A majority of Canadians believe U.S. foreign policy was one of the root causesthat led tothe Sept. 11, 2001 attacks, and Quebecers are quicker to criticize the U.S. administration for its international actions than other Canadians, a recent poll suggests.

Those conclusions are found ina newly released poll conducted byLéger Marketing for the Associationfor Canadian Studies.

The pollsuggests that77 per cent of Quebecers polled primarily blame American foreign policy for the Sept. 11 attacks. Theresults suggest57 per cent in Ontario hold a similar view.

When participants were given the option of choosing more than one cause for the attacks, two-thirds blamed Islamic fundamentalists and their anti-Western views, while a third pointed the finger at Israel and its position in the Middle East.

Canadian opinions have hardened against the United States and its role on the world stage, said Jack Jedwab,executive director of the Associationfor Canadian Studies. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have contributed to a change of heart among people, he said.

But Canadians are divided on whether their government should pay more attention to issues fuelling extremist organizations in the Middle East, he said.

"There are a lot of people who think we should be listening closely [to extremist groups] and that there is an opportunity to dialogue with these sort of groups," said Jedwab Wednesday. "So it is showing a real ideological divide on some of these issues."

There's a growing need since the Sept. 11 attacksfor balanced public education about terrorism, added Jedwab. "There is a tendency to see in these movements something more romantic than actually exists. That's something we need to keep debating in the country."

Léger Marketing interviewed 1,508 Canadian adults from Aug. 22 to Aug. 27.The poll results are considered accurate within 2.5 percentage points 19 times out of 20.