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What is the American’s perception of Canada?
Posted: 11 August 2012 08:03 AM   [ Ignore ]
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As a Canadian, although I’m aware of our own system of laws and constitutions, I am aware of the American’s as well as British and tidbits of other nations around the world. Most non-Americans recognize that Americans tend to be only aware of their own systems, geographies, laws, and history. Are we a democracy? What makes us different from you, if you think there is one? (Are there stereo-types?) And do you think that we are doing somethings right or wrong politically?

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Posted: 11 August 2012 08:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Canada is the missing link between U.S. and Europe.  grin

And I find that the American democrats don’t really differ much from a typical Canadian or a European. It is the republicans that seem to be a group of their own.

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Posted: 11 August 2012 09:50 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Honestly, I don’t think most Americans think much about Canada; indeed, like you suggest, most Americans don’t really think very much about the rest of the world, except in terms of ‘enemies’, of which Canada isn’t one.

Stereotypes of Canada: cold; ice hockey, beer, maple syrup, Mounties; those who know a little more will know that many of the most famous “American” humorists come from Canada. I think most Americans who think about it at all basically think of Canada fondly, sort of like a little brother. Some think of it like a 51st state, or maybe 52nd after Puerto Rico.

I’ve traveled in Canada a few times and agree with George: culturally it seems to me very, very close to the northern (or western) US.

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Posted: 11 August 2012 10:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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First, I work hard to avoid using the generic “America” for the United States of America just as I avoid the masculine pronoun for the generic person.  Canada, Mexico, and the other centeral American countries are also equal parts of North America.

I also agree with George and Doug in that on most of my trips to Canada there appeared to be little or no difference between the people there and most of the U.S.  Of course, the citizens of Montreal drive completely insanely, which may lend credence to George’s genetic argument since my first wife said they drive just like me, and two of my grandparents were born there.  smile

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Posted: 11 August 2012 10:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam. - 11 August 2012 10:32 AM

First, I work hard to avoid using the generic “America” for the United States of America just as I avoid the masculine pronoun for the generic person.  Canada, Mexico, and the other centeral American countries are also equal parts of North America.

Yeah, I thought about that, too, but given the thread’s title I let is slide. It’s tough, since apparently Mexico is also known as the “United States (of Mexico)”. I guess we’re stuck with “the USA”, but that seems so cumbersome ...

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Posted: 11 August 2012 11:40 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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As far as I know, it is not unusual at all for Europeans to refer to the U.S. as “America.” I don’t think I have ever heard a Canadian or a person from Central or South America to use that label, though. Kinda makes sense, I guess.

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Posted: 11 August 2012 12:33 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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I was a military brat and so we traveled a lot as kids. For three years, my dad was stationed in Washington D.C. at the Canadian embassy. We lived in a suburb…Annindale, Virginia. I remember that I didn’t know the meaning of differences between countries or anything like that and so being in America didn’t make any rational distinction in my mind. Me and my twin brother went to grades one, two and three there, so basically, our first real learning was American. I remembered how these girls in my grade two class were trying to make sense of me coming from Canada and yet NOT living in an igloo! Stereo types have evolved more since then.

There is a tendency in our country to attempt to encourage some of the stereotypes that you guys so far mentioned. Unfortunately, it is an attempt to grab at some identity rather than nothing at all. Unlike you guys, most of us lack a nationalistic belief in our country. Our history and politics are quite embarrassing in my opinion and I am skeptical of a certain positive future for us politically and economically. We do a lot of contradictory things that appear like good things but are either bad or will eventually become bad. So the images that the rest of the world has of us is misleading and nobody, even our own people, aren’t paying attention. (We’ve all got our eyes focused on you as much as you do of yourselves.)

Here are some facts:

Although Canada acts as a representative democracy, in official legality, we are a Constitutional Monarchy. We Canadians are obligated to the orders of the royalty of England, at present, the Queen. Legally, if she wanted to, she can choose to block any law that we propose, for instance. You guys vote your president in to be not only a politician, but a personality that the royalty, or sovereign, represents. So you vote on him or her uniquely. We on the other hand, don’t actually vote for our leader directly. Instead, we vote for our regular legislative house as you would your regular house of representatives. Whichever party holds the majority or plurality of seats in the house, gets to allow their party president become the prime(first and foremost)minister [ministers are minors to the king or queen]. They do not get a separate vote on all laws like your president and are equal to every other minister. They just get to create a cabinet, as the president does, which then controls all the other federal government offices.

