Poll sug­gests younger Cana­di­ans in­ter­ested in at­tend­ing Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices

The Hamilton Spectator - - Canada & World - MICHELLE MCQUIGGE

A new sur­vey sug­gests Cana­di­ans of all gen­er­a­tions are more likely to hon­our mil­i­tary vet­er­ans by at­tend­ing a Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­mony this year.

A poll com­mis­sioned by His­tor­ica Canada, the or­ga­ni­za­tion be­hind the pop­u­lar Her­itage Min­utes videos, found a 10-per­cent spike in the num­ber of re­spon­dents who planned to take part in a cer­e­mony this year com­pared to 2017.

The on­line poll, con­ducted by Ip­sos, found 39 per cent of those sur­veyed had firm plans to at­tend a cer­e­mony on Nov. 11 com­pared to 29 per cent the year be­fore.

The sur­vey found plans were rel­a­tively con­sis­tent across de­mo­graph­ics, with mil­len­nial re­spon­dents ex­press­ing the most con­sis­tent en­thu­si­asm for at­tend­ing an­nual Re­mem­brance Day ser­vices around Nov. 11.

It found 41 per cent of 18- to 34-year-olds polled planned to at­tend, com­pared to 40 per cent of re­spon­dents over 55 and 38 per cent of par­tic­i­pants be­tween 35 and 54.

His­tor­ica CEO An­thony Wil­son-Smith called the find­ings around mil­len­ni­als grat­i­fy­ing, say­ing the poll re­sults chal­lenge the the­ory that the gen­er­a­tion with the fewest tan­gi­ble con­nec­tions to the First and Sec­ond World Wars would be most likely to ig­nore Re­mem­brance Day.

“We are now at a point where we have to con­tem­plate that the day will come when there aren’t any more (Sec­ond) World War ... vet­er­ans,” Wil­son-Smith said in a tele­phone in­ter­view.

“That leaves you to won­der if, when ev­ery­one is gone, will peo­ple still be able to grasp the sig­nif­i­cance of war, of sac­ri­fice, of the causes that drove peo­ple to war, and the out­comes,” he said.

“The an­swer would ap­pear to be yes.”

Wil­son-Smith spec­u­lated that at least part of the surge in in­ter­est in Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies stems from the fact that this year’s events will mark the 100th an­niver­sary of the armistice that brought the First World War to an end in 1918 af­ter four years of strife.

But he said the younger gen­er­a­tion’s ap­par­ent con­nec­tion to the day may also come from per­sonal ties to those who served in more re­cent con­flicts, such as the war in Afghanistan in which 158 Cana­dian sol­diers and two civil­ians were killed.

The poll found 95 per cent of those sur­veyed felt Re­mem­brance Day cer­e­monies should hon­our vet­er­ans of re­cent con­flicts.

It also found 83 per cent of re­spon­dents planned to wear a poppy in the run-up to Nov. 11, with baby boomers show­ing the most en­thu­si­asm for that idea.

The on­line poll of 1,002 Cana­di­ans also sur­veyed how many re­spon­dents had vis­ited a ceno­taph or other war me­mo­rial in their com­mu­nity or else­where.

Par­tic­i­pants in Bri­tish Columbia were most likely to have done so, the sur­vey found, not­ing the pro­vin­cial re­sponse rate of 64 per cent was well above the na­tional av­er­age of 46 per cent.

The Ip­sos sur­vey was con­ducted be­tween Oct. 25 and Oct. 29, His­tor­ica said.

The polling in­dus­try’s pro­fes­sional body, the Mar­ket­ing Re­search and In­tel­li­gence As­so­ci­a­tion, says on­line sur­veys can­not be as­signed a mar­gin of er­ror as they are not a ran­dom sam­ple and there­fore are not nec­es­sar­ily rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the whole pop­u­la­tion.

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