Canadians more likely to take pride in the present than history: poll

The Canadian flag takes the number three spot on the list of symbols of pride

More Canadians take pride in the things that affect them today than they do in their country’s history, a survey from the Association for Canadian Studies suggests.

The online poll found that 73 per cent of respondents see universal health care as a very important source of personal or collective Canadian pride, while 70 per cent are proud of their Canadian passport.

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“We’re putting the greatest value on the things that are connecting with us in a contemporary sense — things that are more current, we tend to value,” said Jack Jedwab, the non-profit organization’s president and CEO. “We’re not looking too far back. We’re trying to look at today and ahead.”

The Canadian flag takes the number three spot on the list of symbols of pride, and the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom comes fourth.

Things more firmly rooted in the past, meanwhile, were lower down on the list.

The Confederation agreements of 1867, for instance, were only a point of pride for 37 per cent of respondents, and just 15 per cent of people said they took a great deal of pride in the monarchy.

“As much as we appreciate our history, those founding events seem to be increasingly removed from the things that we direct the greatest value at,” Jedwab said, noting that Canadians between the ages of 18 and 24 are more likely to take pride in the Toronto Raptors, who recently won the NBA Championship, than Confederation.

“They’ve given us something to celebrate,” he said of the team. “They’re champions, so they’re more current. The monarchy and the Confederation stuff is a bit more passe.”

Overall, the poll suggests more Canadians are proud of the Raptors than any other sports team, with 27 per cent of respondents across Canada — and 39 per cent in Ontario — listing them as a very important source of pride.

Next on the list of teams is the Toronto Maple Leafs, which won over 20 per cent of respondents across the country and 32 per cent in Ontario. Only 17 per cent of respondents said they took great pride in the Montreal Canadiens.

“The Montreal Canadiens — I like to think of them as contemporary, but they don’t look very contemporary in this poll,” Jedwab said. “They look like part of the past.”

The online survey, which polled 1,545 Canadians, was conducted by Leger Marketing between June 20 and 23.

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.

Nicole Thompson, The Canadian Press

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