Public Safety Canada commissioned a poll intended to manufacture low support for “defunding the police” among Canadians, documents obtained by The Breach reveal.
The department, headed up by former Toronto police chief Bill Blair, paid Environics research firm to conduct the poll in the fall of 2020, in the wake of historic Black Lives Matter protests that elevated the demand of defunding the police into mainstream discussions.
According to government documents obtained through access-to-information requests, several poll questions relating to police were vetted by the department’s “policing partners,” including the RCMP.
Correspondence between department officials and Environics show the government succeeded in introducing pro-police bias into questions or scrapping ones they found unsympathetic.
Coming on the heels of an earlier IPSOS poll in 2020 that made waves for showing that a majority of Canadians support defunding the police, including overwhelming majorities of young people, the department’s exercise turned out to be a PR success.