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February 3rd, 2009
04:26 PM ET

Why Canada is more interesting than it looks

Dave Schechter
CNN Senior National Editor

President Obama's makes his first foreign trip today to Canada.

Americans, can you name the capital of Canada or its Prime Minister? Name three major news stories in Canada. Hockey doesn't count.

Okay, I'll help you out: automobiles, Afghanistan and energy.

Those are important issues in the United States, too, but we'll get back to that in a moment.

Canada is a lot like the United States; except when it's not, and Canadians are a lot like Americans, except when they're not.

For example, take the results of a poll of approximately 1,000 Canadians and 1,000 Americans taken in November by Angus Reid Strategies.

How Canadians see Americans

Patriotic 86%
Opinionated 64%
Materialistic 63%
Enterprising 35%
Courageous 17%

How Americans see Canadians

Polite 50%
Educated 46%
Happy 38%
Patriotic 37%
Thoughtful 33%

Thirty-three percent of Canadians say Americans would be most willing to rescue them if they were stranded on a remote island; 30 percent of Americans say likewise about Canadians if their situations were reversed (Americans and Canadians both thought the next most likely to come to their aid would be citizens of Great Britain or Australia).

On the other hand, only 3 percent of Canadians believe Americans are educated or polite or thoughtful while 11 percent of Americans think Canadians are boring. You read above that 38 percent of Americans think Canadians are happy. Only 2 percent of Canadians think Americans are happy. That might explain why only 58 percent of Canadians want closer ties with America and only 60 percent of Americans want closer ties with Canada.

To answer the questions at the top: Ottawa is the capital and Stephen Harper is Prime Minister (There is a chance of Canada holding parliamentary elections in the near-term, so a new name is possible). Prime Minister Harper previously called the prospect of President Obama's visit "a wonderful gesture and a great sign of re-establishing the strong Canadian-American relations which this country had for many decades."

The Norman Paterson School of International Affairs at Canada's Carleton University has released a report titled "From Correct to Inspired: A Blueprint for Canada-U.S. Engagement."  "What we're taking about is an adult, mature dialogue, free of all of the narcissisms in Canada or the hang-ups in Canada about getting too close to the United States," Derek Burney, a former Canadian Ambassador to the U.S. and a co-chairman of the project that produced the report, told the Calgary Herald.

When they get together, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper have no shortage of issues to discuss.

Start with the automobile industry.

U.S. automakers employ roughly 30,000 workers in Canada (primarily in the province of Ontario) and another 181,000 Canadians work for parts suppliers and some 140,000 at auto dealerships. Auto manufacturing accounts for 12 percent of Canada's gross domestic product and 24 percent of its trade in manufactured goods. Ontario's economy already is suffering because of the shrinking auto sector, but more pain is possible. A report prepared for the Ontario provincial government estimates that Canada nationally could lose 582,000 jobs – in and out of the auto business – in five years if U.S. automakers go out of business.

The Canadian government is putting up $3.3 billion (U.S.) to aid the U.S.-based automakers, added to the $17.4 billion from the U.S. government. But the U.S. taxpayer dollars will be spent to protect American – not Canadian – jobs. It's in the interest of the companies "to say they will be saving U.S. jobs at the expense of overseas jobs, and that means Canada," Gary Chaison, a professor of labor relations at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., told Bloomberg News and then repeated to me. "Canadian plants and autoworkers are going to take a hit on this."

President Obama's trip comes two days after the U.S. government deadline for General Motors to present a restructuring plan and one day before the Canadian government deadline for GM Canada and Chrysler Canada to qualify for its aid.

Next, Canadians are fighting and dying in Afghanistan.

The Canadians have some 2,500 soldiers in southern Afghanistan, based at Kandahar. 108 Canadian troops have died in Afghanistan since 2002, the third highest total in the NATO coalition behind the U.S. (556) and Great Britain (143).

But unlike the trend of war coverage in the U.S., Afghanistan hardly is "out of sight, out of mind" for Canadians.

Canadian combat deaths often are front-page news.

That's not the only difference. The Canadian media often covers the ceremony at Kandahar in Afghanistan as the caskets are placed aboard a plane; the arrival at CFB (Canadian Forces Base) Trenton, where families and hearses wait on the tarmac; the two-hour drive to Toronto and the coroner's office; the ceremony at the individual soldier's home base and sometimes the funerals.

In contrast, Americans see next to nothing of their dead from Iraq and Afghanistan.

U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates paid tribute to the northern neighbors during his last visit to Kandahar. No other country working with the U.S. has "worked harder or sacrificed more than the Canadians," Gates said. "They have been outstanding partners for us, and all I can tell you is ... the longer we can have Canadian soldiers as our partners, the better it is," he said. Just how long that will be is not clear. During the run-up to Canada's legislative elections in October, Prime Minister Harper said his country had not agreed to keep forces in Afghanistan past 2011. The U.S. would welcome an extension, especially as the U.S. itself plans to increase the number of its own forces.

