Over three in five Canadians want a public inquiry into the federal government's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, a new study suggests.
More than 60% of 1,000 adults surveyed by Research Co. said they would approve of such an inquiry, according to the Toronto Star.
A hypothetical federal inquiry was also the subject of a series of articles published earlier this week in the influential British Medical Journal. The authors of the series said the Canadian government was to blame for "major pandemic failures," and said an independent inquiry should be commissioned in order to provide accountability and draw proper conclusions for future public health emergencies.
The United Kingdom announced a similar inquiry last year, the UK Covid-19 Inquiry, which is currently underway. The editorial authors were skeptical of the National Citizen's Inquiry (NCI), a privately-led and funded commission that toured the country from March to May of this year taking testimony from Canadians about how the pandemic affected them. Rebel News covered the NCI extensively. including testimony from economists, research scientists and constitutional lawyers.
Support for a potential inquiry varied among different regions of the country, with 74% of Manitoba and Saskatchewan residents supportive of a federal inquiry, the highest rate, contrasted with 53% of British Columbians. Ontario residents came in at 65%. More than half of Canadians stated they believe similar public inquiries are needed at all three levels of government.
Results also varied strongly according to partisan identification, revealing 74% of respondents who voted for the Liberal Party in 2021 said they believed the federal government handled the pandemic successfully, compared to 53% of New Democratic Party voters and 32% of Conservative voters.
“Support for a federal public inquiry is strong among voters of all three main political parties, so even Liberal supporters are wondering if there’s something to be learned from the way the pandemic was managed,” said Mario Canseco, president of Research Co.
The survey also found that most Canadians, 64%, do not believe we need additional public health measures related to COVID since we are in a different time. Conversely, 22% think strict public health measures should continue, while 10% believe the pandemic was a hoax and public health measures should never have been put in place.
“One thing that is interesting to me is that most Canadians do not think we need to go back to the strict measures of 2020 and 2021, but also believe public inquiries are necessary to understand what can be done better in the future,” said Canseco.
Canseco noted this contrasts with polling results from November 2021, when two thirds of Canadians were in favour of vaccine passports for office workers.
“About half of Canadians also think the media was successful in dealing with the pandemic, in the form of television news (52%), radio news (51%) and newspapers (49%)," Research Co. stated. "Fewer Canadians think non-governmental organizations (47%), unions (40%) and trade associations (35%) were successful in managing COVID-19.”