Canadians too patriotic for sensitive Americans

You read the headline right: Canadians too patriotic for sensitive Americans. A story in the National Post reports on findings from focus groups carried out in four American cities where the Canadian government is building consulates:

In focus groups held this fall in four U.S. cities where the federal government is opening consulates, Americans acknowledged they don’t know much about Canadians and have low awareness that the country had not supported the U.S. in the war in Iraq.

“Some participants expressed a certain amount of annoyance at what is perceived as a systematic attempt by Canadians to make the statement that they are not Americans by sporting the maple leaf,” said the recently released report.

You’d think that a country that debates the legality of burning the flag would understand if people from another country would wear their own flag proudly, but noooo…

The report says even Americans who blame the Bush administration to some extent for the country’s poor relations with the world do not seem to understand why friendly countries and neighbours such as Canada would want to distance themselves from Americans.

For instance, an American from San Diego is quoted saying: “What bugs me about Canadians, if I may, is that they wear that damn patch on their bags, the Canadian flag patch. That way, they differentiate themselves from us.”

“They look like us, they sound sorta like us, they got most of the same fast-food chains…why ain’t they us?”

Really, my American friends, relax. Have a beer. Er. make that two, since it’s more watery than ours.

Near the end of the story:

Most participants said they were “shocked” by a fact sheet about Canada that they were presented during the focus groups.

“A few express some concern over the U.S.’s implied dependence on Canada for energy . . . However, Canada should be careful not to appear “boastful,” which could backfire, as Americans do not like to be reminded of any kind of dependence on another country,” the report warned.

Hey, dudes, we’re your friends, for Chrissakes! Your neighbours! Your poorer, quirkier, cooler neighbours! The Simpsons to your Flanders!

You want a real cause for concern? You should be considerably more shocked at your dependence on Saudi Arabia and their pals. Think about it: we sew flag patches on our backpacks and tell the occasional “dumb American” joke; those two-faced rat-bastards sold you jet fuel and then used the proceeds to train people to fly that fuel into the World Trade Center.

I’m sure I speak for the majority of Canadians when I say We like our American neighbours (in fact, we find some of you downright cuddly).

Maybe what I need to do is invite all of America over to my place for a party. You bring the apple pie and the rock and roll, we’ll provide poutine and beer, we’ll all pile into the hot tub truck and watch Red Dawn (“Wolveriiiiiines!”). Sound like fun?

22 replies on “Canadians too patriotic for sensitive Americans”

An article in the National Post tells Canadians that we should bow our heads, censor ourselves, and govern our behaviour based on meek (but sharp) attention to what Americans think? Quick, the smelling salts, I feel faint with surprise.

As a non-Canadian, I can see where they are coming from with the overuse of the maple leaf. I’ve actually written an essay on it last spring that I keep meaning to repost to the blog, but I’m too lazy to see if it’s owned by me or by the contest I entered it in.

Anyway, I get the leaf part. I have never seen any other country wear their flag’s symbol EVERYWHERE, but I don’t see why it makes them ANGRY… To me it’s just slightly silly.

I’ll have to dig out my flag patch essay, it’s somewhere on a UofT website as a PDF, but I don’t know where…


I heard about this on the radio this morning

I find it funny that “THEY” think “WE” are too patriotic.

I thought the reason behind our patriotism was so that we weren’t confused as Americans.

I bet anyone that more americans have a USA flag hanging in a window or outside their homes than Canadians with Canada flags.

I was going to say talk about a self-centred, hypocritical bunch, but that’s generalizing too far, and really it would only refer to the people quoted – to get better readership/ratings. However I’d like to bitchslap the guy who said “they’re just like us”. Well then buddy, I supposed you could have stayed British and not bothered with the Independence thing.

For those who don’t know, many Canadians wear the patch when traveling abroad to avoid the presumption of being American. I’ve heard that some Americans have taken to this practice too. Why? Because internationally Canadians have a better reputation than the Americans. No traveler wants to be a target of anti-American sentiment.

I do find it terribly hypocritical that those surveyed are ‘annoyed’ at seeing another country’s emblem sported around. I suppose they corner that market.

Just for the record, I am ashamed of my country. I am American and I am proud of American ideals. It would be nice if America would live up to them. I’m with the Canadians on the issue of the War, and would like to personally apologize for the stupidity of our present President, who represents only a minority of the population in this country, yet acts like he has a mandate from them and Providence itself. I am ashamed, and I apologize.

Joshua Day

Roanoke, VA USA

who went and forgot his login password and is therefore technically anonymous

I think it’s more like ‘ok, ok, you’re better than us. We get that. Now would you stop rubbing it in?’

