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Despite generally supporting a diplomatic boycott of the 2022 Winter Games in Beijing, a new survey shows most Canadians feel it could come at the expense of Canada’s economy.

The results from the Angus Reid Institute show Canadians are largely worried about the economic costs of standing up to China, the world’s second largest economy after the United States.

Canada announced a diplomatic boycott of the Games in December, meaning government officials won’t attend but athletes can continue to compete, a move Angus Reid says half of Canadians support.

And while Canada still plans on sending athletes to the Games, 58 per cent of Canadians worry about the negative economic consequences that will come as a result of the diplomatic boycott.

More than seven-in-10 Canadians, or 73 per cent, also believe it’s unrealistic that anything Canada does will change China’s behaviour.

Past Conservative voters are more likely to believe Canada is powerless to change China’s behaviour at 79 per cent, compared to 70 per cent of Liberal and 72 per cent of NDP voters.

The survey comes as the world prepares for the upcoming Winter Olympic Games in Beijing in February, at a time when Canadians hold mostly unfavourable views toward China, past Angus Reid polling has shown.

Canada has joined other countries, including the U.S., U.K. and Australia, in announcing diplomatic boycotts of the Games in protest of human rights abuses in China. The country has been accused of genocide over the treatment of its ethnic Uyghur population, which is largely Muslim.

China’s foreign ministry has described the boycotts as a “farce.”

The latest Angus Reid survey shows 77 per cent of Canadians believe Canada should prioritize human rights and the rule of law in its dealings with China, compared to 23 per cent who say trade and investment should be of greater importance.

Despite there being more than CAD$100 billion worth of trade between Canada and China in 2020, Angus Reid says 61 per cent of Canadians would prefer there be less, while 24 per cent view China as a good trading partner.

Of those who want Canada to deal less with China, 28 per cent believe it’s possible to do so without negatively affecting Canada’s economy, while 60 per cent say Canada could do it with only a minor economic impact.

Angus Reid also raises questions around the potential impact Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s new national security and intelligence adviser, Jody Thomas, could have on future relations with China.

Angus Reid conducted the online survey between Nov. 26 and 29, 2021, using a randomized sample of 2,005 Canadian adults who are members of the Angus Reid Forum. The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus two percentage points, 19 times out of 20.