanos poll, conducted for The Globe and Mail, reached 1,000 Canadians through a telephone and online survey from Jan. 30 to Feb. 1. It is considered accurate to within plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW THIS MORNING
> The controversial Saudi arms deal will be exempt from a global arms trade treaty the Liberals have said they will sign, and a former diplomat says it's standard practice for governments to start following the spirit of a treaty even before they sign it.
> Canada's military training mission in Iraq could lead to a battle-hardened Kurdish army and the eventual creation of an independent Kurdish state, defence experts say.
> The Liberals will not confirm whether or not a cabinet committee tasked with defence procurement exists.
> Canadian museums are facing a looming cash crunch: briefing notes for Heritage Minister Mélanie Joly indicate 77 per cent of the museums and galleries in Canada are in buildings 35 years or older and in need of urgent repairs, and the six national museums are underfunded by $20-million a year.
> The latest on Prime Minister's Office staffing: the Liberals have hired long-time Parliamentary Press Gallery chief Terry Guillon to run their team managing media logistics. (for subscribers)
> What happened when Mr. Trudeau stumped for Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne last night.
> Who knew it would be so hard to renounce your citizenship? A record number of Americans are willingly giving up their citizenship under a sweeping tax crackdown, and those in Canada are facing thousands of dollars of costs and delays of a year or more.
> The chief of a First Nation suing the federal government says the oil on his reserve is running dry as companies drill on adjacent properties.
> Alberta's Wildrose Party is rebuffing attempts by Preston Manning to get involved with uniting the right in the province.
> And B.C. Premier Christy Clark is vowing to take action after a Globe investigation uncovered unscrupulous practices in Vancouver's real estate market. "And we'll do it in short order because what is happening in the housing market in the Lower Mainland, and in a lot of communities, it's crazy," the Premier said.
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WHAT EVERYONE'S TALKING ABOUT
"Despite Mr. Trudeau's talk of Canada playing an 'important role' and (wait for these knee-slappers) working for 'inclusive growth' and advancing 'inclusive and accountable governance' (does anyone talk that way in Syria or Iraq?), Canada has no serious standing, sway or power in the Middle East as a whole and in the Syrian and Iraq conflicts in particular. Only hubris designed presumably for domestic consumption suggests otherwise." – Jeffrey Simpson (for subscribers) on the military mission.
Lysiane Gagnon (Globe and Mail): "The contract between the province and several energy companies [for the Anticosti project] was signed by the Parti Québécois government shortly before the Liberals came to power, but – without enthusiasm – the Couillard government followed through. But, since the Paris conference, [Premier Philippe] Couillard has started publicly attacking a project that is still subject to environmental studies. "
Payam Akhavan (Globe and Mail): "Whether 'cultural genocide' is a proper legal label is less important than its reality as a mourning metaphor; and abstract disputations about precise terminology are even less important than the urgency of national reconciliation with Canada's indigenous people."
Susan Delacourt (iPolitics): "Canadian political historians ought to thank Byrne for her unexpected columnist's turn in The Globe and Mail this week, which clears up a couple of long-running mysteries – and deepens the intrigue around another lingering question from the 2015 campaign."
Carol Goar (Toronto Star): "What generally becomes clear early in a prime minister's tenure is his style of leadership, approach to governing and character. Mr. Trudeau is a team captain, not a one-man team. He takes his time assessing challenges before acting. He places a high priority on communicating directly with Canadians. And he is not immune to having fun. None of that is likely to change."
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