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WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CANADIAN

Third annual MasterCard Canada Priceless Index focuses on Canadian attitudes and outlooks for the future

Toronto, ON, June 15, 2004 – Just in time for Canada Day, MasterCard Canada has released the results of its third annual MasterCard Canada Priceless Index, a national survey of Canadians on their perceptions of Canada and its place in the world. The 2004 Priceless Index finds Canadians proud of their nation and citing freedom as the most priceless Canadian value.

When asked what it is about Canadian values that is most priceless to them, the most frequent response was freedom (24%) followed by tolerance (6%), and multiculturalism (5%.) More than half (55%) of Canadians consider themselves first and foremost as a citizen of Canada, rather than a citizen of the world (15%), or of their province (13%) or local community (13%.)

What keeps Canadians up at night? The times they are a changing
When asked to name the biggest threats to Canada’s future, almost one third (31%) of Canadians cited war and terrorism. This marks a significant shift from the first Priceless Index in 2002 when economic issues (25%) were seen as the greatest threat and terrorism was selected by only 18 per cent of respondents.

Maintaining independence from the United States and U.S. influence was the second most frequently named threat (25%) this year, as it has been in the past. In fact, the perception of this threat is up from 20 per cent in 2002.

“The 2004 Priceless Index gives great insight as to what it means to be Canadian,” said Kevin Stanton, President, MasterCard Canada. “In the current environment, Canadians value their freedom and feel peacekeeping is the greatest asset they have to offer the world, and for those reasons, Canadians stand proud.”

What makes Canada priceless?
As Canada Day quickly approaches, one-third of Canadians (31%) identified the Canadian flag as the most priceless Canadian symbol.

  • Only Quebecers identified the Charter of Rights and Freedoms (35%) above the Canadian flag (23%.)
  • Western Canada will have to wait another year to honour their national symbol – 18 per cent believe hockey truly is Canada’s national symbol.

When considering how Canadians are perceived internationally, 30 per cent believe the one word that best describes them is “friendly”. This holds true in all regions, with Atlantic Canada most in favour (39%.) While Quebecers also support that friendly feeling (20%), “peaceful” was ranked a close second (18%.)

Give peace a chance
Almost one-third (30%) of Canadians believe Canada’s peacekeeping and peacefulness is the greatest contribution we have to offer the world; a point of view that has strengthened since 2002 when 25 per cent cited it. Humanitarian aid was the second most popular response this year at 14 per cent.

“With the Priceless Index now in its third year, we’re seeing some evolution in opinions, but the fundamental perceptions of Canada’s role as a peaceful, tolerant nation endure, said Derek Leebosh, Senior Research Associate, Environics Research Group.

About the survey
This national survey of 2,000 Canadians 18 years of age and over was carried out by telephone between April 26 and May 7, 2004 by Environics Research Group on behalf of MasterCard Canada. Results to a survey of this size can be considered accurate to within plus or minus 2.2 percent, nineteen times out of twenty.

About MasterCard International
MasterCard International is a leading global payments solutions company that provides a broad variety of innovative services in support of our global members' credit, deposit access, electronic cash, business-to-business and related payment programs. MasterCard International manages a family of well-known, widely accepted payment cards brands including MasterCard®, Maestro® and Cirrus® and serves financial institutions, consumers and businesses in over 210 countries and territories. The MasterCard award-winning Priceless® advertising campaign is now seen in 96 countries and in 47 languages, giving the MasterCard brand a truly global reach and scope. For more information go to www.mastercardinternational.com

MasterCard Canada Contacts:

Jill Rosenberg/Tina Gladstone/Matt Cram
Environics Communications, 416-920-9000
jrosenberg@environicspr.com
tgladstone@environicspr.com
mcram@environicspr.com