As political watchers across the country await with bated breath testimony from former Attorney General and Justice Minister Jody Wilson-Raybould, the latest public opinion poll from the non-profit Angus Reid Institute shows the SNC-Lavalin affair taking a toll on the fortunes of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and his Liberal government.
While it remains unclear exactly how much – if any – pressure Trudeau and his staff put on Wilson-Raybould not to prosecute the Quebec-based engineering firm for fraud and corruption charges stemming from its business in Libya, most Canadians (66%) say they believe there is a deeper scandal in the Prime Minister’s Office. Moreover, a similar number (63%) say they believe SNC-Lavalin should be fully prosecuted under the criminal code, rather than allowed to negotiate a remediation agreement, as the PMO reportedly would have preferred.
These findings correspond with low marks for Trudeau himself. Fully six-in-ten Canadians (60%) say they have an unfavourable view of the Prime Minister, and a nearly identical 59 per cent say their opinion of him has worsened over the last month or so. While this is driven largely by the negative views of right-of-centre voters, it’s notable that three-in-ten (28%) who would vote for Trudeau’s Liberal Party in an election held tomorrow also say their view of the PM has worsened.
All of this creates a political landscape in which Trudeau’s Liberals would find themselves trailing Andrew Scheer’s Conservative Party of Canada by seven percentage points (38% to 31%) in the event an election were held tomorrow.
More Key Findings:
- Trudeau isn’t the only party leader viewed unfavourably by a majority of Canadians. Most also hold unfavourable opinions of Scheer (54% do) and New Democratic Party leader Jagmeet Singh (64%)
- Political preference informs opinion on the SNC-Lavalin affair, with those who would vote for the Conservatives in an election held tomorrow overwhelmingly taking the view that there is a deeper scandal to uncover (95%), while most Liberal supporters feel it has been overblown (72% do)
- Trudeau stands out from the other major party leaders because of the number of Canadians whose opinion of him has worsened in recent weeks. Six-in-ten (59%) say this of Trudeau, while roughly half as many say this of Scheer (25%) or Singh (29%)