Friday, June 29, 2007

Most Canadians would flunk citizenship test

I was saddened, but not surprised, to read this article citing recent poll results showing that more than half of all Canadians lack sufficient knowledge about their own country to pass a citizenship test.

[According to this poll,] 60 per cent of Canadians would fail a citizenship exam similar to the one newcomers must pass in order to become citizens. ... In a similar survey 10 years ago, 45 per cent of Canadians polled would have failed an identical test.

"The findings of this ten year benchmark study suggest that we are fast becoming a nation of amnesiacs who lack basic knowledge about the country's past, its democratic institutions and practices, and the physical geography of Canada," said Rudyard Griffiths, Co-Founder of the Dominion Institute.

Well, what can you expect in a country whose ruling politicians (and to a large degree the media and educational system) are indifferent, if not hostile, to community groups like ours that actually try to address that knowledge deficit... often at our own expense?

For decades the government has been refusing the Ukrainian community's request to return monies it confiscated from Ukrainians and never returned. Community leaders have repeatedly stressed that this money, the contemporary value of money and goods the federal government confiscated during the WWI internment and never returned, would not go to individuals. Rather, it would be spent in its entirety on an educational campaign about this nationally significant but still little-known chapter of Canadian history. ... for the benefit of all Canadians.

Given the intransigence on the part of the Canadian government on this request, and the utter disinterest on the part of the national media for more than two decades, this acceleration of national ignorance is just an indicator of the state of our collective national pride.

And so, as sad as it is, it really should come as no surprise.

4 comments:

Taras said...

O Canada…Our home and native land…True patriot love in all thy sons command…

How about welcoming better qualified candidates to take the test?:) There are people out there who could take Canada by storm and set a good example for generations to come! (Ditto the U.S.)

olechko said...

this issue seems to have to be more pressed on or it'll get the same treatment as the Polubotok's gold :)

Pawlina said...

Yes, you're both right!

Taras, we've been trying to figure out why our stupid government has tended to keep the door shut on Ukrainian immigrantion, and a few times only opened a window briefly.

However, the problem of ignorance is not so much with immigrants as with the Canadian-born.

Unfortunately, Canadian educators, media, politicians and business elite seem to prefer presenting some sanitized, whitewashed version of our history rather than delving right into the deep and dirty reality, as our neighbours to the south do.

And it's too bad they don't understand that because America boldly faces its past, Americans are so boldly patriotic. Generally, Canadians envy that sense of self-identity, yet refuse to face the past head on.

Oh well. The Ukrainians are here to change all that. ;-)

Pawlina said...

Ok, Olechko, where the @#$%*& is that gold anyway?

The subject keeps popping up but no one is talking ...