On Afghanistan, the Carleton University report advised: "Obama is committed to strengthening American involvement in what is, in fact, a two-country war – involving the no-man's land that straddles the Afghanistan-Pakistan border. There are no easy answers, but Canada certainly has earned the right in blood and treasure to influence stronger U.S. leadership and to spur a more substantive, more cohesive international effort."

Along with the impact of recession on both countries, the President and the Prime Minister also can talk about the future of the North American Free Trade Agreement, the effects of protectionist trade policies and Canada's role as the leading U.S. trade partner (cross-border trade totaled $700 billion in 2007). The U.S. sends agricultural produce and machinery north, while the Canadians send energy (oil and natural gas) and forestry products south. Canada . . . not Saudi Arabia, not Mexico . . . is the number one exporter of oil to the U.S. and by some estimates, Canada's oil reserves – particularly in the province of Alberta – may be second only to Saudi Arabia's. The Carleton University report cautioned that the "energy cards" Canada holds "are not a weapon to use against the United States but an incentive to work together to find common solutions."

While they're at it, President Obama and Prime Minister Harper might find time to discuss security issues along their 5,522-mile border. "Additionally, it is critical that the two governments find a joint approach to border management in the event of a major terrorist attack in either the United States or Canada. There is no agreed contingency plan to deal with such a crisis. It is essential that Canada engage the United States in a discussion of homeland security concerns and mismatches – from critical infrastructure protection, port management, and transport security to cyber-crime, drugs, and human smuggling – each of which can affect key interests on both sides of the border," the Carleton University report advised.

Environmental issues, including the effects greenhouse gas emissions, impact both countries. There is a need for conversation about how each country regards its rights in the Northwest Passage and seas of the Arctic Circle. On the latter subject, the Carleton University report says: "No one questions Canada's Arctic sovereignty, but there are legitimate concerns about Canada's capacity to exercise stewardship in the region. Given shared interests in responsibly exploiting the energy reserves in the Arctic, Canada and the United States should build on the pragmatic solution they have used to manage the issue of navigation rights through the Northwest Passage. The two countries need to be equally pragmatic on Arctic energy and environment issues and ensure that Russia does not succeed in its grandiose claims over the resources of the Arctic."

The U.S. and Canada share an interest in several major issues. It might be a good idea for Americans to pay attention to affairs north of the border.

And that means more than just hockey.

Go to iReport to tell us what Canadians and Americans think of one another.

Post by:
Filed under: 360° Radar • David Schechter • Raw Politics
soundoff (104 Responses)
  1. Gene Penszynski from Vermont

    The bottom line is that Canada is more SOCIALIST RIGHT NOW than anything any AMERICAN Republican neo-con IDIOT can claim President Obama to be and Canada seems to be doing quite well thank you :-).

    February 19, 2009 at 4:24 pm |
  2. Dina

    I think we could learn some things from Canada's culture.
    As an American, it appears that many Americans are self absorbed and don't care what goes on beyond their state much less another country.

    February 19, 2009 at 4:07 pm |
  3. TS

    "Cindy February 3rd, 2009 9:42 pm ET

    @ Those that want to bad mouth people…..I’ve been to Canada several times so calling someone ignorant just looks bad on you. I have nothing against Canada but was speaking as a whole of the U.S. Most people don’t care what is going on in the next state over much less the next country. Take a chill pill!

    Cindy…Ga."

    Who annointed YOU as the one to speak for all? Free health care!! Free health care!! Free health care!! FREE health care!!

    February 19, 2009 at 3:55 pm |
  4. Valerie from Alberta

    Polite doesn't mean bland, but frankly, lots of Canadians don't care that most of our neighbours to the south don't know much about us.

    But, while geographically Canada is second in size only to Russia, we have one tenth of the population of the United States. One of the important facts that should be known isn't just the number of Canadians serving as part of the International Security Assistance Force in Afghanistan, but the percentage of our military force that this mission entales, and the percentages when compared to the other NATO forces. And our military, like our banking system, may be small, but is one of the best in the world. It was German soldiers that coined the term "storm troopers" to describe Canadian forces in World War I.

    Today I am especially proud at the welcome President Obama received in Ottawa. Like Canada itself, Prime Minister Harper may look middle of the road, but the American press interest over the past few days has, hopefully, shown the American people that we live by the motto of "True North Strong and Free."

    February 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  5. Mike, Syracuse NY

    Tina, please keep calling yourself a Canadian. If you are only now proud of your birth country, we don't need you.

    February 19, 2009 at 3:23 pm |
  6. Reid from Calgary

    To the people on both sides of the border saying ignorant and negative things about the other give your heads a shake. When push comes to shove Canadians and Amerericans stand shoulder to shoulder unlike any other 2 countries in the world. That's because we share a heritage and a history. We're cousins. We have grandparents who came to our country from the other. We have brothers and sisters who've left our country for the other. We all have relatives,friends, or coworkers from the other country.

