Americans long had a reputation for being the world’s greatest flag wavers. According to a recent cross-border study by the Angus Reid Institute, that may no longer be the case. At least not relative to Canadians.
Judging by a number of criteria, Canadians are a lot happier with their country than Americans are with theirs. A few of the results of the study are as follows:
- Almost 90 percent of us say Canada is a safe place to live; fewer than half of Americans say that about the US.
- Almost 80 percent of say Canada is a caring society; barely a third of Americans say that about their country.
- Over 60 percent believe our country contributes positively to world affairs; less than 40 percent of Americans think their country does.
- Neither are overwhelmed by their system of government; nonetheless half of Canadians think theirs is good while only a third of Americans think theirs is.
- Of particular interest is that on every item, Americans thought more favourably of Canada than of the U.S. Two-thirds think Canada is a safe country and 56 percent a caring country.
The study also showed that post-Covid, Canadians think the country is improving. The numbers for caring, safe and system of government have all risen from a year ago.
Both we and our neighbours should be thinking seriously about reforming our systems of government. Introducing proportional representation to ensure our legislatures reflect the will of the people would be a good start.
Perhaps not surprisingly, Liberals are far more likely to believe we have a good system of government. Why would they not when they have been elected to government despite losing the popular vote twice in a row? Three-quarters think it’s a good system while only 30 percent of Conservatives, the party that won the popular vote, do. Over half of NDP supporters think it’s a good system which I find surprising.
Liberal supporters are generally much sunnier about the country than the Conservatives with the NDP falling in between.
Something else that surprised me is that Quebeckers show more pride in their country than the citizens of any other province. They are also the most likely to praise our system of government and are more positive about the other criteria.
The stark differences between the way Canadians and Americans see their countries is not surprising when we follow events down south. We simply don’t have the depth or the intensity of polarization they have, partly at least because we have managed to be a more equitable country.
Some politicians have been saying everything in Canada is broken. Maybe they are confusing us with our neighbour.