A majority of Canadians believe U.S. foreign policy was one of the root causes that led to the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and Quebecers are quicker to criticize the U.S. administration for its international actions than other Canadians, a recent poll suggests.
Those conclusions are found in a newly released poll conducted by Léger Marketing for the Association for Canadian Studies.
The poll suggests that 77 per cent of Quebecers polled primarily blame American foreign policy for the Sept. 11 attacks. The results suggest 57 per cent in Ontario hold a similar view.
When participants were given the option of choosing more than one cause for the attacks, two-thirds blamed Islamic fundamentalists and their anti-Western views, while a third pointed the finger at Israel and its position in the Middle East.
Canadian opinions have hardened against the United States and its role on the world stage, said Jack Jedwab, executive director of the Association for Canadian Studies. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have contributed to a change of heart among people, he said.
But Canadians are divided on whether their government should pay more attention to issues fuelling extremist organizations in the Middle East, he said.
"There are a lot of people who think we should be listening closely [to extremist groups] and that there is an opportunity to dialogue with these sort of groups," said Jedwab Wednesday. "So it is showing a real ideological divide on some of these issues."
There's a growing need since the Sept. 11 attacks for balanced public education about terrorism, added Jedwab. "There is a tendency to see in these movements something more romantic than actually exists. That's something we need to keep debating in the country."