Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks towards the podium as he walks out the front door of Rideau Cottage to attend a news conference in Ottawa, Monday, May 25, 2020. According to a new poll, half of Canadians believe they’re not getting the whole truth from their governments about COVID-19. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Half of Canadians believe they’re not getting the whole truth from their governments about COVID-19, a new poll suggests, and some also believe conspiracy theories about where the novel coronavirus began.

The most recent survey from Leger and the Association for Canadian Studies found 50 per cent of respondents felt governments were deliberately withholding information about the pandemic of the novel coronavirus, which has killed thousands and ground the economy to a halt.

“It’s staggering, in a period where I believe trust has never been as high,” said Leger vice-president Christian Bourque.

The poll also asked respondents about their satisfaction with the measures governments were putting in place to fight COVID-19. Sixty-eight per cent said they were satisfied with what their local government is doing, 74 per cent with the federal government’s actions and 78 per cent with their provincial government.

Bourque found those numbers quite high, considering the results suggest people also seem to believe they are not getting the full picture.

The misgivings were greatest in Quebec, where 60 per cent of those polled believe governments are keeping secrets about the virus.

The province is also home to nearly 48,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Monday, as well as just over 4,000 deaths — the highest number in Canada.

The poll asked questions of 1,510 adult Canadians selected from its online panel between May 22 and May 25. Because of the way participants were recruited, the internet-based poll cannot be assigned a margin of error.

Respondents were also asked whether they agree with nine theories circulating online about the coronavirus and how, or why, it came to be.

“It’s basically stuff that’s been sort of thrown around the Internet,” Bourque said of the theories put forward in the poll. “It’s stuff we saw go by and we started to make a list.”

Few of those polled — 15 per cent or less — believe stories that philanthropist and Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates is responsible for the spread of the coronavirus, that there’s a link between the pandemic and 5G networks, or that COVID-19 never existed in the first place.

More than a third of people, however, believe the virus was created in a lab, or by the Chinese government. Nineteen per cent of respondents also said they believed the number of deaths related to COVID-19 is exaggerated.

More than half of respondents agreed with at least one of the nine theories put forward.

Openness and transparency have been the “watch words” of the federal government’s response to the pandemic from the beginning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said during his daily briefing Monday.

“But we recognize there’s always more to do in terms of openness and transparency and we will continue to demonstrate that with Canadians because we know fundamentally there is an issue of trust and confidence.”

He said if Canadians trust that their government is being open and truthful, they’ll be more likely to continue to follow public health advice to curb the spread of the virus.

READ MORE: Dr. Henry ‘encouraged’ as B.C. records two days of single-digit COVID-19 case increases

Laura Osman, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

CanadaCoronavirus

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

South Surrey veteran honoured by South Korea as Ambassador for Peace

Medal presented to Donald McClellan an ‘expression of gratitude’ for service during Korean War

Surrey officer-impersonation scam continues ‘almost daily’

Police reiterate warning that demands for Bitcoin in exchange for waived charges are fraudulent

North Delta yoga studio’s Fridays at the Farm to benefit local animal sanctuary

The outdoor four-class series will benefit Perfect Pastures Animal Sanctuary in Ladner

Jamie Bacon pleads guilty to charge in Surrey Six case

The plea brings an end to a complex legal case that has spanned more than a decade

COVID-19: Update on the pandemic for Surrey, White Rock and beyond

JULY 9: Canada ill-prepared for second wave: report

B.C. identifies 20 new COVID-19 cases, travellers specified in count

Pandemic total 3,028 cases, 51 people from outside Canada

Mayors welcome rideshare expansion to eastern Lower Mainland

As of Thursday, Lyft is now offering service throughout Metro Vancouver

Canadian policing organization calls for decriminalization of simple illicit drug possession

Canadian Association of Chiefs of Police want policing focus of opioid crisis to be replaced with a health one

Filing deadline in RCMP sexual-harassment class-action extended due to COVID-19

Plaintiffs now have until January 2021 to submit claims for up to $222,000

Hefty undeclared driver charges piling up, ICBC warns customers

Average extra penalty $2,971 after an at-fault accident

Survey, hotline launched amid probe into racist blood-alcohol guessing game at B.C. hospital

Mary Ellen Turpel-Lafond has been appointed to lead an investigation by Health Minister Adrian Dix

B.C. appeals judge’s decision to leave three clubhouses in Hells Angels hands

The province has filed two notices of appeal related to the B.C. Supreme Court decision

Conservation officers relocate Spirit bear known to roam northwestern B.C.

Bear roamed valley north of Terrace for many years

B.C. premier applauds call to decriminalize drug possession

Police shouldn’t struggle with health issues, Horgan says

Most Read

l -->