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Old 04-03-2012, 10:00 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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Relative to Americans, for a new world country, this seems the case.

Obviously, Canada's high immigration rate is no secret and it's been about a generation since Trudeau's multiculturalism policy, but I have noticed that in the US, when it comes to "immigrants", birth is a strong point of contention -- there is a big difference in perception of whether he/she is born in or outside the country. Whereas in Canada much more focus tends to be on whether the "immigrant" is well-integrated or not. Birth as a notable feature is brought up far less.

A "birth certificate" controversy like what happened to Barack Obama a while ago does not sound like something that would happen here, and in practice our PM could be born outside Canada.

Not just the laws and whatnot but social attitudes show a difference. American culture seems to use "born on American soil" as a defining feature of being American much more than Canadian culture does (eg. I have never heard any equivalent expression "born on Canadian soil" -- as if it were a catchphrase). Indeed, I notice Americans, relative to us, seem to have a bit more curious buzzword concept associated with "soil". Even an American born in one state versus another will often seem to take pride in stating something about "soil" (eg. born on Oklahoma soil) and saying that birth ties them to that land.

I wonder is this just a byproduct of our higher immigration policy, or is it that we tend to less emphasize it in general (it could be a cultural thing regardless of immigration policy)?

 
Old 04-03-2012, 10:07 AM
 
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I wonder if really it isn't more about the right to privacy for public figures and the philosophy that as long as someone does a good job, who cares where they were born, who they sleep with, etc. I find Canadians in general just aren't interested in the skeletons in the closets of politicians, movie stars, etc. If Canadian politicians have affairs, are gay, sleep around, smoke pot, whatever is considered less mainstream to regular society - the average Canadian couldn't care less. It is not a newsworthy subject. We don't have the equivalent rag magazines to publish everyone's dirt - nor would they sell anyways. It's much more of a "mind your own business/life/religion" mindset in Canada.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 10:22 AM
 
Location: Hillsboro, OR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sunshineleith View Post
I wonder if really it isn't more about the right to privacy for public figures and the philosophy that as long as someone does a good job, who cares where they were born, who they sleep with, etc. I find Canadians in general just aren't interested in the skeletons in the closets of politicians, movie stars, etc. If Canadian politicians have affairs, are gay, sleep around, smoke pot, whatever is considered less mainstream to regular society - the average Canadian couldn't care less. It is not a newsworthy subject. We don't have the equivalent rag magazines to publish everyone's dirt - nor would they sell anyways. It's much more of a "mind your own business/life/religion" mindset in Canada.
This. It's actually common among many westernized Commonwealth countries it seems. Just look at Australia... their PM was born in Wales!

Simply put, Canadians are just not as ridiculously crazy with their politics as Americans are. Americans have a strong nationalistic fiber within their politics.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 10:39 AM
 
Location: Toronto
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In part though, I think there's also a cultural difference about the idea of "born on our soil". Maybe it has to do with the history of our respective nations (with the USA's strong sense of independence based on its early founding which they fought for, relative to ours).

For example, there was a thread in the "politics and controversies" forum a while not long ago titled "What happens if Obama is NOT a citizen" which included a poll about whether a president should be allowed to be born outside the US. It seems an overwhelming majority of posters voted that they should still have to be born in the country.

The justification seemed to be that it's feared that someone not a naturally born citizen might be not loyal enough to the nation. That seems unusual for me to understand why just being born on the soil is enough to imbue you with loyalty.

I wonder what if you posed the same question to Canadians?
 
Old 04-03-2012, 10:51 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stumbler. View Post
In part though, I think there's also a cultural difference about the idea of "born on our soil". Maybe it has to do with the history of our respective nations (with the USA's strong sense of independence based on its early founding which they fought for, relative to ours).

For example, there was a thread in the "politics and controversies" forum a while not long ago titled "What happens if Obama is NOT a citizen" which included a poll about whether a president should be allowed to be born outside the US. It seems an overwhelming majority of posters voted that they should still have to be born in the country.

The justification seemed to be that it's feared that someone not a naturally born citizen might be not loyal enough to the nation. That seems unusual for me to understand why just being born on the soil is enough to imbue you with loyalty.

