Comment: What makes us proud?

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

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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 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 eye-catching.

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).

More than half of Canadians express pride in multiculturalism (66 per cent), Indigenous culture (56 per cent) and bilingualism (55 per cent).

British Columbians are prouder of multiculturalism (73 per cent) and Indigenous culture (63 per cent) than are all other Canadians.

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). In B.C., 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. Those may be reasons British Columbians are feeling let down by the justice system.

Results are based on an online study conducted from May 31 to June 3, 2019, among 1,000 adults. Data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age, gender and region. The margin of error, which measures sample variability, is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Mario Canseco is president of Research Co.

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