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Old 06-29-2010, 08:02 AM
 
397 posts, read 607,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post

Please define what you consider we are that makes us very uniquely Canadian.

Hmmm. I'm hearing crickets.

Anybody else want to try? Who are we?

.
Your's is really a question for another thread. My original post was one thing I'd like to see changed and an invitation for others to list what they would change. I could list some things that I think define Canadians, but that was not the original purpose of my question.
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Old 06-29-2010, 01:19 PM
 
705 posts, read 1,572,019 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by movingwiththewind View Post
I agree. Reading the comments, I'm not sure it'll ever happen, though.

Maybe the problem is that there are "only" 34 millions of Canadians who are dispersed over such huge geographical area, therefore, national identity crisis? For example, between BC and Ontario there are 3 huge provinces where not so many people live, so people in BC may feel disconnected from the rest of the country? Add to this the fact that more than 300 millions Americans live south of the border, and you'll feel the pressure and much more influence from the US than from the rest of the country. I'm wondering what would happen if all 34 million Canadians lived more closely together, in a country, say, the size of California. Would it still be the same?

Populationwise, Canada is 10 times smaller than the US! Populationwise, Canada is a very small country and it's hard to build and maintain national identity if you're so close to the huge (again, populatiowise) powerhouse south of the border. Especially considering how young Canada is as a nation. Add to this huge inflows of new immigrants to both countries every year, and it becomes even more of a challenge: You have this huge cultural, political and ideological pressure from the south and, in addition, to this, you have to integrate hundreds of thousands of newly arrived immigrants.
What you described makes a lot of sense. Canada is simply too big geographically and too spread out to possess a unique national identity. Smaller countries such as Spain, the UK etc don't have this problem as people from various parts of the country, despite their difference, have no trouble integrated into each other. Canada is blessed with vast land, but its unfaorable location and demographic congregation (all gathering the south most part of the country, forming a thin but extremely long belt) makes it difficult for everyone to share something in additional to nationality and language.

The existance of sparsely populated Manitoba and Saskchewan, and the French speaking Quebec makes the situation worse, as people from relatively densely populated area have difficulty meeting each other. It is simply too far. Traveling from Halifax to Vancouver is not so much shorter than from the United Kingdom.

Southern Ontarion should be an exception as it is small and dense. Unfortunately, it is heavily influenced by the United States and don't show much "Canadian". When you are in London or Paris, you know you are not definitely not in the US as it is just different. On the other hand, Toronto can pass as a typical American city any day.

I would surmise that a Candian identity will be stronger if Toronto/GTA is located somewhere between Vancouver and Calgary. Or there is another major city the size of Vancouver/Montreal in Southern Ontario. (it is not impossible, as DC and Philly are not too far from NYC)
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Old 06-29-2010, 04:27 PM
 
3,060 posts, read 6,947,418 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickh1954 View Post
I would change our desperation to measure up.

We constantly compare and define ourselves as "not American". This often manifests itself as either a desire be more like our southern cousins, or a complete rejection of everything American.

When we discuss our home city or town, it is nearly always whether it measures up to some arbitrary standard.

This is a great country with much to be proud of. I think it is time to simply be quietly confident of that without trying so desperately to prove it.
Well I've thought about this for three days and still can't come up with anything I would change about Canadians.

I don't know anyone "desperate to measure up", nor do I know anyone who constantly compares and defines him or herself as "not American".

As far as discussing one's home town or city, not sure what you mean by "arbitrary standard". The discussions I have heard and participated in revolve around emplyment, cost of living, crime rate, good or bad schools, etc.

So I think I'll just agree with your point that Canada is a great country with much to be proud of. I think we are already quietly confident of that. We pretty much unanimously agree that our taxes are too high, the senate is a waste of time and money and we'd like milder winters.

I have lived in Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, Spent considerable time in Ontario and visited all regions except the territories - still nothing I would change about Canadians. Maybe get the westerners to quit saying "eh" so much . . . ? Nah. Even that's okay.
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Old 06-30-2010, 01:19 PM
 
1,041 posts, read 1,262,875 times
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The canadian inferiority complex bother me the most. Pretty much echos what the OP said.
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Old 06-30-2010, 04:50 PM
 
Location: S.W. British Columbia
6,034 posts, read 5,807,760 times
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I don't think it's possible for either Canadians or Americans to not compare themselves with each other. Canada and America are joined at the hip, interdependent and having the most integrated social, business, trade and military alliances with each other that makes it the most unique and friendliest relationship between any 2 countries in the world.

I think what some might perceive as inferiority or desperation to measure up, others may perceive as ambition to excell and striving to set good examples. Perhaps perceptions differ depending on what part of the country people live in too, the prevailing attitudes and even prosperity of the locality and of the crowd of people one hangs out with. We have 13 provinces and territories in this country and each has it's cultural, economic and political differences from each other let alone differences or similarities with America.

I personally don't think that the greater majority of Canadians feel they need to measure up to any other country anywhere. My sense of Canadians is that they're proud to be who they are and that Canada as a nation does have a lot to be proud of.