I thought there were an awful lot of canadian flags about when I visited Toronto last summer. Then my native guide helpfully pointed out that it was only a few days after Canada Day.

Yeah, well in defence of Americans, look at the cities they did the study in. San Diego? Insert joke about California Governer Here. Raleigh? Insert joke about how ass backwards the south is. Denver? Insert joke about ski bunnies and rich folk. Houston? When will people learn that Texas is not America. I heart Northeast U.S.

Interesting article though.

You guys really need to drop the watery beer jokes. The Northeast coast of America is the bastion of craft beer brewing. If you have the opportunity, sample anything from Victory Brewing, Stoudts, High Point Wheat Beer aka Ramstein, Otter Creek,�the list is endless.

Canadian Lager has (IMO) made the unfortunate desicion to emulate the big (crap) three American brewing giants.

You are correct — many American microbreweries are producing some pretty fine stuff these days.

We still reserve the right to make fun of your weed.

Weed?? What’s that?

IMO, this article is quite humorous. It seems plausible that these “focus groups” did thier best to find the most ignorant individuals for quotations. As an American, I have never experienced this supposed US vs. THEM mentality. I have lived with and currently work with Canadians. They like it here just fine and no one gives anyone grief regarding the Maple Leaf.

Hey, Josh Landau? Regarding your comment that the President is supported by a minority or citizens, you may want to get your facts straight. The Republicans won landslide victories during the mid-term elections.

Regarding your apology for our ‘bad’ behavior, spare me. My upstairs neighbor lost her 34 year old NYFF brother on 9/11. He had two kids – one with juvenile M.S., the other afflicted with autism. No trace of his body was ever found. Our downstairs neighbors lost their good friend – a pastry chef at Windows on the World – she was from Hawaii and had resigned during August of 2001 so that she could return home. She was begged to stay on until someone of her calibre could be found to replace her. She agreed – her decision resulted in her death. No trace of her body was found.

Regarding the posting warning how we should view our Saudi “friends”, I couldn’t agree more.

Sorry for the egregious spelling/grammar mistakes – I’m at work and hustled through that reply.

You’re forgetting the Midwest, which beats the egotistical and rude Northeast any day. Visit the greater St. Louis area (nobody lives in downtown St. Louis) and you’ll see what I mean. Also, we have all four seasons, unlike the majority of the country.

Joey, aside from this false assumption that either Canada or America can say much that’s good about their beer (ahem, Eng./Ire. really win this battle, and the Belgians aren’t far behind), I can’t say I’d have much of a problem with Canadian patriotism (and this coming from the most hubristic section of America, the NYC region, where everyone believes that, by virtue of living in or near the City, one achieves demigod status). German patriotism might give me the willies, but I’m Eastern European. Every time a German gets patriotic, my family does the 3,000 mile dash.

As a Minnesotan, I break bread w/ Canadians on a daily basis. Josh has no business apologizing for me. I am not ashamed of my country & don’t expect Canadians to be, either. If Canadians wave the flag, more power to ’em. I’m more concerned w/ what I percieve as a lack of patriotism among my Canadian friends. Was reading an article in the Yomiuri Shinbun (will try to find a link) about how most Canadians have very little time for nationalism. My personal experience verifies this. Since Japan has formally renounced wars of aggression, it should be no surprise that the Japanese press portrayed Canadian cynicism as enlightened.

On the other hand, nationalism is a very human tendancy. If you can’t attach your sense of national identity to a modern, democratic, liberal Canada-what will you attach it to? Quebec nationalism, sure. Cosmopolitan metropolises like Toronto, NY, Vancouver & LA act like an oasis of global culture. What about the rest of Canada?

Western, land locked Canada is increasingly becoming a haven for white supremacists, not unlike Idaho & Montana in the USA. Say what you will about my country, but white seperatists are on the fringe of American culture. Sick of multi-racial America, many of them are fleeing north, where there is no sense of being “Un-Canadian” & the racial diversity is relatively non-existant. You Canucks get stuck with the albatross of Neo-Nazis as representatives of the Canadian culture! Because of your laid back culture, these fascists aren’t nearly as marginalized as they are in America.

I’m not accusing Canadians of being closet white supremacists-that would be silly. But I do worry you are becoming more & more like Europe-where a tide of ultra-nationalists (Haider, Le-Pen, Fini, Seselj, etc) have snuck into mainstream politics through the back door of power sharing governments. Hope I’m wrong.

It’s just like the Americans to critisize Canadians for not being patriotic enough (“be more like us”) and then turn around and whine and complain when we wear a Canadian flag or pin on a backpack.

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