Is our youth equipped to face the future?
To many adults, teen-agers sometimes seem obsessed by rock ’n' roll and hot rods—but they’ll be running this country in the space age. What do they think about the vital issues they’ll face? A special Maclean’s survey found many youngsters who believe:
* People with unpopular views should be muzzled
* Police should be permitted to use the third degree
*No individual can do anything to prevent war
* Nothing is worse than being an oddball
How deep do these thoughts go? A panel of experts argues their significance
Some surprises for parents: most youngsters aren't in rebellion against anything; teen-agers really want more supervision and less liberty. Here's what nine of them say on major issues ►
tiring (lie next few decades, the destiny of Canada will be in the hands of the 1,300,000 boys and girls who are now between the ages of fifteen and nineteen. They will inherit a world in which nuclear power, automation, transportation at a speed several times that of sound, mechanical brains which compute better and faster than men and exploration of the universe will all be commonplace. It may be a world still divided into two opposing ideological camps, each possessing sufficient destructive power to blow mankind to extinction.
Is the younger generation being equipped—intellectually and spiritually — to grapple with the problems posed by this fast-changing, intricate, and in many ways terrifying new world?
At least some people acquainted with today’s adolescents have serious misgivings. “Our schools,” says Dr. Eugene Forsey, research director. Canadian Labor Congress, “arc turning out too many shoddy, half-baked products.” Douglas Jung, MP for Vancouver-Centre, who is president of the Young Progressive Conservative Association, states. “After dealing with over two hundred political youth groups all over Canada, it is my impression that young people are not interested in politics.” In the opinion of an Ottawa clergyman, “at best, modern teen-agers have only a hazy relationship with God.” This may partly explain why a group of high-school students in Ottawa recently formed a fan club for a local bank teller who had absconded with $200,000. Rabbi Abraham Feinberg of Toronto’s Holy Blossom Temple, often rebukes present-day youth for their disinterest in social betterment. “Teen-agers think that life is a bowl of cherries and they want to take out as many of them as they can.” he says.
Our younger generation has been described by competent observers as fanatically conformist, lazy, passive and lacking ambition. When he was president of Carleton College in Ottawa, Dr. Claude Bisscll. now president of the University of Toronto, said, “I’m worried because not a single Ottawa resident has written me, complaining of the activities of my students. Maturity is all right — but what 1 fear is premature senility.” It has been estimated that as many as one third of our brightest high-school graduates are failing in university. “Failures are due to a lack of interest and a lack of work — it’s shocking,” says T. H. Matthews, executive Secretary of the National Conference of Universities. The guidance teacher of a large high school told me, “Teen-agers have grown so soft and so fat that they won’t work. They’re satisfied with mediocrity. Unless we can stop this decline, our society will crumble.”
Is this gloomy prediction justified? Seeking an answer to this crucial question, Maclean’s engaged an independent
research organization to poll a scientifically selected sample of five hundred high-school youngsters, between the ages of fifteen and nineteen, living in Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Toronto, London, Montreal and Halifax. After carefully analyzing their feelings and thoughts on vital social, religious, political and economic matters, we assigned a team of ten reporters across the nation to conduct follow-up interviews. Later, we invited several qualified adult Canadians to comment on the results of our survey. (Many of the questions were suggested by the Purdue University National Poll which, for almost twenty years, has been studying the opinions of American adolescents.) Listed below are some of our findings:
An alarmingly high proportion of youth apparently shows little regard for the basic freedoms upon which our democratic system is based.
Almost one half of the teen-agers questioned feel that the police are sometimes right in using the third degree in getting a person to talk.
Almost sixty percent approve of the use of wiretapping as a means of collecting evidence against a person suspected of a crime.
Almost thirty percent are in favor of allowing police to search a person, or his home, without a search warrant.
