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Just your average joe, with an unhealthy obsession with politics and news.

Monday, November 29, 2004

President Vist To Canada and The Canadian View Of the US

Canadian Bush Trip Post tp BE up Soon Posted by Hello
Well Bush is going to Canada tomorrow for a two day visit. In my opinion this is way overdue. This trip is important for several reasons to which I shall go into some detail below. The first is the nescessity to start mending problems in a relationship that by culture, geographic location, and common goals should be one our number one priorties, Second, to discuss aalot of urgent matters especially realating to trade. Third, the signs Bush gives there and his performance to a government that has not always been friendly too him might serve as a indication of what one should expect on Bush's European trip next year.
As Dustmybroom blog has pointed out the coverage of this trip has been dismal by the msm so far. Most of the air time is given some fringe group of lawyers that want to arrest Bush for war crimes. Dust my broom says in this posting:
First off, the commentator announces that there has been some friction between Canada and the US since the beginning of the Iraq war. He then says Canada and the US used to sing together, and then I almost choke as they break to a scene of Mulroney and Reagan singing Irish Eyes. This lasts about 15 seconds.A small break as they interview a couple of people in what looks to be downtown Toronto. Basically they don't like Bush. The "reporter" rolls off that 45% of Canadians are anti-American and 75% are anti-Bush. No references.The "reporter" comes back on and announces the main differences between Canada and the US is that Canada no longer has the death penalty and allows same-sex marriages in some provinces.And that was it. Someone may hammer on me for this, but man, I miss the CBC.
Keep in mind thats from ABC, from an Anchor that used to be a Canadian citizen and whose news organiztion is suppose to have some special relationship with the CBC(canadian Broadcast Corporation). So what are the issues?
The CBC at this link has a pretty good take on what the leaders will be discussing. People in certain ares especially as to the timber and beef industries should take note. The issues that will be discussed at ,as the Canadian PM has called "working meeting-ie this is just a photo-op, are first.Canadian Beef. No Canadian Beef has been exported to the US since April 2003 becasuse of the mad cow scare which you can bet has got a lot of farmers up in arms. Guess what the President will be dining own at the big dinner they are having. Second , the timber issue and the exports of timber to the US. This is huge and I know in my area of the Country is being watched closely. Third is missile defense which seems to be getting somewhat of an frosty reception there. The fourth big issue is of course International relations ie Iraq. This has been the cause of alot of the problems but the other economic issues as well as Nafta reforms have played a part in the rather frosty realtionship as of late.
What also should be discussed but its not clear it will be is the horrible state of the Canadian Defences. The US and Canada have always been close partners in Defense. For instance did you know one of the main men protecting us on Sept the !!th was Canadian. Yep, a Canadian was in charge at NORAD that day and in my view did a excellent job However articles such as this one should give a lot of concern to the US. The Ottawa Sun reports
SHORTAGE of planes has forced the Canadian military to cut an anti-terrorism air surveillance mission down from six months to just two. Two Aurora maritime patrol aircraft and their crew of 65 will pull out of Operation Sirius, the air force's contribution to the war on terrorism, by Christmas -- they deployed only last month.
Lt.-Col. Yvan Boilard, commander of the Canadian contingent stationed in Sigonella, Italy, said the planes' age and the need for upgrades have limited Canada's ability to answer NATO's calls for air surveillance

That as well as stories Of Canadian troops having to use hand grenades that are inferior but must be bought from a Quebec company as well as the litany other articles out there on the status of Canadian defense forces is a huge concern.
The other issue of importance is the anti-americanism thats becoming it appears more mainstream everyday. The anti Bush forces have a great schedule of events planned for Bush when he arrives. In fact go to one of the leading oraganizers web site to see just part of the events planned. I suspect America media will cover this greatly. But take heart a group of pro Bush Canadians are preparing a counter demostration. Sounds like fun. This is organized by what appears to be a Caandian version of the US'S Free Republic(Freepers). Their site Free Dominion is excellent and will be in my web links soon. For a nice article on all the antics that will take place go here.
The real interesting question is how does the average Canadian feel about us in the United States. Here is a great article by the Washington Post about an American in the the land up north. Notice specially if you acess the full article it seems he is not some far right winger. Here is the link.(It might require registration but is worth it). here are some excerpts:

