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Three in Four Canadians Want a National Inquiry into Surveillance of Journalists

Three in Four Canadians Want a National Inquiry into Surveillance of Journalists, CJFE Poll Shows – Visit CJFE

TORONTO (January 24, 2017) – Three out of four Canadians want a national inquiry into police surveillance of journalists, according to a new national public opinion survey released today by Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE). Seventy percent support a new law that would allow journalists to protect the identity of confidential sources and whistleblowers. The results come as Canadians across the country meet with their MPs about police surveillance and press freedom as part of a week of lobbying in preparation for a national day of action on February 4, 2017.

CJFE, along with a coalition of civil society groups, media and labour organizations are convening a national day of action on mass surveillance, Canada’s national security laws, and freedom of the press. Organizers are calling for an end to the practices of unwarranted mass surveillance, a repeal of the Anti-terrorism Act, 2015 (formerly Bill C-51) and the creation of new laws protecting advocates, whistleblowers and journalists.

The live national phone poll, conducted on behalf of CJFE by Mainstreet Research, demonstrates that a full 70% of Canadians agree that placing journalists under surveillance undermines press freedom. Only 27% of Canadians agree that the Canadian Security Intelligence Service (CSIS) or the police should use public resources to monitor organizations and advocacy groups which do not pose a known threat to national security. The potential monitoring of such groups was a core concern voiced by advocates when Bill C-51 was first introduced.

As part of a national security review process aimed at amending key portions of Bill C-51, new suggestions were also introduced through the public consultation framework called ‘Investigative Capabilities in a Digital World.’ These capabilities are a response to requests for expanded powers by Canada’s police services. These requests include warrantless access to basic subscriber information.

“Police forcing internet service providers to identify account holders blatantly violates Canadians’ rights, undermining the expectation of privacy necessary for freedom of expression to flourish,” says Tom Henheffer, CJFE Executive Director. The poll reflects agreement on this position with 71% of Canadians stating that the Canadian government should require a warrant to access sensitive, personal information.

The national day of action is conducted against a backdrop of recent press freedom violations in Canada, including high profile cases in Quebec that revealed routine surveillance by police of journalists including Patrick Lagacé of La Presse. Lagacé’s phone was tracked and monitored by Montreal’s police service (SPVM) in order to identify his confidential sources. Nationwide, only 11% of Canadians regard the monitoring of journalists to learn their sources as acceptable, with numbers in Quebec even lower, between 5% and 8%.

The inability or unwillingness of CSIS to verify the precise number of journalists spied on in the course of federal national security investigations leaves serious questions about the state of press freedom nationwide.  72% of Canadians believe that there should be an independent crosscountry inquiry into the surveillance of journalists by police.

Beyond an end to warrantless mass surveillance practices and spying on journalists or advocates, the lobbying activities and day of action are timed specifically to underscore the case of VICE journalist Ben Makuch, who will appear in a Toronto court on February 6 to appeal an RCMP production order for confidential source information. The RCMP demanded access to Makuch’s source communication logs with a suspected Canadian member of ISIS, and he is currently facing jail time for obstruction if he does not turn over the records. This case will set a strong precedent for protecting press freedoms. Public support for these types of RCMP actions and court orders is a minority opinion with only 11% of Canadians agreeing that a judge should be able to force a journalist to reveal the identity of a confidential source.

CJFE is supporting the passage of Private Member’s Senate Bill S-231, which would create legal protections for journalists and the sources, including whistleblowers, who allow them to undertake in-depth investigative work. 70% of Canadians support a press shield law such as Bill S-231, and 77% of Canadians feel that journalists should investigate public authorities such as the government, the police and state companies.

The Mainstreet Research poll was conducted between November 23 and 27, 2016, and polled a nationwide sample of 2,316 Canadians. The poll is reported to have an accuracy of +/-1.98, 19 times out of 20.

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Mainstreet – CJFE by Mainstreet on Scribd

Saskatchewan-360

NDP Could Steal Saskatoon Meewasin Seat

January 23rd, 2017 (Montréal, QC) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll finds NDP Candidate Ryan Meili could enter the legislature in what is being billed as one of the most important by election in Saskatchewan – ever. The Mainstreet/Postmedia Poll has a margin of error of +/- 3.97%, 19 times out of 20.

“While we find a relatively tight race within the generic party ballot we are seeing volatility when we poll local candidate names” said David Valentin, Executive Vice-President of Mainstreet Research. “The generic ballot shows a two point race between the Saskatchewan Party & NDP, essentially a tie with the Liberals and Greens far back at 3% each. 22% of voters are undecided when presented with the generic ballot.”

