78 per cent believe Arctic research is as important as military spending
CHURCHILL, MB, and TORONTO, Feb. 24 /CNW/ - Polar bears (37 per cent)
edge out climate change (29 per cent) as the first thing Canadians
think of when asked about the Arctic, significantly ahead of Santa
Claus (2 per cent). As International Polar Bear Day on February 27 approaches, new survey findings released today by the Churchill Northern Studies Centre (CNSC) indicate Canadians believe our country has a special role in the
The survey finds that only 14 per cent of Canadians have visited one of
the three territories, but over two-thirds (68 per cent) of the
remainder hope to visit the north in future. The survey was sponsored
by The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and conducted by Leger Marketing.
Canada's role in the Arctic
The survey also found that 4 out of 5 Canadians (78 per cent) agree that
Canada's investment in Arctic scientific research is as important as
Arctic military spending. Overwhelmingly, almost 9 out of 10 Canadians
agree that the Arctic region is important to Canada's future economic
prosperity (86 per cent).
"Each year, the single largest non-indigenous presence in the Arctic is
researchers. Together with local communities, it is the human presence
that represents Canada's true claim to sovereignty," says Michael
Goodyear, Executive Director, Churchill Northern Studies Centre. "The
Centre exists to help understand and sustain the north, and we are
encouraged that Canadians feel so passionately about many of the issues
we touch each day."
Support for the Arctic continues with over 90 per cent of Canadians
believing that among northern nations, Canada should be a leader in
Arctic research (91 per cent). While half of Canadians indicate that
scientific research in the north may have an impact on Arctic security.
"Arctic research spreads across many provinces in Canada not just the
territories, so ensuring a greater understanding of the Arctic and the
role it plays closer to where Canadians live is an important part of
what Arctic research does," said Mr. Goodyear, who is located in
The survey also found some interesting generational differences among
Canadians' perceptions of the Arctic, for example:
Canadians under the age of 55 are more likely to think of polar bears
(41 per cent) while older Canadians age 55+ are more likely to think of
climate change (35 per cent).
Similarly, Canadians age 55 and older are also more likely than those
younger than them to believe that Canada should be a leader in Arctic
research (95 per cent versus 89 per cent of those under the age of 55).
To encourage researchers, The Weston Family Prize for Lifetime Achievement in Northern Research was developed to recognize significant contributions and the broad
impact of a career devoted to natural science research in the Canadian
north. The inaugural $50,000 Prize will be presented as part the new Churchill Northern Studies Centre opening events in the fall of 2011.
"By establishing this prize, we continue our mandate to support Canadian
scientists in this exciting and strategically important part of our
country," says Geordie Dalglish, Chairman of The W. Garfield Weston
Foundation. "Canadian scientists have been world leaders in northern
research for decades and this award will honour them for their
contributions and sacrifices over a lifetime."
About the survey
The survey was completed online from February 7, 2011 to February 10,
2011 using Leger Marketing's online panel, LegerWeb, with a sample of 1532 Canadians.
A probability sample of the same size would yield a margin of error of ±
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation and Northern Research
The launch of the International Polar Year in 2007 was a response to a
widespread concern about the decline of research in the North. It was
at this time that The W. Garfield Weston Foundation entered into the
dialogue about our great North. In response to this growing concern,
the Foundation adopted a goal of advancing northern science and
research in Canada's North as part of its mandate.
Beyond The Weston Family Prize, the Foundation also offers research
scholarships at the graduate level, to encourage and cultivate Canada's
next generation of northern scientists.
Through a challenge grant, the Foundation has also enabled the Churchill
Northern Studies Centre to leverage matching funds needed for the
renewal of the Centre, a key hub for northern research.
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
The W. Garfield Weston Foundation is a private Canadian family
foundation, established in the 1950's by Willard Garfield Weston and
his wife Reta. In 1924 Garfield inherited his father's company and
during his life established bakeries and other successful enterprises
throughout Canada and in many parts of the world. Today, these
businesses include George Weston Limited and Loblaw Companies Limited,
companies in food retailing, processing and distribution. The founders
believed that as the funds are generated through the hard work and
success of these Canadian companies, grants should be given in Canada
for the benefit of Canadians. For three generations, The W. Garfield
Weston Foundation has maintained a family tradition of supporting
charitable organizations across Canada. Today the Foundation directs
the majority of its funds to projects in the fields of land
conservation, education, and science in Canada's North.
About Churchill Northern Studies Centre
Founded in 1976, the Churchill Northern Studies Centre is an
independent, non-profit research and education facility located 23 km
east of the town of Churchill, Manitoba. In addition to research, the
Centre facilitates a wide range of educational programming ranging from
general interest courses for the visiting public to university credit
courses for students.
SOURCE The W. Garfield Weston Foundation
For further information:
Melody Gaukel, Environics, 416-969-2704, firstname.lastname@example.org