I'm Canadian and I'll comment.
When Paul Martin and George W. Bush sit down at the White House this week for their first extended summit, Canadians shouldn't hold their breath for significant trade deals, cross-border accords, or even mealy-mouthed memorandums of understanding. With the relationship between Canada and the United States plunging toward a historic nadir, the Prime Minister will be lucky to walk away with a nice photo and a souvenir pen.
The point is to try and mend some of the fences between us, not to solve all our problems in one sitting.
It's more than the deep divisions over Iraq, or the Canadian public's palpable distaste for a Yalie cowboy and his conservative politics. Suddenly, there's a meanness to our day-to-day interactions. We harass American flag-waving school kids, and boo their national anthem at hockey games. Promises to stand "shoulder to shoulder" after the Sept. 11 attacks have been overshadowed by epithets like "moron" and "bastards." Symptoms of a declining friendship are everywhere you look.
As far as I know the booing of the anthem occured in Quebec. Don't judge all Canadians by the example set by the French. They think that everyone else is somehow less "cultured" then them just because they speak French and have forgotten what anti-persperant is. The "morons" and "bastards" comments were the result of the politicians personal opinions being publicised, opinions that should be kept to themselves when in the public eye, otherwise they risk being seen as the opinions of all Canadians.
An exclusive new Maclean's poll probing what Canadians and Americans really think of each other shows this new sense of animus is disproportionately centred north of the border. Sixty-eight per cent of Canadians say the U.S.'s global reputation has worsened over the last decade, while 38 per cent of us say we feel more negatively about America since Sept. 11 (the biggest reasons cited -- the Iraq war and George W. Bush). Asked to pick the word that best describes our neighbours to the south, the No. 1 response was "arrogant," with "patriotic" (not necessarily a compliment) close behind. More of us say Americans are "dangerous" than "compassionate." And even though a majority would be willing to immediately commit Canadian troops to defend the U.S. in the event of another attack, only 44 per cent of us "strongly support" the idea.
Well what can I say about US Global opinion. It certainly has gotten worse since the war in Iraq. George Bush has managed to turn over whelming support into hatred and distrust through what other nations see as deception. I think that most Canadians didn't support the war on Iraqi because of the circumvention of the UN and the belief that Saddam posed no threat to the US. We do however support your war on terrorism and have contributed troops to that cause. I wouldn't describe Americans as arrogant, more like confidant. When your the worlds only super-power than you have that right. It's worth noting however that alot of Canadians see your governmet officials as arrogant,ie: Donnie Rumsfeld and GW Bush. I would support sending more troops to OP Apollo (our name for the war on terror) if we had more to spare, but we're maxed out. And there's nothing wrong with being patriotic provided that it doesn't blind you to the truth.
On the flip side, most Americans remain indifferent to the insults and jibes floating across the border. Despite more than two years of high-level political conflict, and the best attempts of talk-radio foamers to lump Canada together with "socialist weenies" of Old Europe, 74 per cent of U.S. respondents say their opinion of our country remains unchanged. Twelve per cent say they think less of us, while an equal number say they like us more. A quarter of Americans think Canada's global reputation has improved, while 60 per cent say it has stayed the same. Their word of choice for their northern neighbours is "tolerant"; "compassionate" and "funny" are also high on the list. And an overwhelming majority would put their troops in harm's way to help us, with 60 per cent strongly supporting the idea.
It's nice to know that the American people still like Canada despite the differences between our two governments. And it's nice to know that they are willing to honour the defense treaties that exist between us.
Truth be told, many Canadians take a certain pride in raising such American ire. If we can't always compete with the proprietors of the world's most powerful economy and military, we reserve the right to thumb our noses at them. It's a beery brand of nationalism -- loud-mouthed flag-waving coupled with a Ned Flanders preachiness -- that risks becoming as stale as a Sunday morning barroom. The type of patriotic fervour we once professed to loathe is now one of our trademarks, and co-opted to sell everything from Molson's suds, to Tim Hortons donuts, to Petro-Canada gasoline. Our obsessive need to poke and prod every aspect of our relationship with the U.S. infects our books, cinema, music and media -- including, obviously, this very magazine. It's tempting to call it our greatest cultural rivalry -- except that, technically speaking, the other party should know that you're competing with them.
I really don't know what to say about this.
Any Canadians care to comment? Is the author on to something or is this similar to the hot air that Time often puts out down here?
I think that this is mostly hot air. The dislike that most Canadians I know have for the US is really directed more at their government than the US citizens themselves.
M1891/30: A bad day on the range is better then a good day at work.