I've been trying hard to think of something about Canadians that I would like to see changed. There's only one thing I can think of but fortunately it's not something I see evidence of very often .... and that's the people who are truly unhappy living in Canada. I don't like to see some Canadian citizens choosing to remain in Canada while being disloyal and critical of Canada and Canadian people and extolling all the wonderful virtues of some other country that they say they would prefer to live in. However, I don't think they can be changed so I wish people like that would just quit their complaining and pack up and go away.

.
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Old 06-30-2010, 08:25 PM
 
3,060 posts, read 6,947,418 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoisite View Post
...I've been trying hard to think of something about Canadians that I would like to see changed. There's only one thing I can think of but fortunately it's not something I see evidence of very often .... and that's the people who are truly unhappy living in Canada. I don't like to see some Canadian citizens choosing to remain in Canada while being disloyal and critical of Canada and Canadian people and extolling all the wonderful virtues of some other country that they say they would prefer to live in. However, I don't think they can be changed so I wish people like that would just quit their complaining and pack up and go away.

.
High five dude - high five!
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Old 07-02-2010, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Silver Spring, MD
741 posts, read 2,499,140 times
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quit being so damn naieve!!! and NICE!!!!

gag...

ok the former rather than the later
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Old 07-02-2010, 02:54 PM
 
28,906 posts, read 45,235,124 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rickh1954 View Post
I would change our desperation to measure up.

We constantly compare and define ourselves as "not American". This often manifests itself as either a desire be more like our southern cousins, or a complete rejection of everything American.

When we discuss our home city or town, it is nearly always whether it measures up to some arbitrary standard.

This is a great country with much to be proud of. I think it is time to simply be quietly confident of that without trying so desperately to prove it.
I'll weigh in an as a respectful American who has been to Canada many times on business, and has always enjoyed the professional and personal relationships he has forged.

The one thing that impresses me is how, on every trip up there, somebody feels to need to run down the States. I mean, I certainly don't brag about my country, yet there is a small minority of Canadians who just have this weird, kneejerk reaction whenever they encounter an American. It's like some kind of spasm.

Here is, word for word, a conversation I had three months ago in a bar. Now, mind you, I'm having a beer at a hotel bar in Calgary after a long flight and working a crossword puzzle.

Bartender: What part of the States are you from?
Me: Alabama.
Bartender: Oh. Never been there. What part?
Me: Birmingham.

Okay, at this point in the conversation, it's been pleasant. Kind of a cordial How Do You Do kind of conversation.

Bartender: I've never been to Alabama.
Me: Oh, well, come visit. It's beautiful there.
Bartender: Unless you're black, of course.
Me: I'm sorry, what?
Bartender: Well, how you treat black people. It's really shameful.

Okay...never mind that that was almost 50 years ago, and that great strides have been made since then. Nope, this guy then went on to talk about how all American cities look the same, blah blah blah blah. I was pretty insulted, but didn't lose my cool. However, I didn't tip the guy, so I'm sure he'll add "Americans are bad tippers" to his set of grievances.

Another trip, this time to Vancouver. I was riding the shuttle bus to the airport. Another seemingly innocuous conversation with my seat mate, this time a twentyish woman, who felt the need to gratuitously discuss how all American radio stations are the same, which is just like everything else in homogenous American culture. Now, mind you, this is in response to a simple, "Oh, hi. Where are you flying to today?"

It seems like every trip I make, I have one encounter like this. And, aside from a friendly jest about hockey, I wouldn't dream of saying similar things about your country. Can a Canadian please explain this phenomenon to an American who otherwise enjoys his visits to your beautiful country?
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Old 07-02-2010, 03:26 PM
 
397 posts, read 607,620 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cpg35223 View Post
I'll weigh in an as a respectful American who has been to Canada many times on business, and has always enjoyed the professional and personal relationships he has forged.

.................................................. ....

Can a Canadian please explain this phenomenon to an American who otherwise enjoys his visits to your beautiful country?
I wish I could explain it. I think it comes from the need to validate Canada as a good country.

I'd be hard pressed to estimate the actual % who behave this way, but I believe it is relatively small. It is usually people who have never spent any real time in the US, or even outside their own small piece of the world. Yet they feel it necessary to expound on everything they believe is wrong with Americans.

I have had to travel extensively on business. I suspect I've seen more of the US than the average American. I've always found people to be just like at home in Canada. That is, each one is completely different from one person to the next.

I do believe there is less prejudice in Canada for blacks, but we seem to find plenty of fodder in other races. Some of the racial epithets I have heard used by folk I otherwise like and respect are completely indefensible.

I've found around the same % of Americans who feel the need to belittle my home country to me. I remember one conversation with somone who completely refused to believe Canada was in either World War. When I informed him we were in both long before the US, he flatly refused to believe me and saw no need to look it up. As I have said on more than one occasion, "It says more about you than what you are criticizing."

I have no good explanation for either side of the border. I think it just boils down the fact that a certain number of people in any group are jerks.
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Old 07-02-2010, 05:26 PM
 
1,746 posts, read 4,520,339 times
Reputation: 1166
I wished, Canadians stopped using the expression "Visible minorities".
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