Less than two weeks after the tragic crash of Ukraine International Airlines Flight PS752 that killed 176 people — including a family of three from Port Coquitlam — Canadians appear to have little confidence the truth of what really occurred will ever emerge.
In a recent public opinion poll by the Angus Reid Institute, seven out of 10 Canadians said they do not believe a full and accurate accounting of what happened over the skies of Tehran will ever be offered by the Iranian regime.
The plane crashed the same night Iran launched ballistic missiles at U.S. bases in Iraq in retaliation for a targeted drone stike killed one of Iran’s senior military officers, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, as he left the airport in Baghdad.
After three days denying it had a hand in downing the plane, the Iranian government admitted to shooting down the Ukrainian jetliner, saying it had been mistaken for an incoming cruise missile while it braced for possible U.S. retaliation.
As the Canadian government works to find answers, its job has been complicated, partly due to the fact that in 2012, it broke off diplomatic relations with Iran.
According to the survey, 51% of Canadians polled said they would like to have those ties at least partially re-established.
The string of attacks has also left the fate of the region, and the Canadian military’s role in that future, in doubt. Hundreds of Canadian soldiers are in the region as part of a NATO training mission to rebuild and professionalize the Iraqi army so that it can stand on its own.
But since the escalation of violence following the attack on Soleimani, the Iraqi parliament has taken steps to oust U.S. forces in the country. Canadians, for their part, are divided on whether its government should maintain troop levels in the region: 42% said they should remain at current levels while 38% said they should be removed completely.
Turning to how the Canadian government has reacted to the tragedy, Canadians appear to approve of the federal government’s response. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s approval ratings have increased seven points in the past month, from 36% to 43%.