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

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

VIA Rail lays off 1,000 unionized workers across the country

Northern B.C. route Jasper to Prince George to Prince Rupert is not affected by VIA Rail layoffs

Overall house sales drop in the northwest

COVID-19 pandemic slowed market activity

B.C. orders Coastal GasLink to stop pipeline construction near protected wetlands

The 670-kilometre pipeline is planned to transport natural gas from northeast B.C. to Kitimat

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read