May 09, 2005
Same tree, different branch
The Globe and Mail published the results of a poll today proclaiming the downfall of the relationship between Canadians and Americans.

While the poll results show that only 53% of Canadians consider the US it's closest ally, the questions regarding how certain social issues show a much closer bond.
Despite some high-profile disagreements on issues such as the war, softwood lumber duties and missile defence, "there are more differences within the countries than between the countries," he said.
With the exception of the blogosphere, I find most of the people I talk to don't spend a lot of time to understand these issues. Softwood lumber? I would bet the average person couldn't even tell you what the real issue was. Military issues aren't well understood, as we have such a small military now that many people don't have an invested interest nor know anyone that does. My nephew-in-law this weekend made a comment that he didn't realize that people were still dying in Iraq. Granted, he's not really one that spends a lot of time with current affairs but it surprised me nonetheless.

I find it interesting. While I may have issues with American policies, I have just as many or more critisicms about my own country. And while the issues may be cause for disagreement, I'd like to think on a person-to-person level that these diminish.

A couple weeks ago, I heard a very disturbing story about an American friend's family who decided to move back to the US after a few years in Canada. They had found an undercurrent of unfriendliness in certain Canadians, who felt it was their place to ridicule the family for their homeland's policies. Even more disturbing, one of those people were their son's school teacher who took delight on anti-American sentiments in front of the child. While the parents eventually took the issue up with the school principal, the child was made to feel separate from his schoolmates and somehow different. I still can't understand why this is any different than bullying. The family eventually became disillusioned and decided to return to the US. Frustrating and a story that made me feel embarrassed by my countrymen's actions.

The more I talk to my American friends, the more we all seem to have the same issues. We are annoyed with certain things about our respective countries, and if anything, there is just a large amount of disinformation and misunderstanding between the two places. Todd was surprised to learn this weekend, for example that marijuana was not legal in Canada...he was sure that it was, and that people could get any medication (narcotics) at any pharmacy sans prescription.

Asked whether people from different ethnic backgrounds "would be better off if they became like the majority," nearly half of Canadians -- 44 per cent -- said yes. But only 37 per cent of Americans agreed.

"I think that would stun Canadians," Mr. Giffin said. "They believe themselves to be infinitely more tolerant [than Americans]."

This does surprise me to a degree, but then again, we are hearing more and more racially motivated comments these days. Actions speak louder than words, and I think the fact that Canada's multiracial make-up is different than that which we see in America, we like to think we are more tolerant. However, I'm sad to admit that I've noticed more and more tension than in the past.
more Americans than Canadians agree that their faith determines which political candidate they vote for, a solid majority in both countries -- 76 per cent of Canadians and 62 per cent of Americans -- disagree.
I have always found this interesting - that Americans are so much more concerned about what their leaders believe in spiritually. Personally, I am not concerned that my leader is of a certain faith, but more that he is a fair and just leader who takes my country in a positive direction (and doesn't steal my money while he's doing it, but I digress....)

Just like any family, sometimes I don't agree with my brother, but he's still my brother.

Here's a snippet of some of the questions from the poll but it's well worth the read:

I like and admire Canadians/Americans
How do you view Canada as a force in world
Strong force Weak force Neither
My religious faith often determines which political
leader I vote for.
Agree Disagree
Conviction of possession of marijuana should always
result in a criminal record.
Agree Disagree
If a family member was hospitalized, I would be
worried about how to pay for it.
Agree Disagree
I feel I have the personal freedom to say anything
I want to about the government
Agree Disagree
The government has a responsibility to take care of the
Agree Disagree
The government has a responsibility to take care of the
Agree Disagree
People of different racial and cultural backgrounds would
be better of if they became more like the majority.
Agree Disagree

Vancouver, British Columbia
A patriotic Canadian full of visions of a better Canada, random thoughts and a lot of hot air. Who am I? A struggling writer and photographer, who looks forward to a better Canada. I read. A lot. I learn. A lot. I push myself. A lot. The world is a small place, and getting smaller every day. I'm proud to have friends in every corner of the earth, and abide by the old adage that there are no strangers, only friends we haven't met yet.
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