G8 and G20 Summits: What the world really thinks of Canada

As Canada prepares to play host to the world’s leaders at the G8 and G20 Summits, a new survey commissioned by The Historica-Dominion Institute, takes the pulse of the global community’s perceptions of Canada and Canadians.
With the state of the global economy and international relations as the major themes of the upcoming summits, the first part of the survey, entitled Canada and the World in 2010, focuses on the perceptions of Canada as an economic and world power.
The online survey of over 18,000 people in 24 countries, conducted by Ipsos Reid, shows that Canadians sometimes overestimate their own influence in world affairs as two in three Canadians (67%) agree that Canada has an influence on the world stage, while only 55% of global respondents agree. Those polled in Brazil and India were most likely (both 74%) to agree that Canada had influence in world affairs, while only one third of Japanese and Swedes agreed, making them least likely of the 24 countries polled to believe that Canada is influential on the world stage.
Other key findings include:
– Canadians (68%) are only slightly more likely than global citizens overall (62%) to say that Canada is a world economic power. The Russians (79%), Brazilians (78%) and Chinese (78%) are most likely to agree, while the Swedes (33%), Japanese (40%), Germans (41%), and the British (43%) are much less likely.
– Canadians are much more likely (81%) than global citizens overall (67%) to say that Canada is a leader in working for peace and human rights around the world. After Canada, South Africans (80%) are most likely to agree, while those living in Sweden (37%) and Germany (45%) are least likely to believe that Canada is a leader in this field.
– While 60% of global citizens believe that Canada does pretty much what the United States wants them to do when it comes to foreign affairs, even more Canadians (71%) actually believe this. Those living in India (81%) are most likely to believe that Canada follows the United States’ wishes, while those living in Sweden and Japan (both 37%) are least likely to agree.
– A majority (54%) of Americans believe that Canada pretty much just does what the U.S. does when it comes to foreign affairs.

"This survey gives us a real and measurable impression of where Canada stands in the eyes of the world," says Andrew Cohen, President of The Historica-Dominion Institute. "In a world of more than 200 countries, we can be proud that we are generally well-regarded beyond our borders, although, as Canadians, we tend to be our own biggest fans and, sometimes, our own sharpest critics."

The global survey is a project of The Historica-Dominion Institute in partnership with the Munk School of Global Affairs with the support of the Aurea Foundation.
The online poll of over 18,000 people was run across 24 countries that represent 75% of the world’s GDP. The results of the full survey will be released over a three-day period from June 21 to June 23 in the lead-up to the G8 and G20 Summits.
For detailed results, visit www.historica-dominion.ca.
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