The history of us is based on England and France’s colonial failures to secure the prized lands of what is now America. For all intensive purposes, all Canada was originally was just an English post, called York (thus naming New York) in the colony of Ontario, and one or two in a French colony, called Quebec. Basically, they were entrance posts that first, the French, and then the English, settled going down the St. Lawrence in the search of the middle of the continent. The French continued through the continent to the Mississippi all the way down to New Orleans claiming land all the way through. Since the English were late, they colonized the coast even subordinating the Dutch that were already present in places like New York.
    The wisdom of the Enlightenment hit us and the majority of settlers everywhere got sick of the controls of a distant monarchy limiting the successes of the American colonies and weakening them. Thus, The United States came to be. The loyalists to the British monarchy were either killed or had to run somewhere…but where? North, to Ontario, of course. Now you guys know that France was having their own political turmoils there and they admired the concept of Republicanism too. So they supported you. The traditional Catholic French colony of the Quebec posts were abandoned by their home country since they supported the old monarchical regime. Another disenfranchised group at the time were the native Indians whose lands were being claimed on them. The remnants of loyalists in Ontario negotiated with the French in Quebec to act as a unit, a ‘dominion’, that along with the local natives, enabled them to stave off the Americans from completed eliminating a place for them on the continent.
  Thus Canada was formed, in my opinion, as a defensive agreement or union merely to save the asses of aristocratic, monarchical mindsets that were totally non-democratic, conservative, and religious. To this day, we are bound to agreements that these groups of people made in perpetuity to themselves without the concern of posterity.

We have a constitution that was only made officially in 1982 by the majority government in power that entrenched us a contractual obligation to uphold, maintain, and secure the original peoples at formation, gives consolation or pretense of freedoms to others, but then has a final clause that enables the government to cancel any of those rights for a term that can be continuously renewed! In other words, it’s useless.

We have something called, “Multiculturalism”. Be warned: this is a trademarked term and is meant to seem warm, fuzzy, and open-minded. And we are told that we all believe it! Having any controversy with it is tantamount to admitting that you’re a Nazi! And we, unlike you guys, can and do get charged by the government for speaking such opinions. Multiculturalism is sold rhetorically as and acceptance of ‘diversity’ of different cultures, religions, their views, and politics. It is actually a political means by which particular established pluralities that struggle with each other can at least maintain their status qua by giving sufficient select groups legal unique rights and laws that won’t interfere in their own, give themselves the same justification to move on, and alleviate the burdens of any of their own particular ancestral debts to the public at large.

Our geography isolates us severely in pockets. It’s like the Greek city-states of ancient times. They had different individual beliefs and ways of life because they were physically isolated by mountains that kept each more to themselves. We’re always growing more diverse as we continue to have an extremely open and high rate of immigration. Many people from other countries like the idea of coming to a country where they are allowed to restrict their communities and enable them to have their own cultural and religious laws respected. But we are divided east-to-west and our lesser populated areas get dominated in general areas where they are somewhat very inappropriate. For example, the historical and political concern to placate the French Quebec people resulted in creating the constitutional law that the whole country must be bilingual. But Quebec is one of the eastern-most provinces in Canada and represents hardly any sufficient numbers of people anywhere else in the country. In fact, besides English, French would be a minority among minorities of languages anywhere else. But because of this constitutional law, many government job positions anywhere in Canada require by law you to speak both languages—even if 0% of your province’s population speak it!

Oh yah, and I hate hockey!

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Posted: 11 August 2012 01:54 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Canada - isn’t that where everyone has a separated top and bottom half of their heads and people say ‘ay’ a lot?

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Posted: 11 August 2012 03:06 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I like Canada.  I’ve been to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Regina Sask. and a few other points in between.  I’ve hung out with a good number of Canadians and became good friends with them.  I don’t like any cheesy, fake animosity that many Americans display towaards Canada.  This is done in the spirit which Doug described, a kind of oafish American superiority.
That being said I am exposed to Canadians and Canadian media to an extent and for years I have noticed a kind of inferiority complex in many of Canadas cultural outlets. Alot of it is nationalism(which I applaud) but some of it is definitely over-compensation for being in the shadow of an Economic-Cultural juggernaut. Canada’s rule on native artist airplay percentage on their radio is one example.
I’m glad Canada is our friend and neighbor.

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Posted: 11 August 2012 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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VYAZMA - 11 August 2012 03:06 PM

I like Canada.  I’ve been to Toronto, Niagara Falls, Regina Sask. and a few other points in between.  I’ve hung out with a good number of Canadians and became good friends with them.  I don’t like any cheesy, fake animosity that many Americans display towaards Canada.  This is done in the spirit which Doug described, a kind of oafish American superiority.
That being said I am exposed to Canadians and Canadian media to an extent and for years I have noticed a kind of inferiority complex in many of Canadas cultural outlets. Alot of it is nationalism(which I applaud) but some of it is definitely over-compensation for being in the shadow of an Economic-Cultural juggernaut. Canada’s rule on native artist airplay percentage on their radio is one example.
I’m glad Canada is our friend and neighbor.

