Whatever happened to the humble Canadian? A new poll says the vast majority of us think Canada is the greatest country in the world, but that — paradoxically — we aren’t patriotic enough.
The Strategic Counsel survey, conducted for CTV and the Globe and Mail, shows that Canadians, either praised or mocked for their reluctance to wave the Maple Leaf, have enormous national pride.
Ninety per cent of respondents agreed with the statement: “Canada is the best country in the world.” Fifty-four per cent strongly agreed, and 36 per cent somewhat agreed.
At the same time, 64 per cent felt that “Canadians are not patriotic enough.”
“Canadians don’t feel particularly vulnerable, they don’t feel insecure, and they’re giving themselves a big fat pat on the back here — which is at odds with their self-perception that they’re not patriotic enough,” pollster Peter Donolo told CTV.ca. “That’s the way it goes.”
The survey also found that 85 per cent of respondents agreed “Canadians are fundamentally different from Americans.” That number was more or less representative of every region polled.
“There’s no sense of insecurity among Canadians,” said Donolo. “The cliché is that Canadians have been insecure culturally, or unsure about their identity. But that’s certainly not representative of these numbers.”
As for any fears that Canada will eventually unite with the U.S., that seems to be a myth, too. Only 13 per cent agreed with the statement: “Canada will eventually join the U.S.” Sixty-four per cent strongly disagreed, and 22 per cent somewhat disagreed.
Diversity — but with a catch
When asked which were the two most representative symbols of Canada, respondents focused on the usual answers: hockey, Medicare, and multiculturalism.
Here are the full national results:
- Hockey: 48 per cent
- Multiculturalism: 36 per cent
- Medicare: 33 per cent
- Our tradition of peacekeeping: 27 per cent
- Charter of Rights and Freedoms: 21 per cent
- Bilingualism: 18 per cent
- We’re not Americans: 14 per cent
- None of the above: 2 per cent
No only does multiculturalism rank at number two, but the survey also found that 81 per cent believe “Canada’s diversity is an important strength of our country.”
However, the survey seemed to reveal a disconnect: Canadians take pride in their diversity, but they also want immigrants to adopt Canadian values. Ninety-one per cent agreed with the statement: “When immigrants come to Canada they should adapt to Canadian customs and values.”
Perhaps even more contradictory, 52 per cent thought “Canada has too many immigrants and we should limit the number who come to Canada.” But Donolo noted that only 20 per cent strongly agree with that statement, as opposed to somewhat agree.
“In a sense, people are saying notionally that we’re taking in too many immigrants, but it’s not what I would call a hot-button issue,” said Donolo.
God save the Queen?
The survey also found that most Canadians do not feel strongly about either our Queen or the Governor General.
When asked who Canadians felt a stronger connections to, Queen Elizabeth or Gov. Gen. Michaella Jean, 70 per cent said neither.
Even among those over the age of 50, who are traditionally more in favour of the monarchy, only 26 per cent said they felt a stronger connection to the Queen, and 13 per cent said favoured her representative.
“What’s interesting is that the desire to end the connection with the Monarchy after Queen Elizabeth is even across all age groups,” said Donolo. “And it’s really nearing the area of consensus, when you’ve got 60 per cent nationally.”
Nationwide, 65 per cent thought Canada should cut its ties to the Monarchy when the next Royal is crowned. In Ontario, the province most favourable to the Queen, the number was 58 per cent; in Quebec, it was 86 per cent.
- The nationwide telephone survey was conducted between May 6 and May 10, 2009.
- Results are based on a national sample size of 1,000 voting-age Canadians: 500 men and 500 women.
- Advanced probability sampling techniques were employed in the selection of households for telephone interviewing.