[This story appeared in the Globe and Mail ("Canada's National Newspaper") on Wednesday, September 11, 1996, written by Ijeoma Ross. CNI News thanks Errol Bruce-Knapp for forwarding this story.]
It could be because a small town in northeastern Alberta is the home of the world's first UFO landing pad, but, whatever the explanation, Albertans are more likely than other Canadians to believe that intelligent life exists elsewhere in the universe, an Angus Reid/Southam News Poll shows.
It could also be the influence of towns such as Vulcan, Alberta, where an eight-meter-long copy of Star Trek's USS Enterprise hovers above town, that makes more Albertans willing to believe that Earth has already been visited by thinking aliens or that such a visit will take place during their lifetimes.
Conducting the poll after the announcement that fossils of primitive microbes were believed to have been found on a meteorite from Mars, the Angus Reid Group found that 70 per cent of Canadians believe it is likely there is intelligent life elsewhere in the universe.
In Alberta, this belief in smart aliens soars to 83 per cent, followed by British Columbia at 74 per cent. Most of the doubters were found in Ontario and the Atlantic region, where only 67 per cent believed.
Angus Reid senior vice-president John Wright said that although he does not know of an earlier poll that asked similar questions, he doubts there was ever a time before now when 70 per cent of Canadians believed in life in outer space.
"There is an entire generation out there that wasn't born when the last man walked on the moon," he said. "For them, (space travel) is a fait accompli."
In the survey, 55 per cent of Canadians said Earth had already been on the travel itinerary of some extraterrestrial and 43 per cent said they expected it would happen during their lifetimes. Fourteen per cent said a visit was very likely.
In Alberta, 67 per cent think a visitation has already taken place and 52 per cent are waiting for it. The disbelievers were in Manitoba and Saskatchewan, considered together for the survey, and Ontario, where only half said aliens had come knocking on Earth's door and 38 per cent said they have the interplanetary welcome mat out.
More men than women, 74 to 67 per cent, believe there are intelligent creatures on another planet, the poll showed.
At least some postsecondary education also predisposed, respondents to agreeing that Earth is not the only planet supporting intelligent life forms. Seventy-two per cent of people with some education after high school thought there was probably life elsewhere while only 62 per cent of those with less than high-school education agreed.
Canadians 55 years and older are much more skeptical about life beyond Earth and any interplanetary visitations.
The survey was done by telephone from August 27 to 30, 1996. By contacting 1,501 people, Angus Reid says the national numbers should be correct within 2.5 percentage points 95 per cent of the time.
The margin of error for the regional samples are greater. For Alberta, the numbers should be accurate within six percentage points, Mr. Wright said.
Original file name: .CNI - Alberta Leads UFO belief
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