Explaining Canada-US Differences in Attitudes Toward Crime and Justice: An Empirical Test of S.M. Lipset’s Account

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Explaining Canada-US Differences in Attitudes Toward Crime and Justice: An Empirical Test of S.M. Lipset’s Account

Category: Crime, International|Journal: American Review of Canadian Studies (full text)|Author: D Aheer, K Samra, L Pilkey, M Eagles, N Baxter-Moore, R Maxwell|Year: 2017

Despite cultural similarities between Canada and the United States, some observers contend that significant differences remain in attitudes and values between the two countries. For example, Lipset has observed that “efforts to distinguish Canada and the United States almost invariably point to the greater respect for law and order and those who uphold it north of the border”. Lipset’s argument is that Canadian values are based on the nation’s founding principles of “Peace, Order and Good Government” while American values stem from the country’s revolutionary origins and are based on the values of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.” We test Lipset’s observations, and those of some of his critics, using parallel surveys administered to university students in two institutions on either side of the Canada–US border. This is a very demanding test of his arguments so the supportive evidence we uncover for his arguments is significant.

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