Well, next time some jerk writes me a letter and says I’m either too anti-American, too mushy soft on Canada, too deep, way too shallow, too pro-development, too green, too whatever, I have decided not to lose a minute of sleep.
Why? Because right now I’m feelin’ good about myself.
Well the next time you see me on the street give me a big hug.
And while you’re at it, next time you see editors Richard Mostyn, Jim Butler or mayor Ernie Bourassa, give them a little squeeze too.
You know why?
Because you Canadians just love us.
You feel we’re doin’ good work. Right on!
Ya trust us, ya little knuckleheads.
The Centre for Research and Information of Canada polled Canadians a while back and guess what.
It seems 74 per cent of you felt us journalistic types are doing a good job “as a watchdog over your interests.”
And 66 per cent of those surveyed felt their elected leaders were doing a good job, even though 72 per cent acknowledged the job of politics is more difficult than it was a decade ago.
There you have it.
Borrowing a line from Harry Manx, “I sittin’ on top of the world.”
And you just might consider giving yourself a little of this “feel good” as well.
A whopping 77 per cent of Canadians “fully trust” their fellow countrymen and 99 per cent of adults say they love their mothers.
Plus, you Canadians are a right-thoughtful bunch.
A full 78 per cent believe the environment should be the No. 1 concern of government today and 74 per cent want increased spending on health services. And 73 per cent want a balanced budget.
And now let’s get it up for Canada — 96 per cent of Canadian men are happy with their use of Viagra.
Whoa, now slow down here, Gregory. A little balance here my boy.
OK then, how about this.
Eighty per cent of you consider yourself “Christian.”
Eighty-four per cent believe in God.
And a poll by the centre shows that 61 per cent of Canadians believe that religious practice is an important factor in the moral and ethical lives of Canadians.
Here are a few statistics that will have Canadian Country idol George Fox just falling all over himself.
Canadians are truly Canadian.
“Most Canadians believe that civic involvement is more a matter of choice than a responsibility of citizenship, and 59 per cent of Canadians say they feel the need to make a difference in the world around them.
In fact, 61 per cent believe that when people act together, they can change things for the better.
And almost three of every four Canadians agree that, by acting together, they can have at least some impact in making their community a better place to live.
In fact, “a majority (54 per cent), believe that joining a political party is the way to make a constructive contribution to the future of Canada.”
And what, according to the centre, is Canadian about Canada?
Well, “significant majorities of Canadians feel that medicare (85 per cent), two official languages (73 per cent), peacekeeping (69 per cent), and the CBC (60 per cent) are essential characteristics of the country.
Now try a few of these on for size.
In light of the Gomery Commission, 55 per cent of Canadians feel “the inquiry demonstrates the abuses of power in government are investigated, and corrective measures are taken.”
Not surprisingly, 62 per cent prefer a minority government over a majority one.
Fifty-three per cent of Canadians feel “political parties should be required to nominate a specific percentage of women candidates.”
Sixty-two per cent think Canadian federalism has more advantages than disadvantages.
Fifty-four per cent feel local or municipal government does not have enough revenue to fulfill its responsibilities.
And, not to bring you down but rather to give it to you straight, half of you feel you have become more like Americans over the last decade.
And speaking of straight, fewer of you are.
A national poll taken in 2004 and inventoried in States Canada show that out of 316,800 folks surveyed, 1.7 per cent considered themselves either homosexual or bisexual.
EGALE (Equality for Gays and Lesbian Everywhere) is now conservatively estimating that 10 per cent of all Canadians are either gay or lesbian.
But what about the kids.
An Environics poll released this week by the Canadian Pediatric Society found that 78 per cent of Canadians believe children and teenagers spend too much time on non-physical activities like watching television and using the computer.
And, “62 per cent of all girls are inactive compared with 52 per cent of boys.”
In light of the world coming apart at the seams over religious cartoons, what do us Canucks have to say?
Well, according to new poll numbers, “multiculturalism has a moderating effect on extremist influences in the view of 68 per cent of Canadians. However, 58 per cent expressed concern that the loyalty of immigrants may suffer if they maintain too strong an attachment to their countries of origin while becoming Canadian.”
I glance down at the clock on my computer.
It’s been a long day. This light-hearted look at Canada by the numbers has been good for me though. I will sleep well tonight.
Make a cup of Sleepytime and fill the wood stove. Turn in. But first, make one last check of my inbox.
Important! From a colleague, Geir Aasebøstøl, director of the Norwegian Polar Institute in Spitsbergen, Norway.
“Gregory, you should know about this. New study finds glaciers melting twice as fast as once thought — sea levels will rise exponentially. Study attached.”
Pissed. From someone I don’t recognize.
“Mr. Heming. Just came across the collumne (sic) you wrote a few weeks ago. Why is it you are so F––––ing fatalistic when it come to the environment….”
Grind up some Ethiopian Yirgacheffe. Go back to work.