    I'm grateful for having such a great neighbour (even if they spell neighbour wrong :p ) to the south. And every American I've met is grateful for having such a great neighbour to the north.

    I've travelled all over the USA and met nothing but wonderful people (even the New Yorkers :p ). When I meet people who don't know anything about Canada they are always keen to ask questions and learn.

    If you find Americans to be "ignorant" of Canada it's not their fault as individuals that their media just ignores us. And if you find Canadians feel "snobbish" towards Americans it's not their fault as individual that our media loves to broadcast anti-American pablum.

    February 19, 2009 at 2:31 pm |
  7. John

    As a 4th generation Canadian, I think this article should be emailed to every American in light of President Obama's visit to my country. It was nice to see an article which truly reflects much of what is Canada.

    It's amazing that the only way Canada ever makes the American news is if something blows up here or the US President graces us with his presence. But really that's ok, we prefer to be the quiet intellectual type anyway.

    Sadly, I belive that the sentiment reflected by one or two Americans below, most Americans know nothing about Canada. Don't forget, Canada is America's number one supplier of oil and comedians!

    Ok, now where's my hockey stick? I have a game in an hour! 🙂

    February 19, 2009 at 2:05 pm |
  8. Cheryl - Fonthill, Ontario CAN

    Wow! How hostile.

    I logged onto AC360 after watching the CBC coverage of President Obama's arrival here in Canada. I was pumped watching it! Excited for our country that he is here & what it means to me.
    But wow – I wasn't expecting such hostility on this blog! Why?
    You all sound like kids in a sand box arguing about whose castle is bigger and better!

    I'm Canadian, grew up in a border city only to marry and move to another border city. I have "American" friends, my brother lives in St. Louis, I've dated "American" men.
    We are two different countries with a lot of different views on a lot of different topics – the thing about Canada is that we get the majority of the media coverage from the US so yes – we likely are more informed about what is happening there.
    Hey – if CNN was based in Toronto – America would know more about what happens in Canada.

    But hey, I'm getting off topic here. I'm happy for the US that Barack Obama was voted President. He seems like a great man – I'm actually a bit jealous to be honest. I'd like it if he secretly had a twin that was born in Canada and could run for PM.

    Bottom line is Canada & the US are neighbours – we should get along. We haven't been getting along since Bush had a hissy fit when we wouldn't go to war in Iraq. We were already in Afghanistan helping him look for Bin Laden.

    I'm hoping that President Obama will help mend the broken white-picket-fence between our two countries.

    February 19, 2009 at 1:47 pm |
  9. Tina

    I am a duel citizen, born in the US but grew up in Canada. I have to admit throughout my life here in Canada I rarely admitted I was an American. The attitudes I have experienced about Americans have been mostly negative. Arrogant, racist, self absorbed, and obsessed with the all mighty dollar seemed to be the general feelings.

    I am happy to say this has all seemed to change on a dime with the election of Obama. Thank you America! I am FINALLY proud to be an American.

    Things I would like Americans to know about Canada? We are not ALL nice people. Friendly might be a more accurate term. We don't ALL say Eh after every sentence and we don't live in igloo's.

    The big difference I see between Canadians and Americans? We don't sue our neighbours. We just simply say "I'm Sorry". AND we don't have to worry about losing our home because our children get sick. Living in Canada makes life a little less stressful. Don't cha think?

    February 19, 2009 at 1:00 pm |
  10. anne,newfoundland canada

    I suppose there are quite a few that may have had a crash course on Canada with this visit by the President.
    I noticed that your network is not exactly showing every move he makes TODAY,but just snippets of him here and there.

    Yet, you seem quite fond of showing just about every OTHER move he makes,no matter how minor.

    As for the title of this post,I find it very condecending in its attitude.
    If you were going to drag this out again today,at least pick a better title,or better yet,do not drag it out at all.

    Was there NO OTHER title that could have been used,that did not seem so uninformed,to the point of arrogance,
    and,as many previous posts here have said,ignorant?

    Or,perhaps you should follow the saying, "if you don't have anything good to say,don't say anything at all."!

    Oh,and it is Ottawa,Ontario,Canada,by the way,and a LOT of us do not go around saying EH all the time,either.
    Neither are we boring,or do many of us find the US very interesting,either.

    If you DO decide to post my comment,please do me the courtesy of NOT censoring it by removing my orginal words,like you did on my previous post with this story .
    You removed MINE,but yet left it alone in others??
    There were/are far worse ones here than what I ORIGINALLY said,that ONE word, which is used here by others:ignorant.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:36 pm |
  11. Aaron McNabb

    As a union firefighter it goes without saying that I/we are interested in what happens to GM. Most everyone agrees that we have to save this industry as its about the only thing we manufacture anymore. My question is; what plant closings and layoffs are projected for Mexico and other foreign lands? I just read that there are 12 domestic plant closings planned by 20012, five more than originally projected. The american people are not going to be happy to learn that we lost jobs that are major contributors to our own economy while those in other countries remained intact. Can anyone shed some light on and/or broaden this topic arena? Thanks.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:28 pm |
  12. Marc

    I am a Canadian living in the Southern US; I have an American wife and two American kids. People frequently ask me why I have never become a naturalized US citizen even though I have been eligible for years. The answer seems obvious to me: I am Canadian. I am proud of where I am from and who I am.