Some who were questioned, like an 18-year-old boy living in one of Toronto’s better residential districts, were most emphatic in their advocacy of police violence. “If the evidence is incriminating, they should go ahead and use the third degree. Brutality is the only way to get some people to talk. That’s only justice, isn’t it?” A Calgary boy, who has just entered his freshman year at the University of Alberta, can see nothing wrong with recording other people’s telephone conversations without their knowledge. "If it means the capture of a criminal or a spy, who cares how they catch him? Instead of questioning the police methods used, we should be grateful.” In the opinion of the 17-year-old daughter of an Ontario scientist, most people would feel safer if police were allowed to search without a warrant. “If a person isn’t guilty, he shouldn’t worry,” she explains. "1 don’t think it would lead to abuses or loss of liberty. As a British subject. I have faith in authority.” While seven out of ten respondents rejected these views, the existence of a large minority who would deprive a citizen of his privacy is disturbing.
Almost half of the youngsters believe that the government should prohibit people from making speeches which, contain dangerous ideas with which most people disagree.
Even excluding material which is obscene, libelous or reveals military secrets, a significant minority, almost thirty percent, feel that magazines and continued on page 83
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Is our youth equipped to face the future? continued from page 14
“A speaker’s dangerous ideas might influence weak-minded people”
newspapers should not he allowed to print what they want.
Freedom of speech should be curtailed, explained a Montreal youth, because “the speaker’s dangerous ideas might influence weak - minded people and threaten the
community.” A 17-year-old girl, who graduated from high school and is now working for a doctor, was emphatic in her belief that under no circumstances should the press criticize the courts, judges' decisions, the clergy or religion.
The Maclean’s survey contradicts the widespread belief that adolescents are rebellious against authority and bitterly resent restrictions placed on their activities by parents, teachers and others.
Almost ninety percent stated that they
do not feel that their freedom is too limited.
Many shared the view of the 17-yearold Toronto girl, who is preparing for a career in TV. that modern parents weren’t strict enough. “My kids won't be allowed to get away with as much as I have,” she said. As confirmation of this sentiment, ninety percent of the poll agreed with the statement that “obedience (Old respect for authority ure the most important virtues that young people should learn.’’
In the field of international affairs, seventy percent of the teen-agers stated that there is nothing they could do, personally, to prevent (mother war. They reflected an attitude of complete resignation. "Nobody is going to pay any attention to me or any other individual unless he happens to be a general or a prime minister or somebody like that,” said a western boy. A Halifax youth suggested. “About the only thing I can do is fight if a war does come.” Surprisingly, youth evidently does not share mankind’s terror of an atomic war. Fifty percent agree with the statement that "we should support a surprise attack on the enemy at a time convenient to ourselves." As one lad put it, “If you don’t get them, they’ll get you. So why wait?”
More than forty percent feel that most people arc not capable of determining wliut is and what is not good for them. Certain phrases, used repeatedly, indicated a strong distrust of the good sense of the public. “People go along with the mob” . . . “Most people haven't any common sense” . . . “Most of us only think we know what’s good for us” . . . “The average person is hazy about politics and world affairs.” Upon discovering that U. S. youth held similar views, Dr. H. H. Remmers, originator of the Purdue National Poll, commented, “When nearly half our teen-agers feel that the people are incapable of making wise decisions, we have a massive and frightening rejection of the basic theory of democratic government.”
Maclean’s findings suggest that nonconformity and individuality are scorned and feared by present-day youth. Almost half the teen-agers say that "there is nothing worse than being considered an oddball by other people.’’
Of this group, only a few were careful to specify that being considered a cheat, a liar or a thief might be worse. The majority evidently shared the feelings of a Vancouver 16-year-old who exclaimed. “Being considered an oddball is the worst thing that can happen to you. It's worse than death!” Some descriptions of oddballs: “This guy had ideas which were too different and too deep; therefore he was a bore and everyone shunned him” . . . “Oddballs are vulgar people” . . . “This girl won all the medals and never got less than ninety. She was an outcast.”
