Canadians love firefighters and nurses. Politicians and car salespeople… not so much: survey

Firefighter Mark Stephenson (C) with fellow firefighters raising money at a charity event, filmed his house burning in the Abasand neighbourhood last year during the wildfires in Fort McMurray, Alta. Friday, April 22, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Todd Korol

How does your job stack up when it comes to respect from your fellow Canadians? A new poll is out that shows who’s on top, and who’s on the bottom.

More than nine in 10 Canadians admire firefighters (92 per cent) and nurses (91 per cent) according to the annual Insights West survey.

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Rounding out the list of jobs Canadians see most positively were farmers (88 per cent), doctors (87 per cent), teachers (86 per cent), scientists (84 per cent) engineers and veterinarians (82 per cent) and architects (81 per cent).

“There’s an interaction there that is mostly positive,” said pollster Mario Canseco. “Especially when you’re dealing with nurses and doctors. There’s [also] a lot of respect for other professions you don’t deal with every day, architects did very well, engineers did very well. You can argue we deal with what they create every day.”
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For the third year running, the survey found politicians (22 per cent) and car salespeople (26 per cent) to be the least respected jobs in Canada.

Canseco said that may be a factor of dealing in trust.

“Ultimately what we see there is where you’re going to be keeping promises. Politicians need to keep promises, car sales people, you know, there might be a situation where you weren’t particularly happy with the services you got,” he said.

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Other poor performers in the poll were pollsters (42 per cent), business executives and realtors (47 per cent) and lawyers (48 per cent).

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The group that saw the biggest growth in respect was journalists, according to the survey. Journalists were viewed positively by just 58 per cent of respondents in 2016, and 62 per cent in 2017.

Canseco said they scored 70 per cent approval in the 2018 poll, a factor he attributes to the changing climate around media.

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“We’ve had a lot of conversations about fake news and what it means to be encountering some of these stories on the internet, and watching a lot of people who are basing some of their ideas, even how they’re going to vote based on some of this fake news. So I think there’s a big appreciation now for the job of a journalist,” Canseco said.

Also of note in the survey is a generational gap in the perception of police officers. The poll found that a third of millennials had a negative view of police, compared to 23 per cent for generation X, and 19 per cent for baby boomers.

The survey was conducted online from March 2 to march 5 from a pool of 1,012 Canadian adults and has a margin of error of +/- 3.1 percentage points.

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