O Canada! We are a satisfied nation
Dec. 5, 2002. 01:00 AM
O Canada! We are a satisfied nation
People here positive about lives, survey finds Nation less worried by conflict and terrorism
Canada is a feel-good country — indeed in no country in the Western world do people feel better about their lives or the state of their nation, according to a just-released global survey.
Some 56 per cent of Canadians report satisfaction with the state of their country, 67 per cent report satisfaction with the state of their own lives and 70 per cent with the state of their economy — rankings higher than for any other Western nation.
Canada is currently enjoying the highest rate of economic growth and job creation among the G-7 countries.
Not only that, Canadians also are less worried about crime, moral decline, immigration, ethnic or racial conflict and terrorism than their counterparts in the United States, Europe and Japan. Canada is the only country in the Western world where a majority voiced satisfaction with the way things were going in their own country.
Only 26 per cent of Canadians, for example, see crime as a national concern, compared with 48 per cent of Americans. And only 19 per cent of Canadians see terrorism as a threat in their own country, as compared with 50 per cent of Americans.
But despite the finding that 63 per cent of Canadians believe government's influence on the way things are going is positive, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien gets low ratings for his contribution. Asked to rate their leaders, only 9 per cent of Canadians said Chrétien was a "very good" influence on the way things are going in Canada. This compares with a 30 per cent response by Americans for U.S. President George W. Bush.
Only the leaders of Italy and Japan ranked lower than the Prime Minister among Western countries.
When "very good" and "somewhat good" responses are combined, Chrétien gets a 48 per cent rating, compared with 71 per cent for Bush.
Some 49 per cent of Canadians felt Chrétien was having a "somewhat bad" or "very bad" influence on Canada, compared with 25 per cent for Bush.
The findings were reported yesterday in the Pew Global Attitudes Project, chaired by former U.S. secretary of state Madeleine Albright. Former foreign affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy was a member of the international advisory committee. The global survey was an initiative of the Washington-based Pew Research Centre for the People and the Press.
The report, "What the World Thinks in 2002," gives the results of public opinion surveys among more than 38,000 people in 44 countries.
It shows how people view their lives, the state of their own societies and global conditions. It also shows how people around the world view U.S. foreign policy, the spread of American culture and values and the war on terrorism.
The surveys were conducted in July-August of this year. In Canada, 500 people were surveyed by Environics Inc., a Toronto-based polling company.
The results show Canadians also have mixed reactions to the United States. People in the two countries also have different perceptions on terrorism and the most important challenges facing the world today.
Some 24 per cent of Canadians say they have a "very favourable" opinion of Americans, while another 48 per cent say they have a "somewhat favourable" opinion. Some 27 per cent of Canadians say they have an unfavourable or somewhat unfavourable opinion. Only Britain, among Western nations, reports a higher "very favourable" opinion of the United States, at 25 per cent.
Criticism of Americans and the United States is strongest among young Canadians, the survey reports. Some 44 per cent of Canadians below the age of 30 have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, compared with just 20 per cent of those in the 50-64 age group.
Interestingly, some 48 per cent of Americans report a "very favourable" opinion of Canadians and another 35 per cent have a "somewhat favourable" opinion. Just 4 per cent have an unfavourable or somewhat unfavourable opinion.
The survey finds that while Canadians have a positive view of American democratic ideas and popular culture, they object to Americanization of their country through the spread of American ideas and customs. Some 54 per cent of Canadians say they find the Americanization of Canada a bad thing, while 37 per cent see the spread of American ideas and customs as a good thing. Yet 77 per cent of Canadians say they enjoy American popular culture in the form of music, movies and television.