Cana­dian pride varies by re­gion

The Prince George Citizen - - Opinion - MARIO CANSECO

With Canada Day ap­proach­ing, I felt it was a good time to re­visit a sur­vey I had orig­i­nally con­ducted in 2008. Back then, Cana­dian re­spon­dents were of­fered a list of 12 in­sti­tu­tions and fea­tures that can elicit feel­ings of pride, and were asked if each one of them made them proud.

A lot has hap­pened since then, in­clud­ing the Win­ter Olympics in Van­cou­ver and a change in the coun­try’s fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The re­sults of the 2019 sur­vey con­ducted by Re­search Co. out­line a pow­er­ful con­nec­tion be­tween Cana­di­ans and spe­cific aspects of life in the coun­try, as well as a no­tice­able gloomi­ness about the jus­tice sys­tem.

There are only three in­sti­tu­tions and fea­tures that elicit pride from at least four in five Cana­di­ans: the flag (93 per cent), the armed forces (89 per cent) and the econ­omy (80 per cent).

There is no sur­prise on the first

two find­ings, but pride in na­tional fi­nances in­creas­ing by 18 points in 11 years is cer­tainly eye-catch­ing.

Men (90 per cent), res­i­dents aged 55 and over (86 per cent) and On­tar­i­ans (also 86 per cent) are more likely to say the Cana­dian econ­omy makes them proud.

There are dif­fer­ences along po­lit­i­cal lines, with fed­eral Lib­eral sup­port­ers in 2015 feel­ing bet­ter (94 per cent) than Con­ser­va­tives (85 per cent) and New Democrats (71 per cent).

Three other in­sti­tu­tions and fea­tures make at least seven in 10 Cana­di­ans proud: the health care sys­tem (77 per cent), hockey (72 per cent) and the state of democ­racy in Canada (70 per cent). It is here where we start to wit­ness some vari­ance.

Cana­di­ans aged 18 to 34 are less likely to feel pride over the state of democ­racy in Canada than their older coun­ter­parts. Also, sig­nif­i­cantly fewer Que­be­cers are proud of the health care sys­tem (58 per cent) than res­i­dents of other re­gions are.

More than half of Cana­di­ans ex­press pride in mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism (66 per cent), Indige­nous cul­ture (56 per cent) and bilin­gual­ism (55 per cent). As ex­pected, Lib­eral vot­ers in 2015 seem ex­tremely sup­port­ive of two his­tor­i­cal poli­cies cham­pi­oned by the cur­rent gov­ern­ing party (80 per cent for mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism and 66 per cent for bilin­gual­ism).

Bri­tish Columbians are prouder of mul­ti­cul­tur­al­ism (73 per cent) and Indige­nous cul­ture (63 per cent) than are all other Cana­di­ans. If Que­bec shows a bit of dis­dain for the health care sys­tem, it is the rest of Canada that does not share the love of Que­be­cers for bilin­gual­ism. Across the prov­ince, 64 per cent of Que­be­cers are proud of bilin­gual­ism – nine points above the na­tional average.

The fi­nal three in­sti­tu­tions and fea­tures on the list make fewer than half of Cana­di­ans proud: the monar­chy (47 per cent), Par­lia­ment (45 per cent) and the Cana­dian jus­tice sys­tem (40 per cent).

Que­bec brings down the na­tional num­bers on the monar­chy, with a pal­try pride rat­ing of 22 per cent. Ev­ery other prov­ince is at least 20 points higher. Still, only 36 per cent of Cana­di­ans felt pride about the monar­chy in 2008. This rep­re­sents an 11-point gain in just over a decade.

And what a decade it has been, with royal vis­its, wed­dings and chil­dren for Princes Wil­liam and Harry. How­ever, our sur­veys have shown the ret­i­cence of Cana­di­ans to em­brace Prince Charles as a fu­ture head of state, and his sig­nif­i­cantly lower favoura­bil­ity rat­ing when com­pared to Queen El­iz­a­beth. The pride trend has been pos­i­tive for the monar­chy, but it may change de­pend­ing on how Prince Charles per­forms.

On Par­lia­ment, the num­bers are also bet­ter than in 2008, when only 32 per cent of Cana­di­ans were proud of the na­tional leg­is­la­ture. Un­sur­pris­ingly, Lib­eral vot­ers feel proud­est right now (59 per cent), while Con­ser­va­tives and New Democrats are more sub­dued (37 per cent and 40 per cent, re­spec­tively).

In a decade that saw pride grow for most fea­tures and in­sti­tu­tions, the Cana­dian jus­tice sys­tem is em­bar­rass­ingly stag­nant (42 per cent in 2008, 40 per cent in 2019). Western Cana­di­ans are par­tic­u­larly pes­simistic. Only 33 per cent of those on the Prairies are proud of the jus­tice sys­tem. In Bri­tish Columbia, the pro­por­tion falls to a Canada-wide low of 27 per cent.

For Bri­tish Columbians, the decade has seen a rise in the per­cep­tion of crim­i­nal ac­tiv­ity, as well as ex­pected pros­e­cu­tions bogged down in the courts.

High-pro­file tri­als have ended in dead­locked ju­ries and a heav­ily an­tic­i­pated money laundering case was stayed last year. These are some of the set­backs that have Bri­tish Columbians, more than Cana­di­ans in any other re­gion, feel­ing let down by the jus­tice sys­tem.

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