Sunday, January 08, 2006

Anti-Americanism in Canada

Update below

This is an excellent article about anti-Americanism in Canada in, funnily enough, the Toronto Star. It examines how Canadian anti-Americanism arises, why it's hypocritical, and how politicians are largely responsible.

A cuople of excerpts (but the whole thing is well worth reading):

On how it arises:

Traditionally, Canadians distinguished themselves from Americans on the basis of having a different political system. Canadians, said the great literary critic Northrop Frye, are Americans who rejected the revolution. However, over the last half-century, as centrifugal forces threatened to tear the country apart, opinion-makers began to distinguish Canadians from Americans on the basis of having a different value system.

Alarmed at the rise of nationalism in French Canada, and fearful that as the British Empire receded from memory the United States would replace Great Britain in the affections of English Canadians, a new breed of federal politicians and bureaucrats attempted to erase Canada's very real divisions (and centuries of history) by appealing to a largely rhetorical set of "Canadian values" shared by all from sea to sea. Only by appealing to these values, Canadian nationalists believed, would Canada overcome its cultural neurosis and emerge as a single, unified state capable of resisting the inevitable lure of America.

So, where Americans were religious, Canadians were now secular. Where Americans were a martial people, Canadians were now pacifists. Where Americans were conservative, Canadians were now liberal. Where Americans were greedy capitalists, Canadians were now empathetic social democrats. And these beliefs reinforced by a large contingent of nationalist and anti-American media rubbed off on the population at large. Today, Canadians consistently tell pollsters that they are more tolerant, more respected by others, better educated and friendlier than Americans. Oh, yes: and more modest, too.

On the inherent hypocrisy:

This pattern shows up in international matters, as well. Canadians are confirmed multilateralists (except when they seize Spanish and Portuguese fishing trawlers on the high seas, bomb Kosovo without UN authorization, and unilaterally claim a 320-kilometre marine exclusive economic zone). Canadians are a "moral superpower" (except when it comes to official development assistance, where Canada's contribution ranks among the lowest of wealthy nations, despite the prime minister's pledge that "our foreign policy must always express the concerns of Canadians about the poor and underprivileged of the world"). Canadians are environmentally conscious (except that they consume more energy per capita than all OECD countries except tiny Iceland and Luxembourg and have no feasible plan for implementing their Kyoto promises). Canadians believe in international law and normative foreign policy (except when government agencies look the other way as their own citizens suspected of being terrorists are "rendered" to Syria or Egypt). And on and on it goes. "A country that seeks great changes and lacks the willingness to run great risks dooms itself to futility," the 17th-century English statesman Lord Clarendon is said to have remarked. He could well have been describing Canada today.

This need to present a unique set of Canadian values is not without consequence. Consider just three recent episodes involving the governing Liberal Party. First, the communications director of former prime minister Jean ChrŽtien called George W. Bush a "moron," and the prime minister at first declined her resignation. Then, an MP was caught on camera saying "Damn Americans! I hate those bastards." And, in an "open letter" to Condoleezza Rice, former minister of foreign affairs Lloyd Axworthy called the United States a "virtual one-party state," devoid of the checks and balances the country "once espoused before the days of empire." This from someone whose own party has governed Canada for 70 of the past 100 years!

UPDATE: Paul Jackson in The American Thinker discusses how the Liberals have used anti-Americanism to their own advantage (and the detriment of Canada).

A too-close-to-call federal election campaign in Canada has spurred the nation’s beleaguered Liberal leader to try and cling to power by attacking the nation’s oldest ally and largest trading partner. That Canada sells 83% of its world exports to the United States and some 50% of all Canadian jobs depend either directly or indirectly on those exports seems irrelevant right now.

It’s a bizarre world Up North these days.

Prime Minister Paul Martin is in the fight of his political life against Conservative leader Stephen Harper and that’s obviously why he’s been trying to whip up anti-American fervor in the hope it might win him votes and get his government re-elected on voting day Jan. 23. And also to take voters’ minds off a raft of scandals that have erupted within his government and that of his predecessor, Liberal Prime Minister Jean Chretien.
Previous article about: anti-Americanism
US Ambassador rips Paul Martin over anti-Americanism
US reacts to Paul Martin's electioneering anti-Americanism
Europe's fake moral outrage
Canada - conscience of the World!
Paul Hellyer, embarassment to Canada


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