The  already flagging fortunes of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau ahead of the September 20 snap polls, a nationwide survey has shown that a large majority of people are closely following the ongoing turmoil in Afghanistan, and 20% of them say Ottawa’s role in it could negatively impact how they vote.

 80% of Canadians are watching the proceedings and very few believe Trudeau’s handling of Canada’s evacuation mission in Kabul was a success.

These are among the main findings of the survey carried out by the non profit polling agency Angus Reid Institute (ARI).

Polling agency ARI said ,“An election campaign many had thought would be fought and won or lost on the basis of Canada’s post-pandemic future is instead being overshadowed in its first weeks by the future of Afghanistan and the evacuation of those desperate to leave the embattled nation,” .

PM Trudeau himself had called the September 20 snap polls on August 15, seeking to turn the Liberal Party’s minority government in Ottawa to a majority one. But the incumbent prime minister now faces a rising challenge from rival PM hopeful Erin O’Toole of the Conservatives, according to recent pre-poll surveys.

Almost 60% of respondents said their voting preference has not been affected by the situation in Afghanistan, but 20% are taking it into consideration.

Canada had wrapped up its evacuation efforts in Afghanistan last week. But previous Sunday, foreign minister Marc Garneau had described the criticism of Ottawa’s mission as “fair enough” during an interview with the outlet CTV News.

In a close election, that could matter, ARI noted, saying, “Those who say these events will affect their choice are unfavourable to the Liberal Party.”

Just 2% consider the Canadian airlift ops a success, 41% consider it to have gone alright and 37%, deem it a failure. “The timing of the crisis – running in parallel with the 44th federal election – creates an obvious political dimension for parties and leadership,” ARI commented.

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