Date: Fri, 3 Jul 98 13:46:12 CDT
History rich, but we'd never know it
The Province, 29 June 1998, page A 18 (CP)
Ottawa - Canadians could use a remedial course in history just to brush up on the basics according to results of a simplified Canadian pop quiz. Half of 1,500 adult respondents failed to pass the Angus Reid survey about Canadian history, politics and culture - stumped by what was supposed to be an "easier" test than last year's. A "dismal" 16 per cent passed a similar test last year that was limited to 18-to-24 year olds, said one of the co-sponsors of the study. This year's pass rate of 50 per cent still isn't much better, officials said.
Respondents were asked 20 questions about historic events, notable politicians, Canadian heroes and national symbols. Only 25 per cent could identify the major 1919 event in Winnipeg (general strike), 13 per cent knew the name of the new northern territory to be created in Canada in 1999 (Nunavut) and 26 per cent knew that Saskatchewan was the first province to introduce medicare. One in four respondents chose the American "Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness", as the Canadian slogan associated with the constitution, rather than the correct motto: "Peace, order and good government."
Meanwhile 89 per cent identified Jacques Villeneuve as Canadian and 81 per cent correctly chose Kim Campbell as Canada's only female prime minister. Older respondents were wiser than their youthful counterparts. Of those 55 years and older, 62 per cent passed the test. Only 39 per cent of those 18-34 passed. However, younger respondents did much better when questions focused on Canadian heroes and celebrities.
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