July 20th, 2024

Are you proud to be Canadian? Poll suggests that feeling is dwindling, for some

By Sarah Ritchie, The Canadian Press on June 30, 2024.

A person cools themselves with a fan during the Canada Day noon show in Ottawa on Saturday, July 1, 2023. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Justin Tang

OTTAWA – A new poll suggests the vast majority of Canadians are proud of their home and native land, but our sense of national pride is lower than it was a few years ago.

Polling firm Leger surveyed 1,607 people last weekend, asking how they’re feeling about being Canadian ahead of Canada Day. The firm posed similar questions to a group of 1,003 Americans ahead of the Fourth of July.

The results suggest the vast majority of us – 76 per cent – would call ourselves proud Canadians.

But 45 per cent of people who did the survey said they were feeling less proud than they did five years ago in 2019. Leger said that’s up 16 percentage points from 2021, when they posed the same question.

Respondents were asked to choose from a list of things that make them most proud to be Canadian. The country’s natural beauty topped the list, followed by universal health care, freedom and equality, a peaceful and safe society and multiculturalism.

Just one in five said their fellow Canadians made them feel proud.

Long wait lists, lack of family doctors and overburdened emergency rooms that have made headlines across the country in recent years are taking a toll on our collective pride in medicare.

The state of the health-care system was near the top of a list of concerns for respondents, second only to economic inequality and poverty as the thing that made people feel least proud to be Canadian.

Coming in third on that list: the current federal government.

The vast majority of people who chose the Trudeau Liberals as a top concern also said they were backers of the federal Conservatives, the poll said.

In fact, Conservative voters were more likely to say they’re less proud to be Canadian than they were five years ago, with 65 per cent agreeing with that statement compared to just 26 per cent of Liberal voters, 41 per cent of NDP supporters and 36 per cent of those who back the Bloc Québécois.

A full 94 per cent of people who said they vote Liberal also said they’re proud Canadians, a figure that dropped to 88 per cent among NDP voters, 68 per cent among Tories and 51 per cent for people who support the Bloc.

And yet the proudest region was the Conservative heartland of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where more than 80 per cent said they’re proud Canucks.

Quebecers were most likely to say their level of pride hadn’t changed in five years, and most likely to say they aren’t proud to be Canadian.

Just 22 per cent of respondents from Quebec said they plan to celebrate Canada Day, the lowest in the country. Quebec recently celebrated Saint-Jean Baptiste Day, also known as Fête nationale, on June 24.

Less than half of those who took the survey plan to celebrate on July 1.

In all, just seven per cent of those polled said they’re more proud than they were in 2019, while 45 per cent said things had not changed.

Contrast that to our neighbours south of the border, where around one in five respondents said they’re more proud to be American than they were five years ago. Another 45 per cent said their sentiments had not changed, and 35 per cent said their sense of pride has fallen.

Half of American respondents said they felt their home country was one of the best places in the world to live, compared with 41 per cent of Canadians.

A quarter of Canadian respondents said they feel Canada has a lot of work to do to live up to its reputation as the best country in the world, while just five per cent of Americans said the same about the U.S. Instead, 27 per cent said they think the U.S. has had to work through some issues but has a bright future. Only eight per cent of Canadian respondents reported feeling that way about Canada.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 30, 2024.

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