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WE Affair: Most Canadians say there’s more to learn, but PM’s testimony shifts opinion for neither better nor worse

After unprecedented testimony in front of MPs from the prime minister, finance minister, chief of staff to the prime minister, and co-founding brothers of the WE organization, little has changed about the affair in the eyes of Canadians – even though they expect more revelations to come.

The latest data from non-profit Angus Reid Institute finds that 72 per cent of Canadians (including half of past Liberal voters), remain unconvinced they have all of the facts surrounding the scandal as they await the findings from an ongoing ethics investigation.

That said, opinions about what happened, and its gravity are unchanged from last month, when news of the issue was first being reported. Just as in July, 58 per cent of Canadians feel the scandal is serious, including 30 per cent of 2019 Liberal voters.

Two camps have formed when it comes to the scandal. Past Liberal and NDP voters and women are far more likely to say Trudeau’s actions represented an ethics breach or a simple mistake, while expecting the government to survive long-term. Men, particularly those over the age of 34, and past Conservative voters see something more serious at play and say that a criminal investigation is necessary. This group is of the view the government may be ultimately brought down by the scandal.

It is notable that Justin Trudeau focused much of his testimony on making the case that the WE affair was a minor glitch in his government’s overall handling of the coronavirus pandemic. On this particular metric, Canadian opinion has not substantially changed since the spring. A majority continues to say he is doing a good job overall.

we scandal survey

More Key Findings:

  • Three-quarters of past CPC voters say they are paying close attention to the WE scandal, compared to 53 per cent of past Liberals and 45 per cent of past New Democrats
  • Overall, an identical number of Canadians (32%) said in July and in this most recent survey that the government is facing significant consequences from this ordeal and may be brought down. Seven-in-ten (68%) disagree, just as they did last month before parliamentary hearings were held.
  • Nine-in-ten past Liberals say Trudeau has done well in handling the COVID-19 response, while 72 per cent of New Democrats agree. Just one-in-five CPC voters (18%) offer praise for the Prime Minister on this file

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