Our survey disclosed that present-day youth prizes certainty and security in jobs even more than they do in social relationships. Almost two thirds of youth said that they would prefer a $40-a-week job with small, guaranteed annual raises, to one which is less certain but which starts at $75 a week and could easily pay double within five years.
Judging from our interviews, youngsters are willing to sacrifice interesting and challenging jobs, as well as the opportunity to travel and grow rich, for the sake of a low-paying, routine position which is guaranteed to be permanent. A 17-year-old Regina boy who has just started working in a bank, says, “I know the wages aren't much. I could have worked for an oil company at higher
pay but oil companies sometimes go broke — not banks.”
We asked our cross section of youth for their views on French-English relations since Canada’s future strength will partly depend on the degree of understanding between the two major language groups.
Eighty percent feel that relations between the two groups are steadily improving.
Sixty-five percent arc firmly opposed to the separate-school system. If the Catholic portion of the sample were excluded, opposition to separate schools by nonCatholic youth would be an estimated eighty percent.
A sizable minority, almost thirty percent. are opposed to Canada having two officiai languages. This, despite the fact that the English and French languages were given equal status in the British North America Act. almost one hundred years ago.
The opposition to the separate-school system seems to stem from the conviction that dual education is a divisive factor in Canadian life, “it's as bad as the segregation in the deep south,” explained an Alberta boy. “The separate schools foster suspicion and resentment.” The existence of two official languages was attacked by a minority group for the same reason. “If you don’t understand another person’s language you don't trust him,” explained one youth. “That’s why we feel closer to the Americans than we do to the French Canadians.”
How important a role does religious faith play in the life of the 1959 teenager? More than sixty percent declare that they are ‘'concerned about religions faith.”
“Scientists are creepy”
Further questions and interviews, however, cast some doubt on the depth and importance of this concern. ("Me and my buddy have pretty well torn religion apart. Maybe there’s something behind it” . . . “It’s hard to go to church and absorb all that jazz” ... “1 don’t go to church very often but I believe everyone should have a faith” . . . “I’m concerned but I don’t worry about it. If you do. you can become a fanatic. 1 don't think that there's much chance that I’ll become an atheist.”) Only four out of ten youngsters agree with the statement that “religious faith is better than logic in solving life’s important problems.”
(The teen-agers were given a list and asked, “Which one group can do the most to promote world peace?” Educators headed the poll, with double the votes given to religious leaders, who were in second place. Politicians placed a poor third, and seemed to be in disrepute with youngsters. “They’re too concerned about themselves and votes to be worried about the world,” was a typical reply. Statesmen and Scientists made a poor showing and were labeled as “a creepy lot," “atheistic,” “irresponsible” and “harmful.' Least popular were military leaders, who, according to one boy, “don’t think of people as flesh and blood. They want to destroy society. We shouldn’t put our future in their hands.”)
All of this suggests that modern youth is passive in his religious life and that his oral acceptance of religious faith may be largely another indication of conforming behavior. After an exhaustive study of the religious beliefs and attitudes of ten thousand young Americans, Dr. Murray Ross, vice-president of the University of Toronto, asks: “Is religion and faith in God real to modern youth or do they merely consider them as part of a
way of life and essential to success. Are they vague symbols merely accepted?” The information gathered in the Maclean’s survey prompts the same questions to be asked about Canadian youth.
