What does it mean to be Canadian right now? This month, as Canada prepares to mark 150 years since Confederation at a time when the world seems to be in turmoil, it’s perhaps more important than ever that we take an unflinching look at ourselves.
When we talk about upholding shared Canadian values—and when politicians propose to go so far as to test newcomers on them—what are those values? Do they even exist? When we take such pride, especially these days, in being different from our friends to the south, are we being honest with ourselves about the discrimination that happens within our own borders? How many of us are willing to admit that we have real problems here?
Beyond the important political questions, what does it actually mean to be Canadian today, in day-to-day life? Is there a consensus across this huge swath of land on what represents us? Is it poutine? Is it Celine Dion? Drake? …Is it Nickleback?!
When we travel, where do we want to go? When we marry, will we change our names? When we lie in bed and worry about our family’s future, what’s on our mind? How much money do we have in the bank? Would we really be cool with selling pot in grocery stores? And who is “Canada’s team”, anyway?
With these questions in mind, we commissioned a representative survey of more than 1500 Canadians from across the country by Abacus Data. We asked Quebecers and British Columbians, new immigrants and fourth-generation families, millennials and boomers, parents and singles, everything from big political opinions, to tiny matters of taste, to intensely personal queries—all designed to reveal what Canadians really believe, and how we really feel.
“Canada and Canadians are diverse, interesting, and full of surprise,” says David Coletto, CEO of Abacus Data. “When you start to unpack the data from this study, the picture it paints is amazing.”
“Canadians are optimistic yet worried about the future. They are proud of their country but see plenty of opportunities to improve it. On many things different Canadians from different genders, generations, regions, and backgrounds share the same views, but on just as many we find sharp differences.”
Over the next month we’ll explore the answers Canadians gave us, but not just by telling you the results. Those are all here and you can explore them anytime. Instead, we’ll spend the next 30 days looking deeper into what we heard, and telling the stories that examine our country—150 years old and still far from a finished product—through the most important eyes: Yours.
This post is part of the Canada Project, a representative survey of Canadians from across the country. You can find out more right here.
Read about how we’re commemorating Canada Day in Toronto on the We the True North page.