    Having said that, there are great differences between the cultures, but a suprising similarity in a peculiar ignorance and sense of superiority. Many of my Canadian friends stereotype all Americans as stupid and ignorant. And many of my American friends stereotype Canadians as some kind of gay lumberjacks. Simply stated: ignorant people are ignorant.

    The fact is that Canadians know much more about America because we are raised on their news/television/movies/music/sports, etc. Unless you live in Upstate New York or some other border area, American get no Canadian content whatsoever. Other than Degrassi Junior High or the Trailer Park Boys, Americans know nothing about Canadian pop culture beyond Brian Adams, Celine Dion and Nickleback. That is not exactly anyone's fault though is it? If you live where I live, the only thing you ever hear about Canada is that there is some oil in some tar pits up there or something.

    So, to sum it all up, Americans need to know that Canadians are a proud, peace loving people who respect themselves, their environment, and the people with whom they share the world. And Canadians need to know that Americans are idealistic because of the principles on which their country was founded, proud of the traditions and culture that they give to the world – acknowleging their influence upon it – and basically just trying to make their way in the world. Just like everybody else.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:15 pm |
  13. Rex

    The Canadian/US relationship has and always will be vital. Whether or not the citizens realize it. WW1,WW2,Korea,Gulf War1,Afghanistan – just about every major conflict – we have fought along side our cousins. (Except for Vietnam and Iraq – 2 engagements that we have veto'd for obvious reasons). We wept on Sept 11th, not only for the American lives lost, but also for the Canadians that died. And, we were so proud when Canadian Airports opened their runways for thousands of American flights that were not permitted to land in their own country. Canadians opened their homes to total strangers, gave them food, clothing and prayers.
    We are proud to be part of NASA's programs. We are giving the American Auto companies billions of dollars to show our support for Obama's plans. My roots are from Southern Ontario (Just south of Detroit), we are very like-minded to American lifestyles and culture there. Sure we're proud to be Canadian. But I'd also live in the US in a heartbeat. All statistics aside, we are truly 2 of the most blessed nations on this planet. We'll get through this economic crisis together.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  14. Katie from Windsor ON Canada

    Growing up in Windsor, we are often considered Amercianized. Our news often comes from our local Detroit stations (especially our weather which Windsorites often know ferenheit before celcius), our commercials are often for stores that don't even operate in Canada, and there is a huge divide amongst hockey fans to cheer for the Red wings or the Maple Leafs. However I see much more in the cross border expirience that I have been given. I have had the privledge of learning not only the way Canadian politics, attitudes and beliefs are shaped but I have had the wonderful expirience of seeing the American point of view as well. Unfortunately I believe that there are quite a few Amercians that have not had the chance to see anything from a Canadian prospective even those who live close to the border. Its a little disappointing when someone who lives 20 minutes away asks if we live in igloo's, or how our weather is today. These may be extreme cases but I believe that this is the reason some Canadians feel that American's often care nothing about Canada. At the end of the day, the bond between Canadians and Americans will surely remain strong for years to come, it may benefit by both sides seeing a little more of what the other has to offer.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:13 pm |
  15. Shannon

    It is ridiculous that this article had to be written at all. Americans should know these things about us already. Just because we are not a flashy country doesn't mean US media shouldn't be talking about us and the integral relationship our two countries have with one another.

    That said, THANK-YOU for writing it as it IS needed. I am proud to be Canadian and I am excited that you now have Obama. I look forward to being shown a bit more respect for the role we play in your lives as we respect and often look up to Americans.

    We are very different in sometimes subtle ways. We are a sovereign nation with a unique history that diverged from yours not so long ago. Lets celebrate our differences as we work together. But lets actually work together and see the relationship spoken about in the media.

    AND bring Omar Khadar home Harper. He was a child solider and should be rehabilitated as such by the country he called home.

    February 19, 2009 at 12:00 pm |
  16. Gary

    I lived in the US for some time and many of my closest friends are Americans. My friends are from the Northwest and over the years we came to realise that we shared more in common regarding our personal values than we did with our fellow citizens from the far flung parts of our respective countries.

    There is shared blood between us: US and Canadian troops served side by side in the 1st Special Service Force during WW2; Canadian troops protected the retreating US and South Korean forces at Kapyong; US soldiers liberated Canadian POWs in Japan. Civil aid has been important too: when the Halifax Explosion took place aid and support from the US was vital to helping rebuild the city; when Katrina took place Canadian rescue teams were made available to assist US assets and when the FAA grounded air traffic on 9/11 Canadian airports absorbed the bulks of the traffic.

