A survey conducted by Angus Reid Institute (ARI) found that 75% of Canadians polled were unaware of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
While the polling was done ahead of the G7 leaders’ meet at Charlevoix in Quebec province on Friday and Saturday, ARI also included the leaders of Brics countries while canvassing the more than 1,500 respondents.
That level of lack of familiarity with Modi is similar to that in a 2014 poll conducted by ARI.
However, since then, Modi has been on a state visit to Canada in 2015 and had a bilateral engagement with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in New Delhi this February.
ARI’s executive director Shachi Kurl felt this was because the “focus” of how the Canadian public related to the Trudeau visit to India was on the Canadian prime minister and his gaffes – and less on the relationship with Modi.
“We don’t have data, but I might speculate that Modi isn’t an English-speaking fixture in the Western media, nor does he attract a lot of notoriety in the Western and European press. Canadians recognise the relationship it has with India, via the diaspora, and through business ties, but Modi is not a big personality or celebrity in Canada the way he is at home,” Kurl said.
Of the small number that recognised Modi, the three attributes they most associated him with were influential, strategic and strong.
The respondents were given a list of 24 words to select from to describe what they felt about world leaders. Not surprisingly, US President Donald Trump attracted largely negative adjectives, with 74% using “arrogant”. The other terms that they used for him the most are liar, bully, dishonest and corrupt.
In comparison, when a similar exercise was undertaken by ARI in 2014, the words most used for then US president Barack Obama were influential, charismatic, compassionate, inspiring and credible. “Negative views of Trump among Canadians have persisted and worsened since we began asking about him in 2016,” Kurl said.
As for their own leader, the poll evidenced the mixed feeling people have about Trudeau. While the word most used for him is charismatic, the other four among the main descriptors are weak, compassionate, arrogant and bumbling.
Of the other leaders, there is little love for Russian President Vladimir Putin, with 63% opting to see him as corrupt, as against 52% in 2014. Strong is the word most used for German Chancellor Angela Merkel, and influential for China’s President Xi Jinping and British Prime Minister Theresa May. French President Emmanuel Macron has charismatic ranked at the top.