Wampum Belt clear bkgrndMONTREAL – The majority of Canadians believe that the current federal government has a moral responsibility to honour existing First Nations treaties, regardless of what this might cost.

This was one of the findings from a national survey led by researchers at Concordia University.

The survey also showed that almost six in 10 Canadians believe that Aboriginal peoples should have some form of self-government — an opinion that has gradually strengthened over the past two decades. Canadians are most likely to say that Aboriginal peoples should have the powers comparable to a municipality (i.e., still subject to provincial and federal laws), rather than the powers of a province or a nation.

A team of researchers from Concordia University partnered with the Trudeau Foundation and the Environics Institute for Survey Research to conduct a national poll* on responsible citizenship, The survey focused on two themes:

  1. What is society’s responsibility to address the social and economic welfare of those in need?
  2. What is society’s responsibility to address the aspirations of the country’s Aboriginal peoples?

A clear majority (65 per cent) of Canadians want to ensure that the country’s social and economic assistance programs are available to everyone. But the public is quick to express clear priorities on which groups should get greater governmental assistance.

Seven out of ten Canadians think families with children living in poverty should be the top priority — rather than young adults having difficulty finding their first job, or people who have been unable to find work for more than a year.

*About the survey: These results are based on a telephone survey with a representative sample of 1,501 Canadians, conducted between September 17 and October 13, 2013. The sample was stratified by province and community size to ensure adequate coverage of jurisdictions. The margin of sampling error is +/- 2.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Results of this survey were to be presented and discussed during the Tenth Annual Trudeau Foundation Conference, held in Montreal Nov. 21-13, 2013.

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