    There is a lot of ignorance on both sides of the border. Unfortunately ignorance is part of the human condition. The chattering of those dismissive of either country is simply an indication of their own limited understanding of the world. When all one does is absorb TV and consume it is easy to believe your country exists in a vacuum.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:51 am |
  17. Dave

    When is this debate going to end?

    I'm not one to think highly of American's who view Canada as "boring", "uninteresting" or the like.

    The reality is we share cultural similarities, beliefs and geography. In this age of American protectionalism it would seem beneficial for both nations to strengthen economic ties through energy, manufacturing and agriculture.

    In the end, the socio-economic benefits of a healthy relationship between the two nations is essential to each our prosperity.

    Dave – Calgary

    February 19, 2009 at 11:49 am |
  18. Gerry from Ottawa

    It's always amusing to see these exchanges between Canadians and Americans. Puzzled Americans trying to figure out their sometimes obsequious, sometimes prickly and always slightly narcissistic neighbours (Hey! What about us?). It's a far more complex relationship for Canadians than most people realize. We are all but fully integrated into your economy, steeped in your culture and, largely, aligned with your world view. But we aren't America North.

    The differences are not trivial. Our economy is trade driven, not consumer driven. When the U.S. or Chinese economies sneeze, we catch a cold. In boom times, our streets don't suddenly get clogged with 2.5 tonne SUV's. On the other hand, guess which major industrialized country is the only one that didn't have to bail out any banks in this crisis? Yup, good old, boring Canada. Grasshopper, meet the ant.

    We're just as swamped and intrigued with Brangelina, just as appalled but fascinated by Britney and just as thrilled by Obama. We're glad you took Celine Dion, Nickelback and Jim Carey off our hands and we're willing to share Neil Young, the Arcade Fire and Mike Meyers. But you can't have Ron James or the Tragically Hip. Sorry, you just wouldn't understand.

    My old man was wounded in Normandy (1939-1945, not 1941-1945, BTW) and his old man was wounded at Vimy Ridge (the Great War, not WWI, BTW). Proud to have fought by your side and that of dear old England. We never bought into Iraq or Vietnam, but most of us our proud to bursting AND sad beyond words at the courage and cost our young people have invested into Afghanistan, by your side. We've always looked at the world in much the same way, just from slightly different perspectives.

    We couldn't ask for a better neighbour or a more generous one. We're not your little brothers. We're your quiet, proud, slightly eccentric cousins.

    I think it's working just fine.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:40 am |
  19. David, Montreal

    Let's face it, Canada is certainly not in the mess the U.S. has gotten itself into. It looks like our relationship is more akin to the tortoise and hare, with the hare getting bailed out without end because it tired itself out before the end of the race. Our government tried to throw money at our banks, but no one wanted it.

    Let's face it, the only thing we, in Montreal, care about is Times Square, Hollywood Boulevard, Miami Beach and whichever city the Canadiens are playing in that evening. As for the rest, we have a very similar attitude as Americans have toward us, sorry to break it to you, Uncle Sam.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:38 am |
  20. David from Windsor, Ontario

    I live in Windsor, Ontario a border city to Detroit, MI. I will tell you one thing...when you cross that border its like night and day...from city landscapes to homeless people. Im not disrespecting just stating th obvious.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:32 am |
  21. Catherine from Alberta

    I am an American-born Canadian who has been living in Canada for years. I have never appreciated the differences between the two countries more than now. I agree with Bob that my country of origin could learn much from Canada if there was the will to do so, which sadly there isn't. If you really want a sense of cultural differences monitor the websites of CBC and CTV, BBC and CNN frequently on any given day.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:30 am |
  22. Lindsay Shiels

    I followed this thread with interest, being Canadian. The most telling thing about American's knowledge of Canada, is that even on News reports, our capital is referred to as "Ottawa, Canada". This is equivalent to saying something like "Los Angeles, United States". The correct way to refer to it is "Ottawa, Ontario, Canada" just as the correct way to refer to the American city is "Los Angeles, California, USA" Just an observation from a Canadian who has a great many American friends and a great deal of respect for the USA as a country. On the whole they have been great neighbours, and good friends.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:29 am |
  23. Pat Sullivan

    Quite a balanced report. Given the choices I think both parties are very lucky to have each other as neigbours. There is no question that Canadian values are different than American values on many issues. Without doubt the fact that North America is to some extent an island as much of the world creates their trading groups and economies. Best to keep independant and understanding relationships. The trip today by President Obama should help keep the lines of communication open. P.S.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:27 am |
  24. I am Joe Canadian

    The U.S. is a fantasy. Nothing is real. All image and no substance. A nation of fake facades and a Hollywood stage. That is really how many Canadians see your nation. It's a 'ME' Nation, Big Cars, Big Homes, Consumerism, Reality TV, spoiled celebrities, 15 Mins of Fame at any cost, a lot of pomp and a lot of bravado.

