*warning - partial derail - we will soon return you back to your regular programming*
Interesting! Yeah, I realize I was lazy in digging up the research. I don't know what it's like in some of the more eastern provinces, but I do know that Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Alberta and BC tend to leave it up to the teacher's discretion. Some schools may choose to play it every day over the loudspeaker, but many do not. I didn't realize that in Ontario it is (possibly) mandatory.
Include her in your life, rather than having a life with your partner and her being on the periphery of that with what friends she can cobble up.
Those stats are pretty appalling! They are especially so when you consider that choral students are routinely called on to sing at school events, which would increase the likelihood of their exposure to learning the anthem.
Our anthem is easily accessible for anyone who wants to learn it, but schools do not place a lot of emphasis anymore on that sort of thing and people are not choosing to learn it themselves or educate themselves about their country in other ways. I believe the anthem is only representative of what else people are not aware of!
There's also the problem of multiculturalist policies allowing people to live in mini pockets of their own culture, rather than interacting with other Canadians or adopting the country's values/policies. I have several friends who have sponsored their families or in-laws to come over from places like Vietnam. Those people have continued speaking their own language without learning English and without learning anything about the country that they now live in, while their family members support them. There is no intention of becoming Canadian, so much as enjoying the benefits of Canada. As we get more immigrants from different religious and cultural backgrounds, we also need to face the fact that some of the freedoms we enjoy may be taken away. If Canada is to recognize shariah law (sp?) for example, that jeopardizes the rights of women to freedom and safety. Already many Somalian immigrants face retribution from their own community, even within the safety of Canada's borders if they choose to depart from Islam.
My feelings about this are mixed. In the earlier days of Canada settling, the government purposefully tried to make sure that there were not large settlements of cultural groups that were deemed distasteful or foreign. They ensured that those groups settled among a sufficiently British population in hopes of ensuring that they were assimilation. Similarly, the residential schools for aboriginal people were intended to eradicate native language use in favour of English or French and their students were made to feel shame over their culture and adopt a European lifestyle. Unfortunately, attitudes among those with the most social clout made it impossible to fit into that society and they had burned the bridges to the old culture. I believe these policies came out of the thinking of those times. At the same time, I've come to believe that some degree of assimilation is necessary before individual differences can be focussed on. We need to have some kind of common goals and purposes.
I appreciate the fact that we value the individual cultures that make up Canada. I can see how some people in the States express concern that they are marginalizing people by only expressing the need to be American (without recognizing how culture affects each group of people). When people came to the States, they were in some senses shedding their own country in exchange for accepting a new country where everyone was supposed to have equal opportunities (whether or not that actually played out in reality). In Canada, our regions have remained extreme distinct and somewhat divided. Western Canadians, Atlantic people, Quebecers, Ontario people, people from the extreme north, and Aboriginal peoples all have a very different concepts of what their contributions to the country are, what the obligations of the government should be and what needs should take priority. We don't tend to have many unified aims.
In some ways this has resulted in a less polarized political system. Over time, I think many Canadians have come to look more at who the person is, rather than what the party's ideology is. Because we have a wider variety of active political parties, our politics don't tend to be as extreme in either direction as the States. In some ways this is good - you get less people who are extremists, along with the downsides that come from any extreme. In other ways, I think it has resulted in some sense of cynicism and apathy and not really standing strongly for anything. People are not passionately behind a particular party or ideology (I think this has changed from the era of my great-grandparents time, when you would not marry someone who was of a very different political stripe, kind of similar to marrying outside of one's religion.)
Many Newfoundlanders identify themselves as Newfoundlanders first (I lived in a very Newfie heavy oil town in Alberta, as well as a reserve in the north of Manitoba where there are a preponderance (sp) of Newfie teachers, with a high turnover rate) and yet it is not surprising since up until they joined confederation (1949), they even had their own currency, government etc and were quite cut off from the mainland. This really deeply contributed to their retaining a different sort of very English/Irish culture, even linguistically, despite being one of the first settled areas of Canada.
History does have a very deep impact on how we view our ethnicity, culture, country and identity (both personally and nationally). The fact that the United States was founded on people at last having freedom of speech and of religion has resulted in a country of individuals that are more likely to speak their minds quite directly and see going after what you want actively as being a positive trait. Independence is valued in every sense. To a country without that history, that same sense of assertiveness and willingness to speak one's mind could be viewed as outspoken, egocentric, overly aggressive or bossy. The same trait that is important to survive in one culture, can be a detriment in another.
I found it interesting in living with 3rd or 4th generation Canadian-German roommates to understand how strongly their communication style was influenced by their cultural heritage, even this many generations in. They didn't even speak their language anymore, but their speech is still influenced by German language structures. Because their group of Mennonite German people settled in communities where they could retain their heritage, language, religion and culture for longer, it has had a more lasting impact. There are defining features of that group of people, that I think are still present, even in those who have rejected the religious aspects of their culture, or who no longer live among others of their group. These traits include a tendancy to speak one's mind directly and without qualifiers, more of a black and white rather than shades of grey view of the world, appreciation of music (particularly four part harmony vocal music), preference for routines, hospitality, industriousness, humanitarian efforts throughout the world, etc. Even in those who rebel against some of the harsher aspects of their upbringing, religion or culture, they are still very unmistakeably from that culture and can't escape it. There is a large body of people who display predictable reactions to the aspects they didn't like, kicking the pendulum in the opposite direction. Ironically, that group of people who are doing so further identify themselves as coming from where they did in the process!
Whether we like it or not, and even if we are any longer familiar with it or not, our cultural heritage greatly impacts us. This is one of the reasons I think there is value in those of mixed heritage or those who are further removed from their country of origin in finding out more, so that they better understand what has comprised who they are and where they are today.