... after nearly four years as an American in the Great White North, I've learned it's not all beer and doughnuts. If you're thinking about coming to Canada, let me give you some advice: Don't.
The anti-Americanism I experience generally takes this form: Canadians bring up "the States" or "Americans" to make comparisons or evaluations that mix a kind of smug contempt with a wariness that alternates between the paranoid and the absurd.
in the wake of 9/11, after the initial shock wore off, it was common to hear some Canadians voice the opinion that Americans had finally gotten what they deserved. The attacks were just deserts for years of interventionist U.S. foreign policy, the increasing inequality between the world's poorest nations and the wealthiest one on earth, and a generalized arrogance. I heard similar views expressed after Nov. 2, when Americans were perceived to have revealed their true selves and thus to "deserve" a second Bush term.
Canadians often use three metaphors to portray their relationship with the United States. They describe Canada as "sleeping with an elephant." Even when the elephant is at rest, they worry that it may suddenly roll over and crush them. They refer to the U.S.-Canadian border as "the longest one-way mirror in the world" -- Canadians peer closely at Americans, trying to make sense of their every move, while the United States sees only its own reflection. Finally, they liken Canada to a gawky teenage girl with a hopeless crush on the handsome and popular boy next door. You know, the one who doesn't even know she exists.
The self-image conveyed in these metaphors is timid and accommodating. Perhaps this is how Canadians see themselves (or would like to be seen), but my experience is that they are extremely aggressive (if somewhat passively so) when it comes to demonstrating their deep ambivalence toward Americans. Take the popular TV show "Talking to Americans," which simultaneously showcases Americans' ignorance about Canada and mocks Canadians' unhealthy preoccupation with what Americans really think of them. Of course, there's often something of the stalker in that gawky teenage girl, isn't there?

Part of what's irksome about Canadian anti-Americanism and the obsession with the United States is that it seems so corrosive to Canada. Any country that defines itself through a negative ("Canada: We're not the United States") is doomed to an endless and repetitive cycle of hand-wringing and angst. For example, Canadians often point to their system of universal health care as the best example of what it means to be Canadian (because the United States doesn't provide it), but this means that any effort to adjust or reform that system (which is not perfect) precipitates a national identity crisis: To wit, instituting co-payments or private MRI clinics will make Canada too much like the United States.
The rush to make comparisons sometimes prevents meaningful examination of the very real problems that Canada faces. (For me, it has become the punch line of a private joke that whenever anything bad happens here, the first response is a chagrined cry of "But we're Canadian!" -- the "not American" can be inferred.) As a Canadian social advocate once told me, when her compatriots look at their own societal problems, they are often satisfied once they can reassure themselves that they're better off than the United States. As long as there's still more homelessness, racism and income inequality to the south, Canadians can continue to rest easy in their moral superiority.
Many Canadians have American relatives or travel frequently to the United States, but a large number are pretty naive about their neighbors to the south. A university student confidently told me that there had been "no dissent" in the United States during the run-up to the Iraq war. Toronto boosters argue that American cities lack the ethnic diversity found in Canada's largest metropolis. The author of a popular book on the differences between the Canadian and American characters (a topic of undying interest here) promotes the view that Americans are all authority-loving conformists.
Ultimately, Canadian anti-Americanism says more about Canada than it does about the United States. Because some 80 to 90 percent of this country's trade is with the United States, the reality is that Canadians need Americans to sustain their economy and thus the quality of life they value. Such dependence breeds resentment. In "officially multicultural Canada," hostility toward Americans is the last socially acceptable expression of bigotry and xenophobia. It would be impossible to say the things about any other nationality that Canadians routinely say -- both publicly and privately -- about Americans. On a human level, it can be rude and hurtful. (As it was on the afternoon of Sept. 11, 2001, when an acquaintance angrily told me that she would now have to curtail her travel plans because she was afraid she might be mistaken for an American.) And there's no way to argue against it. An American who attempts to correct a misconception or express even the mildest approval for the policies of U.S. institutions is likely to be dismissed as thin-skinned or offensive, and as demonstrating those scary nationalistic tendencies that threaten the world