    But that is how the American owned media wants to portray you, and I guess how you want the world to see you… and that is the root cause of what you don't see right next door to you… or anywhere else.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:26 am |
  25. Joseph

    By reading some of the comments, our United States friends do not understand that we do not look down on you, we just find that most of your coverage of the daily events are about killings, muggings, kidnappings, and so on. Here in Canada, yes we are worried about our little part of the world, but we do not lead off the day's news with the frightening thing we can find, usually we have more important things to think about like, employment, the environment and the rest of the world. I find it amazing that we know more about your country than most of you know. Quick question: Name the past 9 President's of the USA, and the last 9 Prime minister's of Canada? (Answer: Obama, GW Bush, Clinton, GH Bush, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, LBJ. Canada's PM's Harper, Martin, Creitian, Campbell (Female), Turner, Mulroney, Trudeau, Clark, Trudeau.)

    February 19, 2009 at 11:23 am |
  26. Steven from Toronto

    Though the article points out three key American interests in Canada it fails to encapsulate how important our relationship has been since the settling of North America, as many readers and commentators remain just as ignorant. The more we diverge, the less we learn from each other – and will only ad to problems both countries face. As much as some Americans like Cindy don't think they need Canada, it's – it's apparent, you're very much dependent on us, as we are on the US. 700 billion in trade! Hardly pocket change – Cindy appears to be from Georgia – fortunately her opinion is rare I believe. Border states, especially around the great lakes and the Northeast know the importance of being neighbours – and the mutual benefits. Cheers to 360 for shedding a little light on our often overlooked nation, and Canadians are very patriotic – and the beer far better, eh?!

    February 19, 2009 at 11:21 am |
  27. Mira

    Canada isn't all that. I should know, I was raised there and now happily live in the US.
    The country is boring and a lot of Canadians look down on Americans.

    The US will get their "Superpower" status back soon- Americans are smart, ambitious and patriotic!

    February 19, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  28. Phil from Canada

    I'm from the province "state" of Alberta. We are Canada's Texas and we take pride in it. We're all about big oil and guns and heavily conservative. I personally have been to the United states over 20 times to 16 U.S. states in my 19 year life span. I love America as much as I love Canada. Heck I even hang an American flag above my bed and have a 12 inch American eagle figurine in my room along with many other American memoribilia. I find us Canadians and Americans to be one in the same. The difference lies in which part of Canada you visit on whether you'll find Canadians who like America and those that do not. Eastern Canada (Minnesota eastward for you Americans) have a great distaste for Americans probably going back all the way to before the 1812 War. On the other hand come to western Canada (West of North Dakota) and I am sure you will find we Canadians love America, and speak with American accents. I have people who think I am from the US just because of the way I talk! Example: I have a Montanan accent. We Canadians and Americans are brothers and I thank you for helping us in Afghanistan in the War against Terror and supporting us through trade.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:17 am |
  29. Susan from NC

    I guess I shouldn't be too surprised at the attitude of the posters on this blog – both American and Canadian. I just want to say that I also grew up just across the border and have spent a lot of time in Canada. It's a beautiful country populated by intelligent and diverse people. I miss not being able to visit more often.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:14 am |
  30. CanadianAmerican

    Having lived half my adult life in the US and the other half in Canada, its an easy choice when it comes to which country I prefer and proud to call home. As this discussion highlights most Americans are self centred and ignorant. I wonder why Americans have a Canadian flag on their backpacks when travelling abroad?? Enough said.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:13 am |
  31. Chris Halliday

    I enjoy going to the United Sates whenever I can. Our two countires are very similar in so many ways. You guys get to buy your beer at 7-11 which is something we need to look at up here.

    One study showed that more than 90% of Canadian live within 200 kms of the US border. We are the world’s largest trading partners. So we are closer than most people realize.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  32. Mike from Canandaigua

    I have Canadian and US citizenship. While I now live in Upstate New York, I spent most of my life living in Ontario. The comment I want to make on this subject of US / Canada likes and differences is this:

    News Flash Canada- They just do not care about Canada here-period.
    Canada is hardly ever mentioned in any news media. No one talks about Canada or anything Canadian. I know from all my years living in Southern Ontario that Canadians are obsessed with how they are perceived by Americans. All I can say to them is come live here and you will be blown away by the total lack of interest in anything Canadian.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:08 am |
  33. Lorna Smith

    Would someone (anyone) please educate your news correspondents on "things Canadian" if they are to cover an event on Canada. I watched in disbelief this morning the coverage of the arrival of President Obama in Ottawa! Your correspondent referred to the red-coated RCMP (Mounties) members as "Canadian Armed Forces members", and then went on to discribe the official greeting of Mr. Obama by the "Prime Minister." (In fact he was met by our Governor General, Madame Michaelle Jean–our Prime Minister was waiting to welcome Mr. Obama to the House of Parliament). I know most Americans have no interest in Canada (sadly), but surely a news correspondent could be versed on us before covering a Canadian event.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:06 am |
  34. Bob

    I thought the article could do a better job at profiling some of the core differences. While having a similar culture, Canada has been better governed over the last 30 years with top notch public education, universal health care (at a fraction of the cost of the American System), and a stronger free market economy (due to some limited banking controls and a public that did not engage in debt ridden gluttony). We have managed to do so while having one of the most open and free societies in the world. I have lived in both countries and I have to say, the USA has a lot to learn from Canada.

