B.C. Split On Idle No More, Poll Suggests

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Idle No More has split opinions in British Columbia. (Facebook) | Facebook

A nationwide CBC News/Nanos online survey suggests British Columbians are divided in the their view of the Idle No More movement and nearly two thirds do not believe that the hunger strike by Attiwapiskat Chief Theresa Spence will advance the cause of indigenous people in Canada.

Idle No More has been attempting to bring more attention to Bill C-45, the Conservative government's controversial omnibus budget bill that directly affects First Nations communities.

The movement has said the bill erodes the rights of native people. First Nations leaders say there has been a lack of consultation on changes to environmental protection regulations.

When asked if they have a positive, somewhat positive, somewhat negative or negative view of Idle No More, 113 people in B.C. responded:

- 36 per cent said they had a positive or somewhat positive view.

- 48 per cent had a somewhat negative or negative view.

- 15.8 per cent said they were unsure.

Nationally, with 642 responses, 40.6 percent had a positive or somewhat positive view, 45.5 per cent had a somewhat negative or negative view and 13.9 per cent were unsure.

Hunger strike question

Spence’s hunger strike, which began Dec. 11 and ended Thursday, was an effort to draw attention specifically to substandard living conditions on her northern Ontario reserve, but also attracted much attention and became identified with Idle No More.

When asked if Spence’s hunger protest would advance or not advance the cause of indigenous people in Canada, 150 people in B.C. responded:

- 14.8 per cent said it would advance the cause.

- 62.8 per cent said it would not advance the cause.

- 22.4 per cent said they were unsure.

Across Canada, with 1,000 responses, 17.8 per cent said the movement would advance the case, 54.1 per cent said it would not and 28.1 per cent said they were unsure.

High level of awareness

A significant majority of those who were asked said they were aware of Idle No More. When asked if they had heard or not heard of the movement, 150 in B.C. responded and 75.6 per cent said they had heard of the movement, 20 per cent said they hadn’t and 4.4 per cent were unsure.

The proportion in B.C. who said they were aware was the highest of any region in the country. The lowest reported awareness was in Atlantic Canada where, among the 100 people who responded, 55.4 per cent said they had heard of Idle No More.

Nationally, there were 1,000 responses, with 64.2 per cent saying they were aware of the movement, 27.8 per cent saying they were not aware and 7.9 per cent were unsure.

The survey by the Nanos polling organization and the CBC asked the three questions in a random representative online survey of 1,000 Canadians aged 18 and over. There were as many as 150 responses to the questions in B.C. The survey was conducted Jan. 18 and 19.

No reliable margin of error can be estimated in random online polls.

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