Nearly 9 in 10 Canadians would fail the citizenship test: poll

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Published July 1, 2019 4:19 p.m. ET
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Most Canadians don’t know their country as well as they may think, a new poll suggests.

The survey, released in time for Canada Day, asked a random sample of 1,645 voters 10 questions from the study guide given to those looking to become Canadian citizens.

The results weren’t great. Only 12 per cent of respondents got eight or more correct answers, the threshold to pass the test. The average score was five out of 10.

“I did have a feeling that Canadians wouldn’t score that well and unfortunately that’s in fact the case,” Dr. Lorne Bozinoff, president of Forum Research, told CTV News Channel. 

“These are things that you either should’ve studied in school, or if you didn’t grow up in Canada, taking a citizenship test, you should’ve learned about.”

British Columbians were most likely to pass the test, with a 22-per-cent success rate. Respondents with a post-graduate degree were at 21 per cent. Quebecers performed worst on the test, with a 95-per-cent failure rate, and only six per cent of seniors passed the test.

“In Quebec, there’s sometimes less attention to non-Quebec issues,” Bozinoff said.

Here's a breakdown of the questions:

Question one: Who are the Métis?

A) A distinct people of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry

B) A distinct Aboriginal people of Atlantic Canada

C) The first French settlers

D) The original settlers of Montreal

Correct answer: 55 per cent of respondents correctly answered A) A distinct people of mixed Aboriginal and European ancestry.

Question two: What is the name of the Royal Anthem of Canada?

A) God Save the Queen

B) O Canada

C) The Star-Spangled Banner

D) La Marseillaise

Answer: One-third of respondents, or 36 per cent, correctly answered A) God Save the Queen.

Question three: Respondents were given a list of official responsibilities Canadian citizens have and were asked to determine which of was not an official responsibility.

A) Helping others in the community

B) Voting in elections

C) Protecting and enjoying our heritage and environment

D) Driving safely

Answer: Twenty-six per cent correctly answered D) Driving safely.

Question four: When did the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms become part of the Constitution?

A) 1867

B) 1982

C) 1988

D) 2000

Answer: Four in 10 respondents correctly answered B) 1982

Question five: Canada has five regions. Which of the following is not one of them?

A) West Coast

B) Central Canada

C) The Midwest

D) The Prairies

E) The Northern Territories

F) Atlantic Canada

Answer: Sixty-three per cent correctly answered C) The Midwest.

Question six: What does the word “Inuit” mean?

A) The people

B) The north

C) Home

D) Land

Answer: More than half, or 56 per cent, correctly answered A) The people

Question seven: Who are the founding peoples of Canada?

A)   Inuit, Aboriginal, British

B)   Metis, French, British

C)   Aboriginal, Metis, French

D)   Aboriginal, French, British

Answer: Nearly half, or 48 per cent, correctly answeredD) Aboriginal, French, British as the founding peoples of Canada.

Question eight: The names of four party leaders were presented to respondents: Duceppe, Trudeau, Scheer, and May.  Respondents were asked to identify which was not currently a leader in the House of Commons. 

Answer: Just over half, or 53 per cent, correctly answered Duceppe

Question nine: What was the importance of the Canada Pacific Railway?

A) Uniting the country from sea to sea

B) The start of the manufacturing industry or easy access to steel from west to east

C) Wealth, and Canada increasing its GDP

Answer: Sixty-five per cent of respondents correctly answered A) Uniting the country from sea to sea

Question 10: Who is Canada’s head of state?

A) The Queen

B) The prime minister

C) The governor general

D) The president

Answer: Just 19 per cent correctly identified A) The Queen as Canada’s head of state.

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