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David Suzuki is photographed at Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto in September, 2012. Mr. Suzuki was selected as Canada’s top role model in a new poll. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)
David Suzuki is photographed at Intercontinental Hotel in Toronto in September, 2012. Mr. Suzuki was selected as Canada’s top role model in a new poll. (Kevin Van Paassen/The Globe and Mail)

David Suzuki tops list of most admired Canadians in new poll Add to ...

When it comes to role models, Canadians in Atlantic Canada admire environmentalist David Suzuki, while the folks in British Columbia take inspiration from wheelchair athlete Rick Hansen, according to a new poll.

The survey, which asked about 1,000 Canadians to rank how much they admired a list of 15 high-profile Canadians, shows a wide range of opinions from province to province.

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Mr. Suzuki was the most admired figure on the list of names included in the survey at the national level, getting a positive response from 57 per cent of respondents. His appeal was greatest, at 69 per cent in the East, and lowest, at 42 per cent in Alberta.

Mr. Hansen, who ranked second nationally, had the highest approval rating in his home province of British Columbia, at 76 per cent, and the lowest in Quebec, at just 14 per cent.

There were some notable names absent from the list of 15, drawn up by polling firm Angus Reid, such as astronaut Chris Hadfield, who gained worldwide attention this year with his tweets from outer space.

Angus Reid vice-president Shachi Kurl said there was no “great art or science,” about how names were chosen for the list. Most of the figures, she said, such as the person with the lowest ranking – Senator Mike Duffy, admired by 4 per cent of respondents nationwide – made headlines this summer.

Others are well-known figures such as broadcaster Peter Mansbridge, who took fourth spot. Former federal politician and business leader Belinda Stronach, No. 11, was chosen because the pollster was “looking for some gender balance,” Ms. Kurl said.

Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau ranked highest among the four national party leaders included on the list, placing fifth, with his highest approval rating from Atlantic Canada, 48 per cent. One-quarter of Alberta respondents said they admired Mr. Trudeau.

Prime Minster Stephen Harper placed in the middle of the pack, at seventh spot nationally, fairing best in Saskatchewan and Manitoba, where he was admired by 39 per cent of respondents, and worst in Atlantic Canada with 13 per cent.

Green Party Leader Elizabeth May placed eighth and NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair took the 10th spot in the ranking.

This is the first of what is expected to be a series of surveys, Ms. Kurl said, and names will be added and taken away from the list.

The survey, done between Oct. 9 and 17, has a margin of error of plus or minus three percentage points.

Follow on Twitter: @lizchurchto

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