A vast majority of Canadians believes the United States bears at least some
responsibility for the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks because of U.S. policies in
the Middle East and around the globe, according to a Globe and Mail/CTV poll.
And a significant, but smaller, majority said Canada is doing enough to support
the United States in the war on terrorism, the Ipsos-Reid survey released yesterday
The poll was released as Prime Minister Jean Chrétien prepares to head
to New York next week for the first anniversary of the attack on the World Trade
Center that killed almost 3,000 civilians.
On Monday, Mr. Chrétien will meet U.S. President George W. Bush in
Detroit to discuss border security and ways to relieve congestion caused by increased
vigilance at the border. The two leaders also are expected to talk about U.S.
threats to attack Iraq and topple the regime of Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Bush is trying to build support from U.S. allies for an attack, and has
won a promise of help from British Prime Minister Tony Blair, but not from Mr.
Mr. Chrétien has been criticized particularly in the immediate
aftermath of Sept. 11 for being cautious in his support for the U.S. antiterrorism
In an interview with CTV's Question Period to be aired on Sunday, Deputy Prime
Minister John Manley echoes Mr. Chrétien's doubts about whether Iraq should
be a target in the war on terrorism.
"We haven't been in the camp with Tony Blair and others who say there
should be a pre-emptive attack," Mr. Manley said. "We've said there
should be, in order to consider this part of the war against terrorism, evidence
that Iraq is somehow connected to al-Qaeda.
"We have not signed on for the change-the-regime movement in Iraq,"
Mr. Manley said.
Paul Cellucci, the U.S. ambassador to Canada, said the Bush administration
recognizes that it needs to persuade many of its allies about its case against
"We've said all along we are ready to make the case," Mr. Cellucci
said. "That's what the President will be doing next week."
But John Wright, vice-president of Ipsos-Reid, said Mr. Chrétien has
better reflected the public mood in Canada than the more bellicose opposition
leaders and pundits have.
In the Ipsos-Reid survey which polled 1,000 Canadians last week
69 per cent of respondents said the U.S. shares some of the responsibility for
the attacks, while 15 per cent said all of the responsibility sits on American
shoulders. The attacks killed thousands of civilians and U.S. military personnel
at the World Trade Center in New York and the Pentagon in Washington.
Fourteen per cent said the United States does not bear any responsibility
for the attacks.
In the immediate aftermath of Sept. 11, critics were pilloried for suggesting
the United States bore some responsibility for the attacks, and Mr. Wright said
U.S. pollsters will not ask the question.
But he said the poll suggests Canadians recognize that the projection of military
might around the world comes with a price tag, even as many Americans struggle
to understand why they were attacked.
"I think this is Canadians saying, 'You are bound to get stung when you
stick your hand in the hornets' nest looking for honey,'" Mr. Wright said.
"But I don't think this is evidence of people saying they deserved what they
got at all."
He said there has been considerable evidence that U.S. intelligence and law-enforcement
agencies did not act on a series of warnings.
He said Canadians generally support the government's efforts to tighten security
at home and send troops to Afghanistan but share the government's caution on Iraq.
Sixty-one per cent of those surveyed said Ottawa has done enough to support
the United States in the war on terrorism, while 24 per cent said it has not done
enough; 14 per cent said it has done too much.
Eighty-three per cent of Canadians believe that the massive United-States-led
bombardment of Afghanistan has failed Mr. Bush's stated aim to kill or capture
al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden.
© 2002 Bell Globemedia Interactive Inc