Ipsos recently conducted a study entitled Perils of Perception, to understand how well Canadians know Canada.
In some cases, Canadians have a solid understanding of their province and the country, such as how much of our provincial budgets we spend on healthcare or how many of us smoke cigarettes. In other cases, Canadians remain ignorant on some facts about Canada, such as how many Canadians smoke marijuana, work in the resource sector, how many of us volunteer, drink heavily, travel abroad or vote.
Canadians tend to over-estimate their vices (i.e. marijuana usage, cigarette smokers, heavy drinkers), and underestimate their virtues (i.e. voting, passport holders, volunteerism).
The Index of Ignorance
The index of ignorance tallies the total amount of error for each province across the 12 core questions of the survey. The index shows which Canadians have a better understanding of their province and the people who live there (most knowledgeable), and which provinces have a weaker understanding of their province and the people who live there (most ignorant).
Quebeckers are the most knowledgeable
The results of the survey show that residents of Quebec have the honoured position of being the most knowledgeable, averaging 10 points of error across the 12 questions. They performed particularly well on their understanding of education in Quebec, smokers and heavy drinking.
Following Quebec, from most knowledgeable to most ignorant are residents of PEI (average of 13 points of error), Ontario (14), Manitoba (14), British Columbia (15), Alberta (15), Newfoundland and Labrador (15), Nova Scotia (15) and New Brunswick (16). Residents of Saskatchewan have the dubious distinction of being the most ignorant of their own province, overall, averaging 18 points of error. They performed particularly poorly on their understanding of the size of the resource sector, volunteerism, and marijuana usage.