My family and I had a great time this past Canada Day long weekend. One day we spent up north, walking through the woods and enjoying the great outdoors. The next day we made it back into the city for a Canada Day parade and the celebrations that followed it. After a community barbecue, I then made my way down to the boardwalk with a friend to watch the fireworks on Toronto’s waterfront.

There were flags. There were people of all backgrounds waving and smiling. There were cold beers in the cooler and meat on the grill. All was good.

Yet newly released public surveys suggest that things aren’t all that good, at least when it comes to our sense of Canadian culture and identity. Not everyone was feeling it this Canada Day, and that’s a tragedy. We need to take it seriously, identify why it’s happening, and work to turn things around.

An Ipsos poll released in advance of Canada Day asked the top-line question of whether respondents across the country agreed with the statement “Canada is broken.” Seven in 10 answered yes.

This is dismaying. Then again, it’s not surprising.

It’s getting harder to pay the bills, infrastructure isn’t getting built, and Canadians now have trouble accessing services we once took for granted, like being able to have a family doctor.

What was most alarming about the poll, though, was another series of answers related to the celebration of Canada Day and the nation.

Respondents were asked if they were more or less likely now than they were five years ago to feel proud to be Canadian, attend a Canada Day celebration or party, or display a Canadian flag around July 1. They were asked about these items individually and, for each of them, the “less likely” category took the lead—people are much less likely to celebrate Canada.

The survey did not go into the sorts of details that would have been necessary to unpack why people felt this way. The answers were probably diverse.

No doubt some people were unfortunately in agreement with those wrong-headed arguments about how Canada is a shameful country and we need to repeatedly apologize for simply existing. Then there are probably others who would like to be patriots but feel so beaten down by how difficult things have gotten in recent years that they just can’t muster it anymore.

While a general sense of brokenness contributes to these feelings, broader issues of identity without a doubt play a role as well. We should be proud of our nationality and celebrate Canadian nationhood.

The other recent dataset that’s making headlines relates to this one released the other day by Statistics Canada. The federal data agency looked at responses to census questions about national identity.

“Canada is truly a quilt of many people with very diverse ethnocultural backgrounds,” the report states. “In fact, Canadians reported over 450 different ethnic or cultural origins during the 2021 Census of Population.”

That’s a lot. And there’s certainly nothing wrong with that, especially if citizens recognize “Canadian” as the prevailing national identity and another culture as a secondary or more familial identity. That’s not entirely the case, though.

“Just under 5.7 million respondents reported “Canadian” as their ethnic or cultural origin during the 2021 Census, making “Canadian” the largest ethnic or cultural group nationally.”

What are we to make of this? We should certainly hope that in Canada the largest cultural group is Canadian. But that only turns out to be slightly more than one in six respondents who say so.

In fairness to the respondents, we have been encouraged for decades to think that these sorts of questions are more asking what your ethnic heritage is—as in what country your parents or grandparents grew up in—than whether or not you see yourself as a Canadian. .

That in itself is a problem.

While these numbers are troubling, more people are also saying they are tired of ulterior agendas and instead want to be positive in their outlook. People want unity. They want to focus on our similarities for once rather than on our differences.

We really need to reignite a sense of Canadian identity. Hopefully enough people agree and we can make this happen sooner than later.

Views expressed in this article are opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.