    February 19, 2009 at 11:00 am |
  35. Mary elizabeth Williams

    Americans interested in Canada can log on to the websites of various Canadian newspapers, which are not only informative about our nearest neighbor but about ourselves, as well – some of their takes on our policies/behaviors are really enlightening. And if youchoose Le Soleil you can brush up on your French as well. P.S. – they talk about hockey less than we talk about football. We ARE *** lucky to have them on our border, and crossing it, and letting us cross it. And they should talk more about their FOOD!

    February 19, 2009 at 10:49 am |
  36. Marilyn from Toronto

    I get pretty tired of articles like this, particuarly the happy-to-be-ignorant comments of some of the US readers. You don't think of anyone else but yourselves and that's the attitude that gives you The Ugly American label. Loud and obnoxious and rude.

    We're hardworking, patriotic in our own way and prefer "Peace, Order and Good Government'. That is OUR motto.

    We have our financial house in order and know damn well if you can't afford it you don't buy it!! This global financial mess was caused by your lax financial rules and we will all suffer because of it.

    You are damn lucky you have us on your north border.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  37. Cecil, Toronto

    I have been to the US many times for St. Paddy's day in both NYC and Boston and have had the best time. I have also been to a few Sabres and Bills games in Buffalo and have never really had a negative experience. The odd time you get a dirty look from a clerk at the Walden Galleria when you ask if they accept Canadian money but hey. I get more grief from rude people in Montreal who don't like the fact that I speak English, and that is part of Canada (for now).
    Sometimes it is difficult at first to distinguish between Canadians and Americans in some areas because we have similar accents. However, when Toronto hosts Caribana and the thousands of African-American visitors come up from the US you can really distinguish between the locals and the American visitors. The American visitors are so polite, friendly and genuinly happy. When I was in retail it was always a pleasure to deal with them.

    February 4, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  38. Christopher Holmgren

    I am a proud Canadian. I was very happy that President Obama has decided to reinstate the presedential tradition of having his first foreign ste isit be always to Ottawa, our capital. I felt so strongly in fact about it, I even emailed President Obama during his campaign(not sure he ever received it!).
    Our former Prime Minister, Pierre Trudeau, once said that we 'live in the shadow of the US elephant' . That means we share a great deal culturally, financially/economically.
    Please remeber the French and British influences on our culture are very strong despite us seeing the same TV shows, being huge trading partners. We're a lot like you, but our world perspective is not as centric as yours-we look outward, you tend to expect others to look in (you're the superpower, we're a medium sized country whose big strength is peacemaking, inclusive health/human rights reforms)
    But you'll never have a better, loyal friend than us-and I hope we can think of the same of you. My best to your country and your President!
    Chris Holmgren
    Toronto
    We also have huge oil reserves now in our province of Alberta-we could work and respect each other this way with fair trade.

    February 4, 2009 at 12:54 pm |
  39. Ernie T

    Americans don't think about anyone else other than themselves - perhaps that's their biggest problem!
    If they decide to take the protectionist route, we can always sell our oil and other raw materials to someone else. Since our hydro-electric power can't be sold elsewhere, we'll just have to triple our price - I don't think you can buy it anywhere else.

    February 4, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  40. Michelle D. Fonthill,Ont

    I'm proud to be a hard working Canadian !! I don't uderstand why they refer to us a forgein country please stop that refrence besides all our jobs are going to real forgien countries like Mexico

    Michelle D.
    Canadain and proud of it!

    February 4, 2009 at 11:45 am |
  41. Ral

    God bless america – but also bless the rest of the world
    Life in general is confusing – what most people know is what they learn stemming from a long and far idiology.
    No one thinks too much of America – but what one should remember is this-
    it is a two dimensional universe
    Life = death , Male = female
    Light = Darkness ect.
    There is only two ways of thinking -either or ________ _ _ FILL IT IN.
    All the things we talk about dont even matter because In general term
    one deminsion Equals to the other. The begining of Time is Light
    So the the end of time is ? ___________ Darkness
    anyways what am trying to say is this- Each and ever individual that can understant life in that manner can make a fear jugement on his own behalf
    America Stand for the Best Hope of the pass
    Now is the time for us to all stand for the best hope of the future and not to make unnessary remarks base on the Pass

