Toronto, ON — Canada will be celebrating its 150th anniversary this coming year and a majority (86%) of Canadians agree (45% strongly/40% somewhat) that as part of the commemorations there should be a national monument to pay tribute to our veterans and soldiers. Moreover, nearly nine in ten (85%) Canadians agree (43% strongly/42% somewhat) that Canadians should be doing more to honour those who fought and those who have died in war (down 5 points), according to a new Ipsos survey conducted on behalf of Historica Canada.
Canadians also believe that a monument paying tribute to those who have died in modern times is also appropriate. Three in four (76%, down 4 points) agree (33% strongly/43% somewhat) that Canada should build a memorial like the Vietnam Wall in Washington D.C. that lists the names of all military personnel who have died in combat in modern times (conflicts post-Korean War including Afghanistan).
Keeping the History Alive…
Remembrance Day allows Canadians to reflect on the sacrifices that come with war. However, Canadians believe the commemoration should not just end after November 11th and that it is important to remember and understand our history throughout the year. A majority (62%) of Canadians believe that Canadian students are not being taught enough about Canada’s efforts in wartime, with only four in ten (38%) believing that they are.
Most also appear to believe that learning extends beyond the classroom. Nine in ten (89%) Canadians agree (46% strongly/42% somewhat) that hearing veterans speak about their experiences is the best way for youth to understand conflict.
Connection to conflict…
Four in ten (41%) Canadians have family and/or friends who served in the Second World War, but for many Remembrance Day goes beyond commemorating those that died in the line of duty between 1939-1945. Canadians will be honouring their family and friends that have served throughout all of Canada’s past and present conflicts. The following proportion of Canadians know someone who served in the following wars:
- Second World War — 41%
- First World War — 15%
- Peacekeeping Missions — 10%
- Afghanistan — 10%
- Korean War — 7%
- Iraq — 5%
Even with many Canadians having a personal connection to war, nine in ten (92%) Canadians still agree (49% strongly/43% somewhat) that Canada is a peacekeeping nation. As of August 31 there were 112 Canadians, predominantly police officers, taking part in United Nations peacekeeping missions.
Honouring Our Soldiers…
Preparing to pay tribute on November 11th, many Canadians say they will be participating in traditional remembrance practices observed in Canada. One in four (26%) will be attending an official Remembrance Day service (down 6 points), including one in three (35%) Millennials who say they will attend — suggesting that the future for Remembrance in Canada is likely to remain strong.
Seven in ten (73%) say they will observe two minutes of silence at 11 o’clock (down 4 points), while three in four (77%) will wear a poppy in the lead up to Remembrance Day (down 2 points). Many also remember through visiting memorial sites: two in five (42%) have visited the cenotaph or war memorial in their community or elsewhere and one in four (24%) Canadians have visited the National War Memorial in Ottawa.
Personal Connection with War Veterans Sparks Remembrance
The study reveals that having a personal connection to a veteran (whether it’s a family member or friend) who has served in conflict appears to be correlated to being more likely to participate in acts of remembrance. Those who know someone who has fought in war are more likely to:
- Attend and official remembrance ceremony this year (33% of those who know someone who has served vs. 17% who don’t know anybody)
- Observe two minutes of silence at 11 o’clock on November 11 (84% vs. 61%)
- Wear a poppy this year in the lead up to Remembrance Day (87% vs. 63%)
- To have visited a cenotaph in the past (54% vs. 26%)
- To have visited the national war memorial in Ottawa (33% vs. 15%)
Those who have a family member or friend who has served in a conflict are also more likely to agree that:
- Canada is a peacekeeping nation (94% vs. 89%)
- Hearing veterans speak about their experiences in the best way for youth to understand conflict (93% vs. 83%)
- Canadians should do more to honour those who have fought and those who have died in war (91% vs. 78%)
- As part of Canada’s 150 commemorations there should be a national monument to pay tribute to our veterans and soldiers (90% vs. 80%)
- Canada should build a memorial like the Vietnam Wall in Washington that lists the names of all military personnel who have died in modern times (79% vs. 73%)
However, those with a personal connection to a veteran are less likely to agree (30% vs. 48%) that Canadian students are taught enough about Canada’s efforts in wartime.
Canadian Women in WWII…
Testing their knowledge of how many Canadian women served in the Second World War, only one in ten (9%) Canadians could correctly indicate that 50,000 Canadian women served in the armed forces during the Second World War. One in four (26%) gave an incorrect answer: one in ten (11%) believed 100,000 women served followed by 7% who believed it was 25,000, 6% at 10,000 and 4% saying it was 5,000.
Six in ten (63%) Canadians simply have no clue how many Canadian women served in the armed forces during the Second World War, admitting that they could not venture a guess.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted between October 20 and October 24, 2016, on behalf of Historica Canada. For this survey, a sample of 1,004 Canadians from Ipsos’ online panel was interviewed online. Weighting was then employed to balance demographics to ensure that the sample’s composition reflects that of the adult population according to Census data and to provide results intended to approximate the sample universe. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll is accurate to within ± 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, had all Canadian adults been polled. The credibility interval will be wider among subsets of the population. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error.
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