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Immigrants are most excited about Canada 150 celebrations

Immigrants are most excited about Canada 150 celebrations

Posted by PanamericanWorld on January 09, 2017

The newest Canadians are the ones most pumped up to celebrate the country’s sesquicentennial in 2017 according to a survey on Canada 150 events and attitudes posted online this week by the Department of Canadian Heritage.

Among people who weren’t born in Canada, 51.6 per cent said they strongly agreed with the statement they were looking forward to celebrating Canada 150 compared to 29.5 per cent of those who were born in Canada. 

“This survey shows immigrants are very enthusiastic about Canada and they are looking to take leadership of the commemorations of our 150th,” said Jack Jedwab of the Association for Canadian Studies in Montreal. “That’s paradoxical when you think about it, because that anniversary is not part of their heritage.”

The difference between native Canadians and immigrants is greatest in Quebec, where many of the Canadian-born respondents were francophones who have the lowest interest in the celebration. But even in Ontario, there was a 20 percentage point difference between native Canadians and immigrants.

“I was expecting some difference, but 20 points is surprising,” Jedwab said.

The Leger survey was commissioned by Canadian Heritage and surveyed 2,191 Canadians aged 18 and over from all regions of the country. The purpose was to find a baseline of Canadians’ attitudes toward their country and the 150th anniversary of Confederation celebrations in 2017. 

A majority of Canadians are proud of their country, plan to take part in Canada 150 events and approve of the government spending money on the party, according to a survey, which was conducted last June.

The exception, unsurprisingly, are francophone Quebecers whose strongest affinity is to their home province and who are the least likely to approve spending money on the Canada 150 celebrations, as well as least likely to volunteer or take part in events. The Quebec factor, though not unexpected, poses a problem for the federal government in promoting Canada 150 events in the province, Jedwab said.

“One of the big stories in this is the level of interest among francophones. There’s a risk here that you’re going to have a different level of celebration in Ottawa than you do in Gatineau. The government has got a challenge. On the one hand, if it wants to maximize involvement among francophones, there will be a pushback to manage as well. That pushback in Quebec risks undercutting the degree of interest among non-francophones.”

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