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Canadian Public Opinion about the Military: Assessing the Influences on Attitudes toward Defence Spending and Participation in Overseas Combat Operations

  • Scott Fitzsimmons (a1), Allan Craigie (a2) and Marc André Bodet (a3)

Despite more than a decade of heightened defence spending and active fighting in the War in Afghanistan, the longest combat operation in the history of the Canadian Forces, scholars know precious little about how the socio-demographic characteristics and attitudes of Canadians may influence their views about taking part in overseas combat operations and funding the institution charged with carrying out these dangerous activities. By testing a range of hypotheses, which purport to explain the influence of multiple socio-demographic and attitudinal factors on Canadians' attitudes toward defence spending and the participation of the Canadian Forces in overseas combat operations, against data from the 2004 and 2011 Canadian Election Study, this article ascertains the most important determinants of Canadians' preferences about defence spending and the use of military force by the Government of Canada.


Malgré plus d'une décennie d'investissement en défense et de combat actif en Afghanistan, soit la plus longue opération de l'histoire militaire canadienne, nous savons peu de choses sur les facteurs sociodémographiques et attitudinales qui influencent la position des Canadiens sur les opérations militaires à l'étranger et les dépenses publiques qui s'y rattachent. À l'aide des Études électorales canadiennes 2004 et 2011, nous visons à expliquer l'influence de facteurs sociodémographiques et attitudinales sur les préférences et opinions politiques des Canadiens sur les questions de défense. Cet article identifient les déterminants les plus importants de l'appui (ou non) à l'augmentation des dépenses militaires et à l'action militaire canadienne à l'étranger.

Corresponding author
Department of Politics and Public Administration, F1026-University of Limerick, Limerick, Ireland, Email:
Department of Political Science, Buchanan C413, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, British Columbia, Email:
Département de Science Politique, Université Laval, Pavillon Charles-De Koninck, Local 4437, 1030 Avenue des Sciences Humaines, Québec (Québec) G1V 0A6, marcandre. Email:
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Canadian Journal of Political Science/Revue canadienne de science politique
  • ISSN: 0008-4239
  • EISSN: 1744-9324
  • URL: /core/journals/canadian-journal-of-political-science-revue-canadienne-de-science-politique
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