Nik Nanos digs beneath the numbers with CBC News Networks' Power & Politics host Evan Solomon to get at the political, economic and social forces that shape our lives.
This week: What country do Canadians feel presents the biggest threat to national security?
In an exclusive poll done by Nanos Research for Power & Politics, Canadians were asked "In your opinion, which of the following countries is the greatest threat to the security of Canada?"
You can view the results in the slideshow below:
STORY CONTINUES BELOW SLIDESHOW
<a href="http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/10/24/pol-nanos-number-oct24-threats.html">Data from Nanos Survey for CBC's Power & Politics</a>. National representative online survey of 1,000 Canadians 18 years of age and older. Completed Oct. 13-14, 2012.
4. Russia - 3.1 per cent
Other - 6.9 per cent
3. Afghanistan - 10.9 per cent
None of them - 17.4 per cent
2. Iran - 17.9 per cent
1. China - 20.9 per cent
Unsure - 22.9 per cent
China topped responses as the country respondents felt presented the greatest threat to Canada, and those feelings are not inconsequential when you consider the government's policy on China, says Nik Nanos.
Prime Minister Harper has put a lot of emphasis on strengthening Canada's ties to China, including increasing trade and encouraging Chinese investment in Canadian resources and companies.
Right now, Industry Canada is reviewing the proposed $15-billion takeover of Nexen by the Chinese state-owned CNOOC, so how could Canadians perceived worry about China impact deals like that one?
"What it means when you look at these numbers, is that there's a security element: What does the deal mean, if anything, in terms of national security to Canada," Nanos says.
Talk in the United States about China could also impact how Canadians are feeling about these kind of deals.
"The Americans have been taking the Chinese threat very seriously. I think what it means is when we're looking these Chinese investments, it's not just dollars and cents and jobs. Security, at least if you ask average Canadians, should be another factor at play," Nanos says.
The political challenges
Nanos says it all comes down to the China brand and how it is managed.
"China has an issue when it comes to managing its own brand," Nanos says.
The issue is also split along gender lines, and that could be problematic for the government. Men are more suspect of China than women, Nanos says. Twenty five per cent of men ranked China as Canada's biggest security threat, compared to 16.5 per cent of women.
"Men are critical for the Conservatives in terms of their ruling coaliton, and their ability to form a majority government. So they have to watch how this cuts into a group that is critical for the Conservatives," Nanos says.
Recognized as one of Canada's top research experts, Nik Nanos provides numbers-driven counsel to senior executives and major organizations. He leads the analyst team at Nanos, is a Fellow of the Marketing Research and Intelligence Association and a Research Associate Professor with SUNY (Buffalo).
Related on HuffPost:
Here are a few details of the major investment deal coming soon between Canada and China, as well as a list of what CBC chief political correspondent Terry Milewski calls a "small blizzard of incremental agreements," signed in Beijing. <em>With files from CBC</em>. (Diego Azubel-PoolGetty Images)
The Big One: FIPA
Prime Minister Stephen Harper called the foreign investment promotion and protection agreement (FIPA) between Canada and China the first "comprehensive economic agreement" between the two countries. In fact, what was signed by Harper and Chinese Premier Wen Jaibao in Beijing is not the final deal, but a declaration of intent: Now it must be legally reviewed and ratified by both governments, which for Canada will mean a debate in the House of Commons. Once both countries complete this process, it will need to be formally signed to take effect. This deal will protect Canadians investing in China, as well as Chinese investors in Canada, from "discriminatory and arbitrary practices." Once in place, investors can have more confidence that rules will be enforced and valuable business deals will be subject to predictable legal practices. Harper told reporters in Beijing he "absolutely" expected that it will make a "practical difference." "The agreement does not override existing Canadian law in regard to foreign investment and foreign investment review," Harper said. "Those laws remain in place." Negotiations for this agreement took 18 years, and key players in manufacturing, mining and the financial sectors were consulted to get to this stage. It's not unusual for Canada to have this kind of an agreement with a trading partner. FIPAs are in force with 24 other countries that trade with Canada, and active negotiations are underway with 10 other countries, according to the government's announcement. (Diego Azubel-PoolGetty Images)
The 'Blizzard' (By Sector):
(AP Photo/Valentina Petrova)
- A new protocol, building on a 2010 agreement to restore Canada's market access to the Chinese market for Canadian beef following the 2003 BSE outbreak and resulting border closures, to allow industrial beef tallow (fat) to be imported for the first time in almost a decade. China used to be Canada's top export market for tallow ($31 million in 2002), and now Canada has a shot at a share of the $400 million in tallow China imports from around the world. - A memorandum of understanding (MOU) on canola research, to address a recent fungal disease in canola and rapeseed that threatens Canada's valuable trading relationship with China in canola. - On Tuesday, Chinese aquaculture feed company Tongwei announced it will increase its purchase of Canadian canola by up to $240 million per year by 2015. (DAVID BUSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
- A MOU between Natural Resources Canada and the Chinese Academy of Sciences to collaborate on scientific research on sustainable development of natural resources. The government release touts benefits including new technologies for resource firms, carbon emissions reduction strategies, reduced environmental impacts and natural hazards from resource development, and new opportunities for Canadian suppliers of equipment and services. - A MOU spelling out a "framework" for Parks Canada and China's state forestry administration to collaborate and share scientific expertise in the management of national parks, natural reserves and other protected areas. The agreement includes language around ecological restoration, conservation measures for endangered wildlife, wetlands development, and the preservation of forests and wetlands. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/47096398@N08/" target="_hplink">Flickr: eleephotography</a>)
- A continuation of the MOU, first signed in 2001 and renewed in 2006, on energy co-operation to "engage China on energy issues" through a Canada-China joint working group on energy co-operation, chaired by Natural Resources Canada and China's national energy administration, which is responsible for Chinese energy policy. The working group oversees joint research projects, exchange of expertise, and co-operation between energy companies in both countries, including the promotion of energy efficiency and renewables. It aims to both attract capital investment and improve market access for Canadian energy resources and technology. (MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images)
Science and Technology
- Approval of seven projects, valued at $10 million, under the Canada-China framework for co-operation on science and technology and innovation, including: a diagnostic kit for acute kidney injuries, a wind energy seawater desalination system, a waste heat-recovery system to help oil refineries consume less fuel, new solar cells for renewable energy panels, a real-time multi-sensor navigational tracking device for hand-held devices, a blue-green algae bloom warning system and "next generation" large-scale geographic information systems. - Two more calls for proposals, valued at $18 million ($9 million from each country) for joint research under the same framework. These proposals are for the development of "innovations with high commercial potential" in the areas of human vaccines and clean automotive transportation. The Canada-China joint committee on science and technology, made up of individuals from industry, academia and government, sets the priorities and oversees these projects. (To date, 21 projects ranging from nuclear power to AIDS drugs, to clean technologies for pulp and paper have received some $28 million in funding.) (TOSHIFUMI KITAMURA/AFP/Getty Images)
- A renewed MOU extending and modifying the Canada-China scholars' exchange program, which has seen 900 students travel between Canada and China since 1973. New eligibility rules and scholarships will be in place for the next round of competitions in 2012, including eight to 12 Canadian scholarships for Chinese professionals and 20 awards for Canadian university students. (<a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/plutor/" target="_hplink">Flickr: Plutor</a>)