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

New, compressed natural gas buses hit Greater Victoria streets

12 new buses hitting the road, with a total of 71 to join the fleet by the end of the summer

Significant donation boosts Victoria Hospitals Foundation’s most ambitious fundraising campaign

Townline’s $600,000 donation helps purchase new 3 Telsa MRI for Royal Jubilee Hospital

Oak Bay’s only candy shop closing for good on Friday

Sweet Delights Candy Store going out of business

Scholarship launched to honour three men who died in Sooke River

Sooke School District award will be given annually to a student graduating from EMCS

Saanich Police say bubbling pavement poses no threat to public

Resident reports water coming from cracked pavement at Cedar Hill Road and Cedar Hill Cross Road

VIDEO: 7 things you need to know about the 2020 B.C. budget

Surplus of $227 million with big spending on infrastructure and capital projects

GUEST COMMENT: Chamber clears up a few misconceptions

‘We are committed to continually improving the chamber,’ says president

Island wildlife rescue centre sees 9 poisoned birds since January

MARS trying to fundraise for ‘rigorous and expensive’ lead poisoning treatment

Via Rail lays off 1,000 employees temporarily as anti-pipeline blockades drag on

The Crown corporation has suspended passenger trains on its Montreal-Toronto and Ottawa-Toronto

VIDEO: Knife-wielding man arrested after barricading himself in Lower Mainland Walmart

A man had barricaded himself in the freezer section of the fish area at a Walmart in Richmond

Budget 2020: Weaver ‘delighted,’ minority B.C. NDP stable

Project spending soars along with B.C.’s capital debt

B.C. widow ‘crushed’ over stolen T-shirts meant for memorial blanket

Lori Roberts lost her fiancé one month ago Tuesday now she’s lost almost all she had left of him

Higher costs should kill Trans Mountain pipeline, federal opposition says

Most recent total was $12.6 billion, much higher than a previous $7.4-billion estimate

Wet’suwet’en hereditary chiefs say they’ll meet with ministers if RCMP get out

Federal minister in charge of Indigenous relations has proposed a meeting to diffuse blockades

Most Read