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Politics Canadians want Trudeau to stand up to Trump, but welcome a visit: Nanos poll

Most Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stand up to Donald Trump as a champion of progressive values and the international order, even if it strains Canada-U.S. relations, according to a new poll from Nanos Research Group.

Evan Vucci/AP

Most Canadians want Prime Minister Justin Trudeau to stand up to Donald Trump as a champion of progressive values and the international order, even if it strains Canada-U.S. relations, according to a new poll from Nanos Research Group.

A majority of Canadians also want Mr. Trudeau to invite Mr. Trump to first visit Canada, as is tradition for an incoming president, the poll says.

However, there are significant differences in how Canadian men and women view the president-elect, whose derogatory comments about women were revealed on the campaign trail.

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More women want Mr. Trudeau to stand up to Mr. Trump, while more men want the president-elect to first visit Canada, the poll said.

Nationally, 75 per cent of Canadians agree (47 per cent) or somewhat agree (28 per cent) that Mr. Trudeau should stand up to Mr. Trump on progressive values and the international order – the global system of rules and norms, such as the United Nations and NATO – that have existed since the end of the Second World War.

Nearly one in four Canadians disagree (14 per cent) or somewhat disagree (9 per cent) with Mr. Trudeau standing up to Mr. Trump, and 2 per cent are unsure, says the poll, which surveyed 1,000 Canadians between Dec. 16 and Dec. 19. The national figures have a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

"The majority of Canadians want to see Canada continue to chart its own course, even if it may create some tension with the United States and the president-elect," Nanos Research founder Nik Nanos said in an interview.

"They see Justin Trudeau as being much more proactive internationally than in the past."

Support for standing up to Mr. Trump is higher among females, at 78.6 per cent, compared with 70.4 per cent of males, the poll said.

The feeling is strongest in Atlantic Canada, where 81.3 per cent of people agree or somewhat agree that Mr. Trudeau should stand up to Mr. Trump, followed by British Columbia at 78.7 per cent and Quebec at 76.3 per cent.

In Ontario, the number is slightly lower than average, at 72.7 per cent. Those in the Prairies are less keen to stand up to Mr. Trump, with only 68.8 per cent of people who agree or somewhat agree.

Mr. Trudeau recently said he would not hesitate to protect the interests and values of Canadians, even if they clash with Mr. Trump's agenda.

"It is also in the interest of Canadians to have a more open, more tolerant, more secure world," Mr. Trudeau told The Canadian Press in a year-end interview.

On his final visit to Ottawa earlier this month, outgoing U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden called on Mr. Trudeau to be a champion of the "liberal international order" at a time when rules-based global relations and openness are under attack.

"The world is going to spend a lot of time looking to you Mr. Prime Minister as we see more and more challenges to the liberal international order than any time since the end of World War Two," he said. "You and Angela Merkel," added Mr. Biden, a reference to the German chancellor.

A majority of Canadians, at 77 per cent, also think the president-elect should be invited to Canada for his first visit after his Jan. 20 inauguration, while 16 per cent of Canadians said no and another 8 per cent are unsure.

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Support for inviting Mr. Trump rises to 82.3 per cent for males, compared with only 71.8 per cent for females, according to the poll.

The sentiment is strongest in the Prairies, at 84.4 per cent, followed by Atlantic Canada at 78.7 per cent, Ontario at 76.5 per cent and Quebec at 75.8 per cent.

Only 68.4 per cent of British Columbians, however, believe Mr. Trump should be invited to make his first visit to Canada.

Mr. Nanos said most Canadians respect the American electorate and still want to have a good relationship with the United States, even if they don't embrace Mr. Trump.

"They'd more than welcome having Donald Trump have his first visit in Canada, and for Justin Trudeau to want that," Mr. Nanos said.

"I think the only caveat is, Canadians don't expect us to roll over when it comes to what Trump wants to do internationally."

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