I he reporters who interviewed teenagers across the nation noted that some youngsters didn’t know that iron and steel were basic industries, or the meaning of the terms “‘public ownership” and "third degree.” A London boy strongly approved of the third degree but added. “I wouldn’t go so far as to make it legal.” A Toronto youth thought police should
use lie detectors on suspects instead of brawn, "although Lve heard those machines don’t work on Indians.” Another lad strongly defended the right to search a private home without a warrant because "we believe in individual freedom in this country and you’ve got to stop the enemies of freedom no matter how you do it.” A Calgary teen-ager regarded it as improper for a voter to write his M.P., acquainting him with his views on a matter under public discussion. "That might make him biased,” he explained. "Besides—a member of parlia-
ment shouldn’t have to rely on letters from voters to find out what’s going on.” A hoy in Ontario advocated the banishing of French as an official language because the British conquered the French and "after all these generations it’s time the French adopted Canadian ways.” In discussing religion, one boy said, “I don’t worry about religion. I’m a Protestant.” Several youngsters were remarkably inconsistent—like the girl who suggested that the individual could make a contribution to world peace by treating people of all races and religions alike,
and a few minutes later vigorously opposed the entry of all Asians and colored people into Canada. She also complained that "you can’t walk down the street anymore because the street is so crowded with immigrants, all speaking different languages.” A Vancouverite, who approved of the third degree, strongly denounced wiretapping. “That’s actually crooked,” he said. “It’s doing things undercover.”
It was not these interesting sidelights but the main conclusions of the survey that Maclean’s discussed with various adults who have long dealt with youth. Les Vipond, general secretary, Canadian YMCA, found parts of our findings “alarming” because of “the feeling one gets that here is a fertile‘seed bed for fascism.” But he is optimistic about the future because, he feels, the future leaders will spring from the ranks of liberal, progressive youth—and there are many of them. According to J. M. C. Duckworth, YMCA, Halifax, “the survey, if accurate, strikes a doleful note for outlook of democracy. Our society must be more authoritarian than democratic when it produces youth with such ideas.” Professor Maurice Chagnon, assistant principal of the school of psychology and education, University of Ottawa, observes, “The youngsters of today have so many conflicting values offered to them that they find it hard to make up their minds. They do not know how to form opinions and resignedly wait for life to do it for them.” Father Kenny, of the Catholic Information Centre, 7’oronto, says, “Many youngsters today form decisions and come to conclusions without too much thought or discussion.” Dr. Stuart Rosenberg, of Toronto’s Beth Tzedec congregation, says that “what is most frightening and serious is the inescapable conclusion that these attitudes reflect the mood and thinking of adults.” Sybil Ross, Montreal Council of Social Agencies, flatly states, “I don’t think these things are true of young people.” Don Leyden, program director, Logan Neighborhood House, Winnipeg, observes, “The survey reflects the pseudoromantic youth talking. They don’t favor violation of personal freedom when it happens to them, personally. At juvenile court, youngsters get really angry if a policeman lays a hand on them.” The Rev. C. R. Feilding, a dean of Trinity College, University of Toronto, regards youth’s penchant for violence as unsurprising since these things are common in books, movies and TV programs. “What is indicated,” he .says, “is that youth needs help in forming critical judgments.” A more optimistic note was sounded by the director of the Vancouver Boys Clubs Association, Robert Smith. "I'm more
pleased than alarmed by the results of the survey,” he said.
Smith feels that youth’s approval of such things as the third degree and wiretapping is motivated by their acute sense of fairness and their determination to punish anyone who violates their ideals. “Their approach is a pragmatic one,” he says. “Unlike adults, they don’t consider the broader issues. They want to whip the wrongdoer into line as quickly as possible. All they want is results—the methods are secondary.” Robert Soley, of the Calgary YMCA, shares these views and adds, “Generally you’ll find that youth only justifies the use of these extreme methods in particular cases and, even then, will qualify the extent to which they should be used.”
Our scores of interviews tended to confirm these observations. A 16-year-old Regina boy feels that “at present the laws are written to favor the individual and hinder the police in their attempts to gather evidence. Justice might triumph more often if the police had the power to use a little third degree.” One of his classmates asks, "Look at it this way — which is better, to be threatened by a bloodthirsty criminal at large or to allow police to use the necessary methods to convict him?” A 15-year-old London boy, who hopes to be a scientist, feels that “if the crime is serious enough, like murder, it would only be fair to the victim’s relatives to use the third degree.” A degree of compassion crept into the views of several of the strongest advocates of police violence, like the highschool senior who said, “I think police should Jimit themselves to mild torture —like not letting a person sleep until he talks. Things that will break you down after a while but can’t hurt you too much. They shouldn’t try to break your arm or anything.”
