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Canadians’ views of world leaders

As leaders of the G7 nations meet in Charlevoix, Quebec this week – some will no doubt have to mask their true feelings of the others. Such is the reality of diplomacy. But the Canadian public is free from any such restraint and a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds Canadians not holding back on what they really think of those who occupy the world stage.

While – perhaps unsurprisingly —  United States President Donald Trump provokes the most negative views – widely described as “corrupt”, “arrogant,” and a “liar” – others, such as British Prime Minister Teresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and French President Emmanuel Macron figure much more positively in the Canadian consciousness. Each is most commonly described as “strong”, “influential” or “charismatic”.

Trump is joined in the Canadian public opinion dog house by another major world leader, Russian President Vladimir Putin. Putin, kicked out of what used to be the G8 in 2014, is most commonly described as “corrupt”.

At home, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau garners a mix of positive and negative descriptors from the Canadian public that elected him. He is seen as “charismatic” and “compassionate,” but also “weak,” “arrogant,” and “bumbling.”

More Key Findings:

  • Those leaders who were in power in 2014 – including Merkel, Putin, and Chinese leader Xi Jinping – tend to be described in the same terms today as they were then
  • Trudeau’s mix of positive and negative terms is a slightly better overall assessment than then-Prime Minister Stephen Harper received in 2014. Canadians saw Harper as “secretive,’ “arrogant,” “dishonest,” “strategic” and “boring”
  • More than half of Canadians are unfamiliar with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (64% say they don’t know who this is), Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (75%), or Brazilian President Michel Temer (90%)

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