So the question becomes how much of this anti americanism is the result of geography and the way history ran it course.. Two bloggers though from Canadia got my attention today. Both post show to me that perhaps the Canadian media might be over doing anti americanism sentiment. After reviewing the Canadian blogs I have noticed a great many conservative US symphatic blogs. Rite Turn Only Blog had this to say regarding the anti Bush anti US demostrations.
OTTAWA -- A coalition of anti-war protesters, left-wing lawyers and anti-capitalists refused repeatedly yesterday to condemn those who might resort to violence during the "loud" demonstrations planned for the visit next week of U.S. President George W. Bush.My, isn't that nice? The drool is already seeping from their little mealy-mouths as they anticipate the arrival of The Evil One. The veins in their little pea-brains are about to explode as they lay in wait hoping to ambush the Disciple of Death. Actually we kind of feel sorry for them in a strange way. How pathetic and boring the lives they live must be. How sad it is that we have citizens in this country who feel so inferior and insecure they not only must they gather enmasse but must threaten violence to force others to hear their meaningless and unimportant opinions. Therapy does wonders you know - should try it sometime.But there's another point we want to address. We've read many stories about how the frothing-at-the-mouth liberals can't wait for Bush to get here. They continually refer to the illegal war as one of the major reasons they feel that way. Let us play their game. By the same standards, wasn't Clinton's continued bombing of Iraq illegal? Wasn't Clinton's war in the Balkans illegal? Wasn't Canada's bombing of the Balkan's illegal? Where were the protestors? We suppose it's only illegal if the right is doing it. But so much for liberal logic.As a sidebar, by whose standards are we defining illegal anyway? The UN? Who gives a flying fuck what the UN thinks? The left of course! Big government for everyone!! The BIGGER the better!! We're too stupid and too lazy to look after ourselves, besides it's not our responsibility - that's what we have BIG government for! Yah for BIG government!

Also are Canadians that much different on the whole from us as to the issues of "values". I ran across an interesting comment from the Western Standard blog. He comments on an interview that he had with the CBC. He states:
My main point was that English Canada and the United States is not as different as the media story line has it, that Canadians have not recently had the opportunity to discuss moral and cultural issues (although the topic is brought up during elections, the issue is never truly explored) and that the primary difference is that Americans are not affraid to debate these issues while Canadians never discuss them. We'll see if that comes through in the sound bites the show's producers choose.
Thats an interesting point. However he failed to expand on the nuts and bolts of why this is so. Is it something particular about Canadian politics. (perhaps some Canadian bloggers can expand on this.} Anyway more tomorrow.


Blogger Len Kutchma said...

Paul makes a curious statement about moral and cultural issues and I'm not really sure to what he is referring. I didn't get the oppurtunity to hear his interview with the hallowed CBC but I'll certainly dig around to see if I can find it and then perhaps I can offer something of substance.

With respect to his other observations I most certainly concur. I'm speaking in generalities now but basically eastern Canada is predominately liberal while western Canada is conservative country. Thats not to say there aren't liberals out west and vice-versa. But generally speaking, everything west of the Ontario-Manitoba border is conservative country, especially Alberta. Canadian conservatives are very much like their American cousins. In fact a foreigner would be hard pressed to tell them apart if they didn't mention specific governments. I have many American friends and they are virtually indistinguishable from my canuck pals. I can only imagine Canadian and US liberals are just as similar.

The point is although we have slightly different histories, there is much more we have in common then what seperates us. We share the same dreams, hopes, desires and share the same love for freedom, liberty and democracy. There are elements at work that seek to divide the US and Canada and I'm not really sure of the motive. We see it up here all the time as well as the MSM always makes it a point to impress upon us how much we dislike America. Fortunately, not everyone takes what the CBC gives as the gospel. We do have many conservative news sources as well. Actually, FOX News has finally been allowed into Canada and the reason for FOX's application to begin with is a huge number of Canadians WANT Fox here. (this according to the CRTC itself) I also told you about Adler here on Winnipeg radio.

From where I sit, what I see is a very noisy Canadian left-wing. You've heard the old cliche the "silent majority?" Here it is in living colour! This is one of the reasons I started my blog - to reach out and let the US know not all Canadians are socialists. To get an idea of what I'm talking about, go to and under Canadian blog links you'll see a TON of Canadian conservative blogs.

As well, 2 of my absolute favourite Canadian blogs which ARE NOT on the canadiancomment as links are:
1) Right in Canada, AND
2) United Right,

Both blogs are written by Canadian female conservatives based in eastern Canada. Both are well written.

November 30, 2004 at 6:13 PM  
Blogger darcey said...

excellent comment - I've been thinking about this lately. I think it also has to do with wanting to be different. Sort of like pushing away foreign policies and imperialism but at a subconscious level.

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