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International Trade

Canadians value free trade. A surprise development in the 21 century. Not too long ago we fought elections on free trade. Now it is part of our cultural attitude.

A 2017 global Ipsos poll found that Canada is the 8th most supportive of free trade of 24 countries polled. Fully 89% either strongly agree (56%) or somewhat agree (33%) that “Free trade is beneficial for my country’s economy.”

Historical tracking shows that after NAFTA came into force support for the agreement rose slowly. It reached as high as 60% in 1994. Later surveys would show even more support. Free trade became part of the status quo. None of the major parties or provincial governments have made it a political issue so Canadians were left with little reason to move off their support for free trade.

The U.S. is our main trade partner and so NAFTA and its successor dominate polls. Trade with our nations is on the agenda and Canadians are supportive.

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Canadians Increasingly Believe NAFTA Benefits Canada [Angus Reid Institute]

As Canada is about to impose retaliatory tariffs on U.S. goods, it is interesting that Canadians have become more positive about the role of NAFTA in Canada. More than half (56%) now think the...