Ask anyone anywhere what they think of Canadians and the answer that invariably returns is that we are polite.
Being polite is the backbone of our nation. It is the reason why we sew Canadian flags onto our backpacks when we travel. It’s what gets us through the winter. It confirms that we are certifiably Not American.
But alas this is changing. According to a recent survey by Research Co, the majority of Canadians (52%) think we aren’t as polite as we used to be. The benchmark for “used to be” in this case is the year 2014, which means we’ve allegedly bittered in just half a decade. Only 8% of those asked believe we’ve become more polite over the past five years.
So what gives?
The biggest reason attributed to this decline in warmth is “the influence of television and movies” (77%) and “technology that enables people to talk face-to-face less often” (also 77%). As always, when in doubt, blame technology.
There are other factors, too: “Poor examples from celebrities, athletes and other public figures” (74%), “politicians engaging in personal attacks” (69%), “people being too busy with their lives” (66%) and “teachers and schools failing to teach students proper behaviour” (59%) were all cited as cause for less politeness among the populace. Basically, our role models suck.
Furthermore, “almost half of Canadians aged 18-to-34 (46%) say they experience impoliteness on social media a few times a week,” says Mario Canseco, President of Research Co. “Only 12% of Canada’s Millennials say they only face rudeness on social media less often than a few times a year.” That’s actually a pretty good observation. The anonymous nature of the internet means any coward can just type some seriously impolite material and send it our way. As we increasingly spend time on social media, it’s no wonder we get a colder impression of our fellow compatriots.
One final note of discouragement: One third of Canadians (33%) think the people they deal with on a daily basis say “please” and “thank you” less often than five years ago. But most importantly: do they at least sat ‘sorry’?