A recent survey of Canadian attitudes toward various countries by the Angus Reid Institute produced some interesting results. The survey covered nine countries that have been much in the news lately: the UK, France, Mexico, the U.S., India, Israel, China, Russia and Iran .

Our favourite nation, not surprisingly, was the UK with a favourable rating of 79 percent. Close behind was France at 72 percent. Our next door neighbour got a favourable rating but only 55 percent, and it was in fourth place behind Mexico.

The other five countries got unfavourable ratings. India scored the best of that list with only a 33 percent favourable rating, followed by Israel, China, Russia and finally our least liked of the lot, Iran, at a mere seven percent favourable.

As interesting as the position in the standings is the trend with some of the nations. For example, while the U.S didn’t show particularly well, it nonetheless bounced back from a low under Trump, when fewer than half of Canadians had a favourable view.

India has gone the other way, its favourability dropping double digits from a year ago. No doubt the assassination of a Sikh leader in our country allegedly by Indian agents did nothing for the country’s image. India is also suspected of meddling in Canadian elections, another hit on their popularity.

No doubt that also helps account for the low image of China, although its mischief on trade and hostility toward democracy may also contribute. Canadians’ view of China has declined from a mostly favourable view earlier in the century.

Israel has seen its popularity in this country drop significantly since its invasion of Gaza with less than a third having a favourable view of the country. Significantly, Canadians lean towards the belief that Israel is committing genocide against Palestinians.

While barely half of Canadians have a favourable view of our neighbour, three-quarters of Americans have a positive view of Canada. Our views of other countries also vary, with Americans having more favourable views of Israel and India than we do. The reverse is true for Mexico, with 60 percent of Canadians having a favourable view of the Latin country while only about half of Americans agree. A reflection of their border problems perhaps.

Views on the various countries also vary by party. Conservatives view France less favourably than NDPers or Liberals, but regard the U.S. and Israel more highly. Our view of the U.S. varies with age, with older Canadians more favourable.

There is no end of interesting things going on in all nine countries included in the survey. Elections are at the forefront in most.

Both the UK and France are involved in critical elections—elections that could see huge swings. Mexico just elected its first woman president. India, slowly turning into an autocracy under Narendra Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party, has been brought to heel in an election that reduced the party to a minority government and should start a shift back to democracy. And then there’s Iran which also faces an election; there will be no swing here as badly as one is needed. Most important, of course, is the upcoming U.S. election which could determine not only the nation’s president but its future as a democracy.

No election is scheduled for Israel as desperately as it needs one, mired in a horrific war and led by an unpopular prime minister who has been indicted for crimes both domestic and international. There will be no elections in the remaining two, China and Russia, neither destined to increase their popularity among Canadians. President Xi tightens his grip as the new emperor of China, and President Putin pursues his imperialist war while romancing North Korea’s charming Kim Jong Un.

Lots for Canadians to ponder. I will watch forthcoming surveys of their reactions with great interest.   

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