Urban Canadians positive about life in the city despite doubts about local
government: Trudeau Foundation poll

    Economic Issues, Transportation and Safety Listed as Top Concerns

    Research Precedes Trudeau Conference on Cities, Nov. 19-21

MONTREAL, Nov. 17 /CNW/ - Urban Canadians from coast-to-coast are notably positive about their quality of life in the city, but many also feel a fundamental overhaul of their local government and other public institutions is needed to effectively meet the challenges facing their community, according to a new poll of Canadians living in cities of 100,000 people or more. The poll was commissioned by the Trudeau Foundation in collaboration with the Global Cities Program and the Cities Centre at the University of Toronto in advance of the sixth Trudeau Conference on Public Policy entitled "Canadian Cities and the Public Sphere: Rethinking the Urban Commons," occurring in Ottawa November 19-21, 2009.

Keynote speeches and panel discussions will address many of the topics covered by the poll:

    Quality of Life in the City

    -  Nationally, a clear majority of urbanites rate life in their city as
       excellent (19%) or very good (38%). An additional third (33%) describe
       life in the city as good, while only one in ten say it is only fair
       (7%) or poor (3%).
    -  British Columbia has the most satisfied urban-dwellers in the country,
       with close to seven in ten (68%) rating life in the city as excellent
       or very good.


    -  82% of urban Canadians are optimistic that their city will be a good
       place for the next generation, including 44% who are very optimistic;
       Almost two-thirds (64%) of Atlantic Canadian city dwellers say they
       are very optimistic compared with just 40% in Quebec and Ontario
    -  Nationally, one in six urbanites are somewhat (11%) or very
       pessimistic (4%) about life in their city for the next generation.
       This view is most prevalent in Ontario (19%) and least evident in
       Manitoba (9%).

Fit to Lead?

Do urban Canadians have confidence in the capability of their local government and public institutions to address the major challenges facing their city?

    -  52% of urban Canadians express such confidence, though this declines
       to just 39% among residents of the urban core in Canada's largest
    -  Four in ten (40%) say a "major overhaul" is needed. This figure rises
       to 51% in Ontario cities, and is lowest in Atlantic Canadian cities

"As one of the most urbanized countries in the world, the importance of understanding the opinions and outlook of Canadian city-dwellers is paramount to creating a roadmap for the nation's success and vitality," said Dr. Pierre-Gerlier Forest, President of the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. "The sixth annual Trudeau Conference on Public Policy will host leading Canadian and international experts on cities, and bring forward new ideas in rethinking the urban commons."

    Other poll highlights:

    Most Pressing Challenges

    On the most pressing challenge facing their city:
    -  One quarter of (26%) urban Canadians identify economic challenges
       (e.g. lack of jobs, no economic growth), including 37% of those in
       Ontario cities and 38% in Atlantic Canadian cities. Just 13% in Quebec
       cities feel economic challenges are most pressing.
    -  24% mention transportation (e.g. state of public transit, congestion,
       poor roads); including 31% in BC and Alberta cities vs. 17% in
       Atlantic Canadian cities.
    -  15% said crime and violence (43% in Manitoba cities, 9% in Quebec

    Vulnerability to Threats

    Few urban Canadians feel they or their family are at risk of threats
typically associated with living in the city:

    -  Crime: 10% of city dwellers feel highly at risk (22% in Manitoba
       cities, 5% in Quebec cities).
    -  Health: 7% feel highly at risk (10% in Ontario, 2% in Saskatchewan and
       Alberta cities)
    -  Local environmental and weather events: 8% feel highly at risk (14% in
       Montreal, 5% in Toronto and Saskatchewan cities)
    -  Terrorism: 3% feel highly at risk and 13% at medium risk; concern is
       most likely to be expressed by residents in the urban core of large
       cities (19% describe risk as medium, 4% as high )

    Ethnic Diversity

    On the pros and cons of ethnic diversity in Canadian cities:
    -  A majority (58%) of urban Canadians identify ways in which ethnic
       diversity has been positive for their city, most notably citing its
       contribution to culture and the arts (30%) and the way it makes the
       city more interesting and dynamic (15%).
    -  One third (34%) identify ways in which the presence of different
       ethnic communities has had a negative affect on their city, most
       commonly increased crime (12%), lack of assimilation by newcomers
       (12%) and social tensions between communities (8%).

Against this backdrop, the sixth annual Trudeau Conference on Public Policy will bring some of the brightest minds together to tackle the subject from unique, fresh and actionable angles. Media are invited to attend the conference and more information can be found at www.trudeaufoundation.ca

About the Trudeau Foundation

An independent and non-partisan Canadian charity, the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation was established in 2001 as a living memorial to the former Prime Minister by his family, friends, and colleagues. The Foundation supports outstanding creative thinkers who make meaningful contributions to critical social issues through scholarships, fellowships, mentorships and public interaction events. To date, the Foundation has granted hundreds of major awards to top researchers and highly accomplished individuals, in Canada and abroad.

About the research

The results are based on a telephone poll by Environics Research conducted with a representative sample of 1,300 adult Canadians in cities of 100,000 or more from October 15-24, 2009. A sample of this size will produce a sampling error of plus or minus 2.7 percentage points, 19 times out of 20. Regional breakouts are available.

SOURCE The Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation

For further information: For further information: For conference media accreditation, more information or to arrange an interview with a Trudeau Foundation official, contact: Media Pre-registration or Inquiries: Sheryl So, (English), Environics Communications, (416) 969-2725, sso@environicspr.com; Alida Alepian, (French), Capital-Image, (514) 739-1188 ext. 225, aalepian@capital-image.com; On site Nov. 19-21: Elise Comtois, Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation, (514) 466-1575, (Mobile), comtois@trudeaufoundation.ca

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