No mavericks left
Similarly, other violations of individual freedom were justified by a concern for justice and the common welfare. A western boy explains, “l say it’s okay to use wiretapping if it will capture a traitorous spy. It's to the benefit of seventeen million people to have this fellow locked up in jail.” Giving religious bigots the opportunity to speak freely is taking a chance, says a Toronto girl. “They might build up a following and you'll end up with something like the Ku-KluxKlan. Don’t forget—Hitler was a pretty good talker.” In the opinion of a Calgary youth, “the majority of people are only average and can be easily swayed in their thinking by a clever orator. If someone got up and said we should march on to Ottawa and overthrow the government, a lot of people would be inclined to follow. This would be dangerous to all of us.” Dr. Ira Reid, a sociologist at Haverford College, Philadelphia, interprets this apparent willingness to accept an abridgment of liberties in the following terms: “We huddle behind the shelter of conformity and accept the role of citizenship as that of being a loyal person, i.e. one which allows police power to decide where the ways of integrity lie.”
Despite the good intentions of youth, these attitudes appear to be fraught with danger. As the Canadian Youth Commission pointed out in its final report ten years ago, the future of democracy is in jeopardy if entire generations grow up unaware of the importance of the basic freedoms and unwilling to struggle for them. The commission argued that it was “urgent” to embark on programs which would teach young people
the responsibilities of citizenship. “Sheer inertia,” stated the report, “can lead to destruction.” The authors were mindful of an observation made by Benjamin Franklin, two hundred years ago: They who give up their essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety.”
The fact that modern youth is in search of “a little temporary safety" is well known to the adults who commented on the findings of the survey. “Youth is conformist and security-conscious,” says Vernon Trott, psychologist, Forest Hill
Board of Education. “There are no mavericks left. Everybody wants to be like everybody else.” An Anglican churchman reports that he can’t discuss church matters with one of the most active members of his church youth group if the young man happens to be with a group of his school friends at the time. “He doesn’t want them to find out that he's interested in religious matters. It might mark him as being different.”
In his book. The Lonely Crowd, the American social scientist Dr. David Riesman states, with some alarm, that
youth has an “other-directed” personality. This term, which was coined by Riesman, refers to an individual who is sensitive to the acts and wishes of others and moves in the direction they want him to. “Such people,” says Riesman, “feel themselves powerless. They regard themselves as safe only when performing a ritual in approving company.”
The Maclean's survey suggests that "other-directedness” is characteristic of a large segment of Canadian youth. Almost half of the youngsters questioned were in agreement with each of the fol-
“I hate going to those ‘fun’ nights with the gang because they’re no dam fun; but I don’t say so
lowing two statements: “I feel greatly upset if the group does not approve of me” and “There is nothing worse than being considered an oddball by other people.”
The individual replies reflect youth's great yearning to belong. A 17-year-old Winnipeg boy, who is an all-round athlete, says, “The group pretty well runs the show and if you don't go along with
it you’re pretty well left out of things. It hurts to be left out. You need the feeling of belonging to people.” Evidently a lot of youngsters value group membership so highly, they go along with their activities even though they don't like them. "I hate going to those ‘fun nights' with the gang because they're no darn fun,” says a London boy. “But I keep the feeling to myself or else I
might get kicked out of the gang. If I could get this off my chest I'd feel better.” A girl in Vancouver says, “If the gang suggests u'e go somewhere and you disagree they look at you, shocked, and then you’re out.” A 16-year-old Calgary youth complained, “I do what the others do even though I resent it much of the time.” Being dropped by the gang was variously described as “being locked out,”
“a sick feeling,” “being an outcas “like losing your best buddy.”
