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We still trust our national force, but won't let a Mountie watch our kids: survey

Jessica Hume. (Andre Forget/QMI AGENCY)

By Jessica Hume, National Bureau

OTTAWA - 

Despite recent troubles within the ranks of our historic national police force, Canadians surveyed by QMI Agency overwhelmingly have a favourable view of the RCMP and see it in a much better light than many other national institutions. But most wouldn't trust a Mountie to watch their children.

Abacus Data surveyed 1,000 Canadians and asked them their opinions on the RCMP, in light of troubles that have seemingly tarnished the force's famous honour in recent months.

A majority of Canadians surveyed (62%) had a very positive or mostly positive impression of the RCMP, with only the Canadian Forces ranking higher (at 66%) among our institutions.

And the Mounties are still regarded highly as a national symbol to be proud of.

The Maple Leaf came out on top with 83% of respondents saying it was both essential and important to Canada. Universal health care followed closely at 78%, with the Mounties at third, with 69%.

"Despite recent challenges faced by the RCMP, Canadians still consider our national police force and its iconic red uniform an important part of our national identity," Abacus Data CEO David Coletto said. "Especially in regions where the RCMP is still serving local communities, the Mounties, like the Maple Leaf and universal health care, are considered to be essential or very important symbols of Canada."

Western Canadians, those on the Atlantic coast as well as older Canadians were more likely to find the RCMP symbolic. Those in Quebec were more likely to respond that bilingualism was a significant symbol.

But just because Canadian respondents want to like the RCMP doesn't mean we'd trust forces members to look after our children.

Only 21% of respondents said they'd trust an RCMP member to watch their child. Almost twice as many said they'd trust a doctor, followed by paramedic.

When it came to problems within the RCMP — harassment, for one — Canadians tended to believe there were troubles within the force and that reforms are necessary.

"Canadians see the Mounties as part of the country's identity and have a positive impression of the organization but they think it's time for reform within the RCMP," Coletto said. "Telling Canadians not to be concerned because they don't understand the culture of the police force won't cut it."

The online survey of 1,000 Canadians was done from June 19 to 23. The pollster weighted the survey sample by age, gender, region and education level according to the most recent census data. The pollster's method is widely used and capable of producing accurate results.


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