Canada may appear very secular compared with its southern neighbor, but a new poll suggests there is more openness to religion than appears on the surface, especially among younger Canadians.
The survey, called Faith in the Public Square, by the Angus Reid Institute found that 59 percent of Canadians say the free expression of religion in public life makes Canada a better country.
“I was surprised by how many people support religion in the public square,” said Angus Reid, chair of the institute.
Many Canadians “see the value that faith groups make to society in terms of addressing social issues and the formation of values,” he added.
The survey, done in partnership with Cardus, a nonpartisan, faith-based think tank, asked 2,200 Canadians 17 questions about their openness to faith in both their own life and the public square.
It found that proponents of increased faith in public life tend to be younger, more highly educated and more likely to have voted Liberal — the equivalent of the Democratic Party in the United States.
For Reid, this finding is notable, but not surprising.
“Millennials are more accepting of almost everything,” he said, noting that they are also more open to LGBTQ people and to seeing Canada accept more refugees.
“Looking at Canada, one could get the feeling it is on an inevitable march to secularism, like in Europe, but that might not be the case,” Reid said.