I wonder what if you posed the same question to Canadians?
Interesting question. My gut reaction is that they should be Canadian born, but then you have guys like Michael Ignatieff who chose to live outside of Canada for eons, and then wanted to come back and run the show. Yeah. Not getting my vote. He was born on Canadian soil, but if push came to shove, I'd prefer someone who actually spent their life in Canada and knew what it meant to be Canadian.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 10:58 AM
 
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I'll try an answer. The average U.S. citizen places far more importance on appearance rather than substance.

Canadians on the other hand as an average would rather see a result than a mere illusion.

We know that patriotism is not a genetic quality but rather one of the mindset or "heart". It could be a feature as simplistic as our younger status as a nation with our "core" inheritance coming from predominantly the British Isles and European countries with bulk of descendants coming from those first settlers.

If a foreign born leader were to emerge as a saviour of their nation through his or her demonstrated and proven integrity or genius; would you not find that person acceptable as a candidate for higher office if they immigrated to your country?

Basing the suitability of a person to govern on their place of birth is ignoring all the best facts at hand while placing the priority on a genetic happenstance. That seems oxymoronic.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 11:12 AM
 
Location: Gatineau, Québec
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With respect to whomever leads the country, whether or not someone is eligible for the job is a question of constitutional law. In the U.S. the law says you have to be born in the United States. In Canada, you simply have to be a citizen (native-born or naturalized).

I suspect that the reason the laws differ goes back to the origins of the countries. The Americans rebelled against the British and "made a break" from established non-democratic rule from abroad. As such, anyone not born in the U.S. might have been seen as of suspect loyalty. It was deemed better to stick with the native-born only.

Canada's independence was an evolutionary process. There was no real break. In its beginnings as a country, Canada was not even completely independent and the first several Prime Ministers were all British-born, and we have had British-born Prime Ministers on and off since 1867, although they are now a rare and endangered species: the last one I think was the short-lived (as PM) John Turner in the 1980s.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 11:14 AM
 
Location: Hougary, Texberta
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I'll distill it further. It is, because it has to be. Being born in the U.S. is part of the mythos set down in the Constitution. Because the politicians then wanted to ensure that people like them got elected, not someone that could overthrown their revolution, they made it a requirement.

Like all things Constitutional, it has become this sacred creed and measuring rod against which you measure all things and people.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 03:38 PM
 
Location: Canada
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Yup, the rule about being born in the US was to exclude any Englishmen from becoming president and pulling the US back into the sphere of the Empire. They were trying very hard to set up a separate American ethniicity and cut themselves off from the tyranny and bloodshed of Europe. For this reason, America was extremely isolationist for much of it's early period, and the born in the USA thing is part of this tradition. Canada, on the other hand, never tried to cut itself off from the wider world because it's identity was as part of the wider British Empire. Even into twentieth century, the connection with the rest of the Empire and then the commonwealth was very important to Canada, and our head of state remains the Queen of Canada who is a British person. Thus the difference. Canadian nationalism is really quite young, our flag was made in the sixties and our constitution is only thirty years old. Indeed, every Canadian provincial flag contains within it references to Europe, which isn't the case in the much more self-assuredly new world United States which has weaker ties to the old world.
 
Old 04-03-2012, 05:28 PM
 
Location: Toronto
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Interesting responses, guys. Most of your reponses do have to do with the historical circumstances of Canada vs. the US shaping the attitude, which is an impression I kind of had.

I'm aware of the relative paths to nation-building (at least from the stuff I remember in history class back in school) they went through respectively but I just found it very interesting from a relatively modern point of view, how even if this attitude was born out of (no pun intended) a time when the US was still breaking free of the Empire, and the circumstances that applied then (the idea that anyone born on our soil we can trust), even if not so applicable now, still shapes differing North American worldviews in 2008 or 2012.

I wonder in the US, how many of those who raised the "birther conspiracy" topic were consciously thinking "if our president is born overseas, he may be more loyal to "his country" than to our country, the way the loyalists betrayed us to the redcoats back then."
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