    February 4, 2009 at 4:13 am |
  42. Ken Urquhart

    Funny the way Canadians are all lumped into one group. Sort'a like thinking folks in Montana represent all Americans. I live in Alberta, that oil rich province mentioned in the article. Our fledgling oil industry was pretty much ignored by the banks and government back in the 40's ( when oil was discovered out here) It was US investment, and expertise and enterprize that developed our indusrty, and that strong US influence remains here in the west. If you were to assign your ' red state/ blue state' paint brush to Canada, I would guess only Alberta ( and maybe Sask) would be a 'red state' ( by the way – you have those colour codes backwards – ask any Canadain or Brit and they'll confirm this) So our view of Americans is different than those of our brothers and sister in Ontario, Quebec and the east coast. The Americans we meet are not in some amusement part or restaurant while on holidays, but they're our neighbors or co-workers. What I have learned from them is that thier view or America has changed once they were outside looking in.
    Our 'pop' culture is identical- our cultures are different. You fought for your country- we stuck around when it got cold! You wrung your hands over the idea of having a female national leader, we did that 12-15 years ago ( Kim Campbell for the bonus points!!) You guys seem polarized over your politics- and so are we. You guys get emotional when your sons/daughters in the armed forces are deployed – so are we ( my son is in the air force here) You want less personal taxes- so do we. HOWEVER I do like my banks regulated, my schools properly funded, our bridges not to fall apart and universal frontline healthcare ( hair transplants and breast augmentation are not covered ( but can be bought!!) Most of my family on my mother's side live in the greater Boston area and I love to argure 'socialized healthcare' with them- I always ask them if thier socialized fire department or police or air traffic controllers or park rangers are a big problem.

    Hey CNN .. I always get a good insight as to what you think of American vs Canadains during your weather updates.. on your big map of North America, you have to show where the US cities are, but have concluded that Canadains already know where we are!!

    February 4, 2009 at 4:10 am |
  43. J.V.Hodgson

    No surprises here I would describe it as 'the anatomy of dependence"
    No surprise here either that Obama goes to Canada for his first overseas visit I guess top of his agenda is Canada's national health system ( not all the stuff in the article) and how even Americans can get the same drugs at very significantly lower prices than you pay in the US to your medicare provider.
    Do you think as bloggers/Americans that when others describe us Americans as Patriotic and opinionated at the level reported this is a problem/ something needing consideration or not?
    Regards,
    Hodgson.

    February 4, 2009 at 3:31 am |
  44. Mr. Britt

    i work for a canadian owned company here in mississippi, my new boss (who is canadian) is a pleasure to work for.

    February 4, 2009 at 2:50 am |
  45. Lilibeth

    I absolutely love Canada! It's such a beautiful country and the people are the best! It has everything I like...hockey, skiing, breathtaking scenery and much more. I visit every chance I get. I had Thanksgiving holiday there and I enjoyed myself so much, I didn't want to come home. I'm so happy they're our neighbor.

    Lilibeth
    Edmonds, Washington

    February 3, 2009 at 11:50 pm |
  46. Chris

    I live in Canada and have dealt with many Americans,and from my experience a lot of Americans do not think very highly of us Canadians. I think most of it comes from lack of education to the Americans about Canada and it's people.

    For the most part,Canadians respect the U.S because we have more access to the American Media,and have a more general idea of what is going on south of the border compared to what Americans have to the Canadian Media,and what goes on up here.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:48 pm |
  47. Edward Gardner

    I'm married to a Canadian and have been in Canada a lot and I think the people in Canada are polite and friendly. My Canadian wife is loved by all the Americans she meets.
    Eddie

    February 3, 2009 at 11:39 pm |
  48. Pat Canada

    Alicia your comments are to be commended very well said.
    I have nothing negative to say about Americans. They display their pride in their Nation more openly than Canadians do and some consider that to be feelings of superiority. I don't. We too are proud of our Nation we are just more humble as Alicia pointed out. The Canadians I know feel Americans are our friends and would be there in a heartbeat to help if needed. I am disappointed to hear many Americans don't the same towards us. I remember 9/11 vividly. We werer in Halifax at a Hotel they advised all that FLights would be cancelled, highways would jammed. We met many at coffee stops from N.York, Mass, who had family in the Towers very distaught. Our hearts were there with them. Many Canadians we met that day were as sad, distraught, shocked as Americans were. We watched the TV screen in disbelief at first we thought it was some kind of sick movie. Katrina the same. We sat in our Living Room and shed tears as we watched the horror on our TV. We visited Boston and were so grateful for the warmth we received from Bostonians. Canadians I know don't have negative feelings regarding Americans. I'm sorry there are Americans who have not had the opportunity to know who we truly are in our hearts and minds or interested in finding out.

    February 3, 2009 at 11:31 pm |
  49. Jaelle

    Come to the Olympics in Vancouver next year. We can get to know each other better then!

    February 3, 2009 at 11:26 pm |
  50. Pietra

    I appreciated this article.It was very informative.Good job !

    Pietra,Jamaica

    February 3, 2009 at 11:21 pm |
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