Canada and U.S. don't feel the same way about each other — and it may be getting worse, poll reveals

Canadians are taking U.S. President Joe Biden's first visit to Canada, late in his first term, as a sign that the relationship between the countries isn't improving

In light of President Joe Biden’s visit to Canada, a new survey gives surprising insights into how people across this country feel about our current relationship with the U.S.

The results of the recent poll, conducted by Maru Public Opinion and GZERO Media, find that Canadians’ feelings towards the U.S. still aren’t where they used to be, even in a post-Trump era. However, those feelings aren’t mutual.

How is Canada's relationship with the U.S.?

When reflecting back over the last year, compared to how things were during the Trump presidency, 30 per cent of Canadians felt that the relationship with our neighbours to the south is getting worse. That’s compared to 23 per cent who felt things were improving.

Nearly half - 47 per cent - felt the relationships stayed the same. It’s quite a different feeling when it comes to how Americans feel about us - one quarter (25 per cent) said the relationship is improving, compared to 17 per cent who felt it’s worse.

The majority - 58 per cent - felt the relationship has stayed the same.

John Wright is the executive vice president Maru Public Opinion. He says Canadians are interested in Biden’s visit to Canada and what he has to say, but there’s an element of weariness amongst the public. While we have cross border issues like trade and the economy that ties the two countries, there are a series of other issues like global warming, supply chains and military involvement in other parts of the world that need addressing urgently.

The fact the president has taken as long as he had to come to this country and because of some of those overarching issues that may not be on the table for this visit, there’s a group of people in this country that see it as the relationship worsening.John Wright, Executive Vice President, Maru Public Opinion

Canadians, Americans agree on one thing: China and Russia

One thing that the poll found Americans and Canadians are on the same page about is the threat to democracy from foreign agents in China and Russia. The vast majority of Canadians and Americans - 93 per cent for both - believe boosting security and intelligence efforts to stop foreign powers undermining democracy should be a priority.

“It’s a significant priority in both countries' populist that their leaders make it a priority to do what they can to stop it,” says Wright.

A similar percentage of people in both countries felt that Canada (71 per cent) and the U.S.(78 per cent) should have closer military defence relations. A majority of people polled on both sides felt that increasing joint North American military and defence capabilities should be a priority. Eighty-six per cent of Canadians and 90 per cent of Americans felt increasing these capabilities would guard against threats from countries like China and North Korea.

Wrights says the sharing of and support for all the military issues is much higher than you would have found 20 years ago.

“What’s conspired to that is that we live in a world where most Canadians believe that we’re already war footing with other countries right now,” he says. “The public is much more sensitized to military issues.”