TORONTO – As a Saskatchewan jury’s not-guilty verdict in the trial of a white farmer accused of killing a young Indigenous man on his property prompts nationwide conversations about race and the Canadian justice system, a new public opinion poll from the Angus Reid Institute finds visible minorities considerably less likely than other Canadians to say they have confidence in criminal courts in their province.
The poll finds fewer than half of all Canadians (41%) saying they have either “complete confidence” or “a lot of confidence” in their provincial courts, and fewer than one-in-three self-identified visible minorities (32%) saying the same.
Visible minorities also express lower degrees of confidence in the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, their local police force or RCMP detachment, and the Supreme Court of Canada.
Overall confidence in each of these institutions has declined somewhat since ARI last canvassed this issue in 2016, though Canadians remain much more confident in their justice system than they were in 2012.
More Key Findings:
- Roughly one-in-eight Canadians (13%) say they have personally been the victim of a crime that involved the police in the last two years, but the proportion is higher in Western Canada and lower in Ontario and points east, as has typically been the case over the years
- Canadians in every province – whether crime is actually increasing there or not – are more likely to say criminal activity in their community has risen in the last five years than to say it has decreased. This proportion is however, considerably lower in Quebec than elsewhere
- More than six-in-ten (62%) say the justice system is “too soft” on those who break the law, compared to just 4 per cent who say it is “too harsh.”