Evidently, judging from the respom of the teen-agers in our survey, the oi thing worse than being excluded by I gang is to be thought an “oddball.” Tr, oddball in modern teen-age circles en joys the same unhappy status as that of a particularly loathsome leper in the society of the middle ages. A 16-yearold Vancouverite explained, “It’s sure bad. being considered an oddball. It puts your whole attitude off. It might even ruin your life. Suppose you walk down the street and some guy says, ‘There goes an oddball,’ and you hear it. You might think, ‘I’m an oddball and good for nothing.’ So you might end up a bum.” Our informants listed as oddballs “guys with black jackets and funny haircuts,” “lonely people,” “hoods” and “queer thinkers.” They also included “a fellow with different ideas,” “a deep thinker,” “a guy who liked symphonies better than rock ’n’ roll” and “a girl who won all the class medals for top marks.”
What accounts for this almost neurotic fear of disapproval and this extraordinary conservatism? “Our youngsters have been brought up in contact with things like collective bargaining, planned communities, planned recreation and cooperative movements,” explains Robert Soley, of Calgary. “They want to progress with the group, rather than alone. It’s the vogue of the age.” The importance of brains, talent and contemplation have been downgraded and parents may be partly to blame. "The boy who like to read, play a violin or lie on his bao j and look at the stars is an oddball to his buddies and a psychological problem to his parents,” says J. D. Pearse, oi the Ottawa YMCA. Our powerful mass media are exerting a standardizing pressure on everyone—especially impressionable youth. Born and reared in the ed emotional climate of wars and the threa of wars, teen-agers want their lives as unruffled as possible. Even if they were inclined to strike out on their own, the prosperity cycle has left them inexperienced in struggling or taking risks.
Dr. Murray Ross of the University of Toronto suggests that the trend to big organizations—in government, industry, education and leisure—tends to cast all youth in the same mold. “In the big corporation everything has to run smoothly.” says Ross. “Fathers frequently warn their sons that they'll never get ahead if they dissent.” In the face of all the gargantuan forces in modern life, the individual man feels small, powerless and isolated. "We conform,” a Toronto audience was recently told by Dr. Eric Fromm, the American psychoanalyst, “because we are deeply afraid of being alone, afraid of losing our identity. We follow with one idea—staying together, never being separated, never being alone.”
Parents who are lax with their teenage children may be surprised to learn that the youngsters don’t appreciate their leniency; they are more likely to resent it. The replies Maclean’s received indicate that teen-agers are frightened by too much freedom—they don't know how to handle it. An attractive 17-year-old Toronto girl, for example, said, "I wouldn't like it if my parents didn't keep tabs on the hours I keep and the fellows I go out with. Parents who don't tell their children what’s good for them aren't good parents. It shows that they're not interested.” A 16-year-old boy said,
can't do everything I want, but neither anybody else in this world. 1 don't ^ I hamstrung.” A 17-year-old Vancou; r girl stated that you can always spot .e kids who had parents who let them in wild. “They’re rude to everyone, ley’re a problem at school and they’re (aded for trouble.” The son of a Lonjn doctor voiced a sentiment which was ¡epeated by a surprisingly large number .of the youngsters: “My freedom isn't limited enough and that's true of most teen-agers. At home my parents are too lenient.”
The youngsters expressed an overwhelming conviction about the importance of acquiring the virtues of obedience and respect for authority. “It doesn't pay off if you don't respect authority,” declared a 17-year-old Calgary boy who hopes to be an architect. “You go to a job and you don't know how to take orders from a foreman. So you argue and the first thing you know, you’re fired.” Referring to juvenile delinquents, one youth explained, "Most of them are in trouble today because they don't look up to anybody and they wouldn't listen to anybody. They've disrupted their whole lives because of this."
