More Canadians plan to attend Remembrance Day ceremonies: poll

A Montreal Remembrance Day ceremony held on Nov. 6, 2014. Sylvain Trudeau/Global News

TORONTO – Almost three in 10 Canadians say they plan to attend a Remembrance Day ceremony this year, according to a new poll.

That number is higher than last year and has been steadily rising for more than a decade, says Jeremy Diamond, executive director of The Vimy Foundation. Five years ago, around 18 per cent of Canadians surveyed said they would attend a service.

READ MORE: What does the poppy mean to you? Share your stories

A lot of attention placed on the sacrifice of Canadian soldiers in the past few weeks, in the wake of attacks that killed Warrant Officer Patrice Vincent and Corporal Nathan Cirillo on Canadian soil.

The poll, done by Ipsos Reid for The Vimy Foundation and released to Global News, found that 27 per cent of those asked planned to attend a service this year. The survey was carried out after the attacks.

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“People may be thinking about it a bit more because of recent events, but we are trying to make it as easy as possible for people to observe,” Diamond said. “If they can’t get to a ceremony, take that two minutes [of silence] to honour veterans.”

Diamond suggests other reasons for the strong numbers include a greater awareness of Canada’s military role on the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War and the fact that Second World War veterans are passing so quickly.

“With each passing Remembrance Day, it may be the last chance to see them and thank them for their service.”

Support slips for Nov. 11 national holiday

The poll also suggests that 82 per cent of Canadians would like to see Remembrance Day made a national holiday. That’s down three percentage points from a similar poll conducted two years ago.

The House of Commons is currently considering a private member’s bill that would amend the Holidays Act to make Remembrance Day a statutory holiday on par with Canada Day on July 1 or Victoria Day in May.

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Diamond says giving Canadians a day off on Nov. 11 may not be the best way to honour veterans.

“We need to be very careful about talking about statutory holidays,” Diamond said. “Making [the observance] a certain time on a certain day every year makes people more focused on when they are going to observe. By not making it a statutory holiday, we are ensuring that the impact still remains.”

Diamond adds if students get the day off “we would lose the opportunity to focus students on Remembrance Day activities.”

“When students and school kids are home, are they necessarily going to go to a Remembrance Day activity? Probably not.”

Among the poll’s other findings:

  • People in Alberta (41 per cent) and Atlantic Canada (39 per cent) are most likely to attend an official Remembrance Day ceremony.
  • Atlantic Canadians (94 per cent) and residents of Ontario (90 per cent) are most likely to observe two minutes of silence at 11:00 a.m. on Nov. 11.
  • Atlantic Canadians (94 per cent) and residents of B.C. (90 per cent) are most likely to wear a poppy in the days leading up to Nov. 11.

An online panel of 1,008 Canadians were surveyed for the poll between Nov. 5 and Nov. 7, 2014. The results are considered accurate to within 3.5 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.


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