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

Diane Janzen disappointed BC Liberals refuse to hold nomination meeting in Chilliwack

‘They reneged on their promise of open democracy,’ wrote Janzen after election call is made

Neighbour’s quick actions save dogs and home in Chilliwack townhouse fire

Neighbour heard fire alarm and called 911 and rescued dogs from unit on fire

60 middle school students in one Abbotsford classroom? It’s true, stunned parent is told

Parent says she was in disbelief when her son told her he was in a class with 60 other kids

No confirmed candidates in either Chilliwack riding for snap election

Both ridings went to BC Liberals in 2017 but no candidates announced on day election is called

COVID-19: 4 more deaths, 366 new cases in B.C. since Friday

A total of 8,208 people in B.C. have tested positive for COVID-19 since January

Majority of Canadians support wearing masks during COVID-19, oppose protests: poll

Nearly 90 per cent felt wearing a mask was a civic duty because it protects others from COVID-19

Paper towel in short supply as people stay home, clean more, industry leader says

While toilet paper consumption has returned to normal levels, paper towel sales continue to outpace pre-COVID levels

Group wants Parliament, courts to hold social media to same standard as publishers

Daniel Bernhard made the comments shortly after Friends of Canadian Broadcasting released a research paper

Former worker at Surrey brewery claims he was bullied on the job

Human rights complaint to be heard against Surrey’s Central City Brewers and Distillers Ltd.

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C.’s Chase Claypool catches first NFL touchdown pass

Abbotsford grad establishes new record for longest scrimmage TD by a Canadian

B.C. has highest number of active COVID-19 cases per capita, federal data shows

B.C. currently has 1,803 active cases after weeks of COVID-19 spikes in the province

Most Read