With a few exceptions, the general reactions were similar to our question: "Have you ever worried about the amount of authority the government has over your personal liberty?” Reaction ranged from indifference to satisfaction with conditions as they are. “What's there to worry about?” asked a 16-year-old Vancouver boy. “They give us quite a bit of liberty. I live a normal life. I'm having fun. If they put out curfews or anything like that it might worry me, but they .don’t, so everything’s fine." A 16-year-old ..Winnipeg lad said he couldn't answer ouiquestion "because 1 don't know how much authority the government has over j me,” while a 15-year-old Vancouverite replied, "I don’t have a say in government because I'm still voteless so I'm not worried about government authority.” Robert Smith, of the Vancouver ,ioya Clubs Association, regards this reaction as normal. “Most teen - agers have little experience with government," he says. “In their view, the government hardly touches on their lives at all. But what would happen, if the government were to enact a law conscripting all 17and 18-year-olds? Then they'd sit up and take notice!”
The teen-agers' predilection for obedience and authority was commented on by a number of the expert observers whom Maclean's consulted. "Their attitude is a healthy one,” said Father C. Mulvihill, Catholic Family Services, Toronto. “They seem to understand the need for guidance in growing up.“ Jack Byles, University of Toronto School of Social Work, feels that it may reflect a yearning for authority because it is presently lacking in their lives. "The youngster with too much freedom suffers from anxiety,” says Byles. Dr. Murray Ross fears the possibility that youth will become too enthusiastic in its desire for authority. “It can be dangerous,” he warns. This possibility is recognized by Sybil Ross. Montreal Council of Social Agencies, who says, "How easy it is foi-
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youth to stay on the beaten path. This has been bothering social workers. Recreation agencies have been trying to devise ways of helping young people become more individualistic without being rebellious.”
For purposes of comparison, Maclean's posed the questions relating to EnglishFrench relations to a large sample of Catholic, French-speaking youngsters attending a well-known Montreal high school. (The main survey was largely limited to youth w'ho had knowledge of English.) The results are as follows:
More French than English thought that Canada should have two official languages (90% compared with 70%); more French than English wanted their children brought up speaking the two languages (98%, 85%); more French than English felt that relations between the two races were improving (92%, 77%). However, the two groups clashed head on in answering the question: "Which group do you think is doing the most to stimulate national unity—English or French?” Not counting the abstainers, the French felt that the French were making the greatest effort (75%), while the English were convinced that the English were doing the most (80%).
In support of the English, a Montreal girl said, “The majority of English are pretty easy-going; I know a lot of French people and they’re pretty stubborn and prejudiced.” According to a boy in Halifax, “The English are trying hard to understand the people from Quebec and that’s not easy; they’re different than we are and think in a different way. 1 don’t think the French are killing themselves to understand us.”
An opposing view was expressed by a 17-year-old Montreal youth. “The English arc too smug to exert themselves to get along with the French. They know that their language is spoken pretty well all over the world so they won’t learn French. On the other hand, look at all the Frenchmen who speak English." Another youngster added, “The French are a minority and — like the Jews — they try hard to make themselves liked. They try to remain friendly even though they’re always under fire from the English.”
Some of Maclean’s reporters thought that the English teen-ager’s attitude toward Quebec may be greatly influenced by his marks in high-school French. One of the most vociferous critics of French Canada was a 17-year-old Ontario girl. She felt the French were “un-Canadian in their thinking.” Our reporter asked, “I suppose you get pretty poor marks in French?” He was dead right. “It’s my worst subject,” she replied.
In spite of a number of apparently disturbing findings in the Maclean’s survey, the people who work at closest range with youth are the most optimistic about their capabilities as the future guardians of Canada. Perhaps their point of view was best summarized by Robert Smith, executive director, Vancouver Boys Clubs Association:
“I’m not one of those who think that youth has gone all to hell. I think their instincts are generally healthy and wholesome. Their respect for authority and their choice of educators and religious leaders as the men who can lead us to peace all indicate a good approach to life. The survey reflects that the prime influences on young people are still the home, the school and the church.
“All of this poses a challenge to adults — parents, teachers, clergy and youth workers. Our responsibility is to help develop all of these positive characteristics and help correct those that are not good and worthwhile.” ★