If one talks about similar countries in the world, the first two names on the list would be Canada and the United States of America.
Now, looking at all these commonalities may make one wonder about camaraderie between these two countries. The startling fact is most Canadians hold rather dour opinions on their counterpart. Very few of them call it a ‘caring society’. They hold in it a certain type of contempt and hating America appears to be a part of Canadian society’s central core.
Many Canadians believe that everything American is bad and must be opposed. While these feelings are at many times illogical and hypocritical, they do exist and rather powerfully at that.
In Canadian politics, the US is often shown as a dysfunctional country. Most politicians call ideas they don’t like or support as being “American-style’. In fact, even when it is too much of an exaggeration, a politician may still call their opponent as being too American.
In most cultural representations in Canada, Americans rarely get their moment to shine. Their characters are boorish and unsophisticated, while their Canadian counterparts are witty and worldly. Americans are mostly shown as uninformed and dumb.
Most home-made media is not very popular in Canada and most Canadians enjoy American media quite a lot. But they keep comparing themselves to Americans almost endlessly and harp on consistently on how they are better than their closest neighbours.
Many theories have sprung up in recent years on this topic. This is a complicated issue and no single root cause can be determined, let alone agreed upon, by researchers.
One of the reasons that’s doing the rounds is that since there are so many similarities between the two countries, Canadians feel tremendous pressure to keep reminding themselves that they are different, and in many ways, superior. It also allows them to feel kinship amongst themselves through a collective identity.
Another is immigration. Several immigrants moved to Canada as they disagreed with certain aspects of American life – such as politics or culture. Some moved during the Vietnam War while some did so under George W. Bush’s presidency – maybe because they disagreed with the politics of those times.
All said and done, the fact is while Canada’s anti-Americanism is on display at all times, most of them do casually think of themselves as Americans in several aspects of daily life. They relate to them and think that American studies on social factors will apply equally to Canadian society too.
The reality is that the USA is standard Canada always has and even now is measuring itself against. Canadians emphasize the differences and accept the similarities. Many people call ‘Anti-Americanism’ the state religion of Canada. To truly understand Canadian culture, this is one aspect you will have to consider and come to terms with. This is how things are right now and may remain for the foreseeable future.
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