26 november 2012

What are Canadians proud of?


(Fred Chartrand / The Canadian Press)
Ersel Ture and Euce Igoz blow horns as they celebrate Canada Day near Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Sunday, July 1, 2012.

A Quebec-based think tank promoting knowledge of Canada, recently polled citizens on what Canadian symbols, achievements, and institutions make them feel pride as Canadians.

The poll was commissioned by the Association for Canadian Studies which is headquartered in Montreal. It surveyed some 2,200 Canadians from across the country.

They were asked to rate some 15 Canadian symbols, achievements, events, or policies, in terms of how proud it makes them as Canadians. The survey is V
called Pride in Canadian Symbols and Institutions.

These included such things as how important is Canada’s international reputation as a source of pride? Other questions included the war of 1812, (in which Canada successfully defeated an American  invasion), Canada’s policy of official bilingualism, the monarchy, the Canadian Armed Forces, universal health care, the national anthem, and so on.

A separate question on Canada’s national Maple Leaf Flag will be released later this week.
Canadians generally are proud of their country and its policies, instutions and achievements.  The 15 questions posed in the survey sought to determine which of these Canadians took the most pride in, and which they derived the least pride from. 

The questions were determined after consultation with a number of experts in a variety of studies in Canada, as well as being based on past surveys conducted for the Association of Canadian Studies.

The results were broken into our two official languages, ie from French responders, and from English responders.  They were additionally categorized into responses from 6 regions across Canada, the maritime provinces, Quebec, Ontario, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Alberta, and British Columbia.

While there were differences regionally in certain responses, the greatest differences were between English, French, and allophone linguistic groups (allophones being Canadians whose mother tongue is neither of Canada’s two official languages).  For example, some 83% of Anglophones were proud of Canada’s military, 75% of Allophones were proud of the military, while only 58% of Francophones indicated they took pride in Canada’s Armed Forces.
Canada’s connection to the British monarchy also showed a difference with 48% of Anglophones saying they took some pride in that connection, 36% of Allophones, and only 14% of Francophones.

The Charter of Rights and Freedoms was written into the Constitution on April 17, 1982 after a long campaign by then-Liberal prime minister Pierre Trudeau. The charter guarantees certain civil and political rights to Canadian citizens, with the addition of Equality rights in 1985.  The Charter came in at third place as an important source of pride in being Canadian.
(Evan Mitsui/CBC)

While the issue of universal health care is a major source of controversy in the United States, Canada’s universal health care system topped the list across all regions and languages as something Canadians were most proud of, followed by the importance of Canada’s reputation abroad.

At the bottom of the list in terms of importance however, was the connection to the  British monarchy, with only 14% of Anglophone Canadians saying it was important, 6% of Allophones, and only 1% of Francophones.

RCI's Marc Montgomery spoke to the ACS Executive Director Jack Jedwab
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