More than half of British Columbians — 55 per cent — say a former KGB agent who has taken sanctuary at a Vancouver church, and his family, should not be deported, according to a survey by AngusReid Strategies.

Sympathy for Mikhail Lennikov isn’t so high elsewhere in the country where only 41 per cent of respondents think the family should be allowed to stay.

Lennikov worked for the now-defunct Soviet intelligence agency in the 1980s as a translator. As a former KGB employee he needs special permission from the Minister of Public Safety to remain in Canada. His wife and son were allowed to stay, but Lennikov was ordered deported to Russia after 11 years in Canada.

Most British Columbians surveyed, 71 per cent, said they don’t think Lennikov poses a threat to Canada, an opinion shared by 47 per cent of Canadians.