The sun lights the buildings behind the entrance of the former Nazi death camp of Auschwitz-Birkenau in Oswiecim, Germany, Friday, Dec. 6, 2019.A new poll suggests there are some in this country who believe Canada shouldn’t intervene militarily if there was a genocide taking place somewhere in the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP/Markus Schreiber

Some don’t think Canada should send troops to stop genocide, poll suggests

The findings are being released just before the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz

A poll probing people’s knowledge of the Holocaust has turned up a finding that suggests there are some in this country who believe Canada shouldn’t intervene militarily if there was a genocide taking place in the world.

The poll commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies found that 29 per cent of respondents disagreed with the idea that Canada should send troops to a place where a genocide was occurring.

A further 11 per cent preferred not to answer the question, which the association’s president suggests could mean even more people disagree with the idea, but did not want to be counted as being opposed.

The online survey of 2,295 Canadians by Leger Marketing was conducted the week of Nov. 11, 2019 and cannot be assigned a margin of error because, according to the polling industry’s generally accepted standards, internet-based polls are not considered random samples.

The findings are being released as global leaders prepare to mark the 75th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz, a Nazi death camp during the Second World War.

Gov. Gen. Julie Payette will be among those attending the commemoration on Jan. 27, the date in 1945 when Soviet troops liberated the camp. The Auschwitz Memorial Site and Museum says some 120 survivors, including some from Canada, are expected to make the trip for events.

Fifteen years ago, the United Nations adopted the date as International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Canadians by and large understand the concept of genocide, so opposition to military intervention stems less from ignorance and more from a belief that it’s not our business, said Jack Jedwab, president of the Association for Canadian Studies.

It’s also difficult for people to feign ignorance about similar situations today because of today’s connected world, Jedwab said.

“All this is very unfortunate because the lessons of what transpired 75 years ago — as we’re on the verge of marking the liberation of Auschwitz — the lesson is that those people were victims of the most horrific crime of the 20th century because there were lots of bystanders.”

Auschwitz-Birkenau, built by Nazi Germany when it occupied Poland, was the largest of the extermination centres the Nazis built during the Second World War. Some 1.1 million people, the vast majority of them Jews, were killed there.

About six million Jews were killed during the Second World War, a figure that respondents in the association’s survey identified 43 per cent of the time.

Ahead of next week’s commemoration, the International Court of Justice will issue a decision Thursday over whether it will order a halt to a campaign in Myanmar against the country’s Rohingya Muslim minority.

ALSO READ: Thousands, many heavily armed, take part in rally in Virginia’s capital for gun rights

In anticipation of the decision, a report on Monday by a Myanmar government commission said there was no evidence of genocide. But it said there are reasons to believe security forces committed war crimes in counterinsurgency operations that more than 700,000 Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh.

In September 2018, the House of Commons unanimously supported a motion calling the crimes against the Rohingya people a genocide.

The survey results suggested that those who disagreed with military intervention to stop a mass slaughter were more likely to show anti-immigrant sentiment and a higher distrust of Jews.

Jedwab said that may stem from a belief that situations elsewhere are viewed as conflicts between different groups of ethnic people, with whom we don’t feel a connection.

“There are a number of people who say that these situations are not our business,” he said.

“It’s a function of people who don’t think that those issues are matters we should deal with — that they’re not our problem.”

The youngest respondents in the survey, ages 18 to 24, were the least likely to disagree with sending troops should a similar situation take place again. They too also most often preferred not to answer the question.

Those aged 45 to 54, members of so-called Gen X, were the most likely to disagree with sending troops.

— With files from the Associated Press

Jordan Press, The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Victoria to see extra ships after cruise company cancels Asia tour in wake of COVID-19

Coronovirus fears cause Celebrity Cruises to head west early

Sooke school superintendent says student safety a paramount concern

“We always want to make sure our students and staff feel safe,”… Continue reading

Roll of EI recipients in Greater Victoria stagnates

Statistics Canada says 2,140 people received EI benefits in December 2019, just as in November

UPDATED: Indigenous youth occupy B.C. Legislature steps amidst court injunction

Police negotiating with people gathered in support of some of the Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs

Saanich councillor asks District to stand in solidarity with Wet’suwet’en

Coun. Nathalie Chambers duplicates ‘tried and true motion’ passed by Victoria in January

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Most Read