“When we start testing candidate names however we see a very different picture. While the NDP and Liberals have chosen candidates, the Saskatchewan Party has yet to name their standard bearer. Liberal Leader Darrin Lamoureux will contest the seat alongside Dr. Ryan Meili for the NDP. A nomination race will be held by the Saskatchewan Party on January 30th. The deadline for nomination was January 16th.”

“We tested two nomination candidates who have expressed interest in the Saskatchewan Party nomination: Roxanne Kaminski & Marv Friesen alongside previous Green Party candidate, Darren Gall.”

“Among all voters Meili leads Kaminski by 5%, while among the same measure he leads Friesen by 8%. When we remove undecided voters from the equation (Decided & Leaning) we see a 6% lead for Meili against Kaminski and a 10% lead against Friesen. With the by election yet to be called the campaign has not yet begun, but for now we see polling that favours the NDP from a little to a lot depending on who the Saskatchewan Party chooses as their candidate. Ultimately, it’s impossible to know at this point how each potential Saskatchewan Party candidate would perform during the campaign and what effect that would have on the numbers. The one thing we do know is that this will definitely be a race to watch,” finished Valentin.

About Mainstreet Research
Mainstreet is a national public research firm. With 20 years of political experience at all three levels of government, President and CEO Quito Maggi is a respected commentator on Canadian public affairs.

Differentiated by its large sample sizes, Mainstreet Research has provided accurate snapshots of public opinion, having predicted a majority NDP government in Alberta, a majority Liberal government in British Columbia and a majority Liberal government in Ontario. Mainstreet has been the most accurate polling firm in several by elections and the most recent Toronto mayoral election. Most recently, Mainstreet was the only polling firm to correctly predict a Liberal majority government in the 2015 federal election.

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Mainstreet – Saskatoon Meewasin by Mainstreet on Scribd

Canada-Flag-360

Watson Leads Approvals Among Canada’s Mayors

January 16, 2017 (Ottawa, ON) – A new Mainstreet/Postmedia poll takes a close look at approval ratings for Mayors of Major Canadian Cities from Montreal to Vancouver. The poll was conducted on January 3-4, 2017 and margins of error for the 10 city polls conducted vary from +/- 3.91 to +/- 4.00, 19 times out of 20.

Regional releases packages that include city specific tables are available for this survey, please contact us to request a city release package.

“Overall, every Canadian Mayor we polled has a net positive approval rating – though some Mayors are faring radically better than others” said Quito Maggi, president of Mainstreet Research. “Jim Watson of Ottawa leads the way with a 79% approval rating and +63 net score (approval-disapproval) while Mayor Gregor Robertson of Vancouver sits at 50% approval and a +5 net score.”

“The lowest mayoral approval Mainstreet has recorded recently in Canada belongs to Mayor Matt Brown of London, Ontario, who was polled last year following an extra-marital affair with London’s deputy mayor. Brown’s disapproval was a staggering 58%, which translated to a net score of -25,” continued Maggi.

“Most residents polled approve of their city councils with two notable exceptions. Both Edmonton and Vancouver report negative net scores of -1. Calgary and Montreal follow with +6 and +9 scores respectively. Ottawa and Saskatoon’s city councils meanwhile boast net scores of +38 and +30.”

“Overall, local city councillors are polling higher than their respective city councils, though they lag on net scores in Toronto and Winnipeg and run about even in Ottawa.”

“This looks to be a relatively busy year of municipal elections in Canada with Montreal, Calgary and Edmonton scheduled to go to the polls. Regina and Saskatoon held elections last fall in which Mainstreet was the most accurate pollster of both races,” finished Maggi.

About Mainstreet Research
Mainstreet is a national public research firm. With 20 years of political experience at all three levels of government, President and CEO Quito Maggi is a respected commentator on Canadian public affairs.

Differentiated by its large sample sizes, Mainstreet Research has provided accurate snapshots of public opinion, having predicted a majority NDP government in Alberta, a majority Liberal government in British Columbia and a majority Liberal government in Ontario. Mainstreet has been the most accurate polling firm in several by elections and the most recent Toronto mayoral election. Most recently, Mainstreet was the only polling firm to correctly predict a Liberal majority government in the 2015 federal election.

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Mainstreet – Canadian Mayors by Mainstreet on Scribd