It’s Canada Day, that one day of the year (outside of the Olympic hockey tournament every four years) when it’s reasonably socially acceptable to display a modicum of patriotism. And it’s the day where newspaper editors and assignment editors hit us with a barrage of polling data and other statistics on the Canadian condition, to tell us how we feel about ourselves. It’s the Canadian way.
Even more Canadian is to compare ourselves to the Americans and so MacLeans scores a double-whammy: a raft of data in time for Canada Day comparing ourselves to the United States. And with the rightward editorial bent of the mag I was expecting bad news; after all, conservatives always want us to be more like the United States. However, the news is actually pretty good. In short:
Compared to the U.S., we work less, live longer, enjoy better health and have more sex. And get this: now we're wealthier too.
All that, and we manage not to invade Iraq too. That's why we're the greatest, best country God has ever given man on the face of the Earth. Et tu, Sean Hannity?
While Sean mulls that over, there’s important breaking news from Sun Media:
The poll, released yesterday, found that 86% of Canadians are proud of the flag and 80% are proud of the military.
That’s even more popular than puppies, which polled at 72 per cent, down 7 per cent from 2007. I mean the Stephen Harper pro-cat agenda myself. We need an election now, dog lovers.
It’s not all sunshine and donuts over at Canwest though:
Fifty-six per cent of respondents in the Ipsos Reid poll said Canada was on the right path, while 44 per cent felt the nation was "headed in the wrong direction." "It's not an enthusiastic country at the moment," said John Wright, Ipsos Reid's senior vice-president. "But it's not the end of the world and it certainly isn't a time when people are panicking."
It’s not the end of the world, Happy Canada day everybody! Such an upbeat message. But Canwest isn't done depressing us:
The Conference Board of Canada, in its annual report card, notes that it's a lagging performance that has eroded Canada's economic standing among the 17 most advanced economies to 11th from third in the 1970s.
It's a continuing deterioration that, in recent years, is being masked by high prices for the commodities that Canada produces and exports, it said.
It's a "myth" that Canada has one of the highest living standards in the world, the board said, noting that living standards here have fallen to ninth in the world from fourth in 1990, citing as other myths the idea that Canada has a highly educated population and that it is a world leader in science and technology.
And just when MacLeans had me feeling so upbeat. Personally, I blame this on the Liberals and Dion’s stupid, crazy tax on everything.
The other Canada Day media tradition is to product Canada Day quizzes and lament how little kids these days know about the fur trade and what not. Here's a few:
MacLean’s: Canada Day Quiz
Canwest: Canada Day quiz 2008
Winnipeg Sun: Canada Day Quiz
Globe and Mail: What's the score, eh? Recommend this Post on Progressive Bloggers