Ask a Canadian and an American if tomorrow will be sunny. The American "believes" it will be. The Canadian doesn't know, because s/he's "being realistic." They'd go on to say that the American is just "being a typical American" thinking happy thoughts. What can I say? Canadians just don't believe in the power of positive thinking. Or much else for that matter.
Cynics? Oh yeah! Canadians and Americans fundamentally look at life differently, and that's been going on since way before healthcare. On New Year's eve, Americans look forward to the sure-to-be-wonderful new year while Canadians celebrate that they made it through the old one! Cynicism bordering on pessimism is in Canada's DNA, same as positive thinking is in the US' DNA. Yes, I'm painting with an overly broad brush here, but to make a point.
Science may require some belief, too, but it sure feels less like of a stretch than religion.
Oh, and most Canadians are well aware that as recently as the early 60's they were historically oppressed and kept in "the great darkness" by an unholy cabal of church and semi-totalitarian state. That's enough to make a hard-ass "realist" of anyone.