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A study done by Decima Research for the Inuit Committee on National Issues indicates wide ranging support for aboriginal peoples right to self-government.
The analysis was prepared based on a telephone survey among 1,750 adult Canadian residents between February 17-20, 1987. A sample this size is accurate to within + 2.7 percentage points, 95 out of 100 times.
A majority or 61 percent of Canadians supported the idea that aboriginal people should have the right to govern themselves within certain limits. And most Canadians (52%) feel more comfortable with a negotiated form of aboriginal self-government that is flexible and provides some of the necessary powers from both municipal and provincial models.
The Inuit committee on national issues commissioned this report in anticipation of the First Ministers Conference held in Ottawa on March 26 and 27, 1987.
The results of the poll gave the political leaders an overwhelming mandate to move on aboriginal self-government. A total of 84 percent were in favor with 43 percent responding that it is "very important" and 41 percent classifying it is "important".
Support to entrench aboriginal self-government in the constitution was 77 percent.
55 percent of Canadians felt that the federal government had done a poor job "handling aboriginal efforts to gain greater control over their lives".
The objectives of the study were to examine Canadian knowledge and awareness of issues related to aboriginal peoples. The study also determined Canadian perception of aboriginal peoples and analyzed Canadian attitudes towards and assessments of the concept of aboriginal self-government.
In addition to the indicated support for self-government, the following facts emerged:
Only 44 percent of Canadians claimed any understanding of the issues concerning aboriginal peoples and three out of five were aware of the upcoming First Ministers Conference on the Constitution.
In spite of low public awareness, there is a lot of goodwill out there on the part of Canadians.
80 percent of those surveyed, supported the inclusion of power over language and cultural matter and the right to participate in First Ministers Conferences on matters which directly affect them.
Also, two-thirds of Canadians gave support to Aboriginal peoples controlling their own education, having the power to determine Health and Social service needs. To have control over hunting and fishing and other renewable resources, support for aboriginal self-government was highest in Quebec, Alberta and Ontario. It was lowest in Saskatchewan and Manitoba. However, all provinces gave it majority support.