I was born in Regina. I’m in Saskatoon now. I’m not aware of the native artist airplay concern you’re referring to. Is it a complaint about too much or too little? Is it public radio—CBC? or general airplay?

As to the inferiority complex, I mention some explanations above that detail the setup of our nation that keeps us from having a unique identity and our lack of nationalism and pride. Many particular groups are proud in respect of the rights they receive. But it’s usually with the wrong assumption that every individual belongs to a culturally connected group that is assured to get favored in their best interests. Our system is intrinsically against the American first Amendment:

The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering with the right to peaceably assemble or prohibiting the petitioning for a governmental redress of grievances.

This is our preamble to the Charter of Rights section of the Constitution:

Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law:

These are our fundamental rights:

Guarantee of Rights and Freedoms

1. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.
Fundamental Freedoms
Marginal note:Fundamental freedoms

2. Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  (a) freedom of conscience and religion;

  (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

  (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and

  (d) freedom of association.

One major issue is these ones:

Equality Rights

Marginal note:Equality before and under law and equal protection and benefit of law

  15. (1) Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

  Marginal note:Affirmative action programs

  (2) Subsection (1) does not preclude any law, program or activity that has as its object the amelioration of conditions of disadvantaged individuals or groups including those that are disadvantaged because of race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability. (84)

I, and most Americans would agree, have a problem with the affirmative action exceptions to include those to be made for ameliorations based on anything other than the physiological aspects or those affecting equalities of opportunity or right (to varying different degrees amongst different people). But assuming race (rather than a genetic disposition, say) or religion is of people requiring protection or preservation segregates and differentiates people unfairly. Our laws enable the communal tax dollars to support religious and racial belief systems that are not accountable to the rest of society and could be hazardous. It strengthens the ethnic nationalities but weakens the nation’s nationality as a whole. And if you’re classed racially as belonging to the groups that caused historical grievances or is assumed to belong to a particular economic class, you inherit disadvantages by default if you don’t fit in with your assumed group’s expectations. You have a harder time being an individual outside of what is expected of you. Laws should not encourage this. So I prefer the American setup better.

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Posted: 11 August 2012 04:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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Great question! I’ve secretly wanted to talk about this.

I’ve never been to Canada before; but I’ve met some Canadians, and to be honest I didn’t like them.

Of course, I can’t judge a nation by a few individuals.

Your comments about muticulturalism, and geography dividing you into something like “Greek city states” are very interesting. FWIW, the forced muticulturalism attitude is something I’ve wondered about, especially since compared to the US, Canada is not that multicultural at all. (We know multicultural means multiracial.)


Kids In The Hall is very funny though, and it’s cool and weird that you sell milk in bags!

[ Edited: 11 August 2012 04:43 PM by mid atlantic ]
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Posted: 11 August 2012 04:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Quoting M-A: 

I’ve met some Canadians, and to be honest I didn’t like them.

Nah, Mid, that doesn’t prove anything.  You just don’t like most people no matter where they’re from.  LOL  LOL  LOL

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Posted: 12 August 2012 04:16 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Scott, don’t Canadian radio stations have to play a certain percentage of Canadian born artists by law?  I’m pretty sure they did. Maybe I’m wrong.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 03:16 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Occam. - 11 August 2012 04:53 PM

Quoting M-A: 

I’ve met some Canadians, and to be honest I didn’t like them.

Nah, Mid, that doesn’t prove anything.  You just don’t like most people no matter where they’re from.  LOL  LOL  LOL

Occam

Yes, very true.

These few people however, did fulfill the stereotype of Canadians as smug, prissy wimps.

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Posted: 13 August 2012 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Maybe the smug, prissy ones go to the east coast, because I’ve never met one that fits those words on the west coast.  Neither my wife nor a woman I had a prior relationship with were smug or prissy, rather they were intelligent, witty, caring, gentle, and open. 

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Posted: 14 August 2012 12:23 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Everybody varies here as anywhere else. I don’t like how our system is set up and its laws, like the constitution, etcetera, but the people are as good as anywhere else in the world, including the United States. I might fit some stereotypes of Canadians (my top half of my head sometimes seems to separate from the bottom half!), but don’t let me be a representative of a good Canadian. Here, I might appear arrogant, argumentative, and cynical. Most people here, as there, wouldn’t waste their time on a site like this unless we’re talking sex, drugs, or music.

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