i decided to look at the “civicness” numbers for canadians by province in the world values survey (2006 wave for canada). these are the questions i looked at:

“Now I am going to read out a list of voluntary organizations; for each one, could you tell me whether you are a member, an active member, an inactive member or not a member of that type of organization?

- Church or religious organization
- Sport or recreation organization
- Art, music or educational organization
- Labour union
- Political party
- Environmental organization
- Professional association
- Charitable/humanitarian organization”

for each province, i broke down the numbers for active members only by size of town where the interview was conducted (see x-axis on chart below). what i was trying to get around was françois’ montreal problem — i.e. that the civicness numbers for quebec might be so low because of the presence of multi-culti montreal. (i’ve already shown, though, that ontarians don’t seem to have much of a problem with the presence of multi-culti toronto in their province.)

so, now that i’ve got some numbers for small town quebec (and other provinces) we can ask: are the québécois who don’t live in montreal more civic than their counterparts who do live in montreal, and are they more or less civic than other canadians?

before i try to answer that, let me say that there are lots — LOTS — of problems with this data set, so take this whole post with a big block of freshly mined salt. for one thing, the sample sizes for some of the provinces were so small, i just had to skip them entirely (egs. prince edward island – n=7; newfoundland – n=37). also, some of the data that i did use aren’t so hot either — example: sample size for quebec towns sized 50,000-100,000 – n=10. but, hey — what’s an hbd chick to do?

also, i couldn’t filter out the responses of non-white canadians, so the numbers for quebec do not represent just ethnic québécois. same story for the other provinces. however, 87% of the respondents from canada on the 2006 wvs were white, so we are looking at a strong majority of white canadians here.

so when you look at the chart below — squint!

without further ado, here are the average “civicness” scores by town size for quebec, ontario and alberta (click on graph for LARGER, not-so-fuzzy view):

as you can see, the civicness in small town quebec looks to be ’round about the same as in ontario or alberta — maybe/probably. living in a small-ish town in any of these places would probably feel pretty similar, civicness-wise. the scores do diverge, though, the larger the town/city size, until the difference is ca. twelve points when we get to the largest cities. perhaps that’s due to the multi-cultural nature of the largest cities, but then why are ontario’s numbers so high when they’ve got one of the most vibrant cities on the planet?

no. my guess — and this is just a guess — is that civicness in small-town quebec works quite well because french canadians have a good dose of “genes for familial altruism” (whatever they might be), either thanks to their french ancestors and/or because of the bottleneck and subsequent inbreeding that the population experienced once in the new world, and in small-town quebec they’re still living quite near extended family members, so they’re all quite civic. however, for the very same reason, civicness fails (compared to anglo-canadians) in urban quebec when they’re presented with lots of non-relatives. in contrast, anglo-canadian civicness scores get even better when they get out there in the Big World amongst other individualists like themselves.

the extended family was extremely important for a large part of quebec’s history, which rings familial altruism bells for me. i think that the good folks of quebec are some of my inbreeders — and that’s why they’re not very trusting (of outsiders) and not very civic when they get around different sorts of folks (like in big cities).

oh, and — death to america!

previously: canadiens and what’s up with french canadians? and civic societies

(note: comments do not require an email. québécois family.)

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