TORONTO: Canada’s political landscape is undergoing a significant transformation as religious communities reassess their support for the Liberal Party amid the Gaza conflict.

A recent survey conducted by one of Canada’s top pollsters for public opinion research revealed that the support of the Liberal Party of Canada, led by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, among key religious communities, was declining.

The survey, ‘Religion and Vote’, condu­cted by the Angus Reid Instit­ute had a sample size of 2,450 Cana­dian adults, including 1,006 who identified as Muslims, Hindus, Jews or Sikh.

Muslim voters turn to the NDP

The survey revealed a notable decline in the support for Liberals among Canadian Muslims, 31 per cent of whom demonstrated the intention to vote for the party.

Muslims, Sikhs, Hindus, Jews ‘disenchanted’ with Trudeau govt’s policies

Comparatively, 41pc favoured the New Democratic Party (NDP), led by Jagmeet Singh. This shift was attributed to the growing discontent with the Trudeau administration’s handling of the Gaza conflict.

Many Muslim Canadians feel the government’s response has been inadequate, particularly in addressing humanitarian concerns.

The recent escalation in Gaza has heightened awareness and sensitivity among Muslim voters, who are looking for stronger and more decisive action in support of Palestinians.

In addition to foreign policy concerns, domestic issues have also played a role in the declining support for Liberals. Muslim Canadians have voiced frustration over the perceived lack of meaningful action on issues such as systemic racism, Islam­ophobia and economic inequality.

Jewish support for Conservatives

Among Canadian Jews, the Conservatives have emerged as the preferred party, garnering 42pc of the voting intention, while the Liberals trail at 33pc.

The community’s dissatisfaction stemmed from perceived failures by the Trudeau government to combat rising antisemitism and its response to the Israel-Gaza conflict. This shift was particularly significant given the historically strong support for the Libe­rals within the Jewish community.

According to community leaders and survey respondents, the government’s efforts to address antisemitic incidents and hate crimes were insufficient and reactive rather than proactive.

Additionally, many Jewish Canadians felt the government’s stance on the Gaza conflict lacked a firm commitment to supporting Israel unequivocally.

This sentiment was echoed in the survey, with many Jewish respondents indicating a preference for the Conservative Party, which has been more vocal in its support for Israel and has pledged stronger measures to combat antisemitism.

The declining support for the Liberals was also evident among other religious groups — Christians, Hindus, and Sikhs — the majority of whom are now leaning towards the Conservative Party.

The survey indicated that Hindu and Sikh voters were increasingly turning to the Conservative Party, which they perceive as being more aligned with their values and concerns.

Impact of Gaza conflict

The ongoing conflict in Gaza has placed the Trudeau administration under intense scrutiny, particularly regarding its foreign policy stance.

According to the survey, at least half of Muslims and Jews reported a worsened opinion of Prime Minister Trudeau in recent weeks. This dissatisfaction highlighted the growing divide between the government’s actions and the expectations of these communities.

Despite Trudeau’s declining appro­val, opposition leaders have not significantly capitalised on the situation. NDP leader Jagmeet Singh has a mixed reception among Musl­ims, with 22pc viewing him more favourably and 20pc less favourably.

Conservative leader Pierre Poilievre also faces increased disapproval from Muslims, with 47pc expressing a worsened opinion.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2024

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