Which countries do Canadians believe play a « mainly positive » role in the world? According to the latest BBC poll the answer is Germany, Britain, France and Japan. And those that Canadians think play a « mainly negative » role are, in order: Iran, North Korea, Pakistan, the United States and Israel.

It’s a bit of a shocker to find Canadians put the United States’ baleful influence right down there with North Korea, Iran and Israel.

Perhaps the poll reflects an anti-Bush attitude rather than an anti-American one. I always felt George Bush was more dangerous than Saddam Hussein ever was. The poll finds that even 36 per cent of Americans think their country’s influence is negative. Also a recent CBS poll found 80 per cent thought their country was going in the wrong direction.

Before recent events, Canadians, by 45 per cent to 40 per cent, thought China had a « mainly positive » role in the world.

Jeffrey Simpson in the Globe says we Canadians have « an annoying moral superiority » when it comes to the U.S. Do we?

Are we anti-American or are we anti-Bush. Is there a difference. After all, they elected him twice.



  1. 1

    Simpson is right. It is a laughable joke for Canadians to assert this. Anti-Americanism has always existed here and it only points to our lack of maturity. Canada should consider itself lucky it is a medium power with limited weight. As such, we’re never scrutinized. The U.S. sneezes wrong and the world examines it. We don’t appreciate the responsibilities the U.S. has. We just don’t. Sometimes we act like the jealous, pampered teenager. Canada has much to teach the U.S. and vice-versa but reactionary, smug anti-American rhetoric that comes from our politician is immature and counter-productive.

    France and Germany? Yeah, and we say Americans are ignorant?

  2. 2

    Neil, I’m hearing right? The Liberals want to pander to the hard liners and remove « press nine » on telephone menus? To reduce English services at the government level?

  3. 3
    Tom Says:

    The term ‘anti-American’ is a self-serving invention to shut down criticism. It is no accident that similar expressions are rarely, if ever, invoked by other countries.

  4. 4

    Tom, perhaps. But there is a difference between healthy criticism and saying you « hate those bastards » in public or claim that Bush « eats babies » in Parliament.

  5. 5
    Joanne Nicholls Says:

    This might be of interest.

  6. 6
    Chimera Says:

    I don’t relate to this poll. Except for very rare moments, I don’t ever consider myself to be part of « we. »

    The fact that I was born in a certain geographical location was not my fault. I therefore refuse to be lumped in with the rest of the inhabitants of that same geographical location.

    The government of this country is in place right now in spite of the wishes of the majority of its citizens, and I don’t accept that it speaks for me. I know I’m not the only Canadian who feels this way. And those of us who do are also careful not to collectivize the hapless citizens of other countries with faulty governments. Rather, we empathize with them.

    And if Canadians want to criticize other parts of the world, they should start by looking in their own mirrors, first.

  7. 7
    Tony Kondaks Says:


  8. 8
    Dez Says:

    Canadians live next door to the most powerful nation on Earth. It is perfectly understandable that many of them are less than willing to criticize the United States, lest they gain the attention of the giant and be squished like bugs.

    Fear not, oh proud Canadians!

    The USA is as likely to take notice of your whining as a whale would notice the gastric emissions of a remora hitching a ride on its belly. Frankly, we’ve got bigger fish to fry.

    So, feel free to vent your collective spleens. We really could not care less.

    Seriously. We couldn’t.

  9. 9

    Hi Dez,

    It’s good to hear from Washington State. Aren’t we neighbours out there?

  10. 10
    Dez Says:

    Yes, indeed. Good neighbors, in fact.

    Always happy to see Canadians down here, spending their money at our malls and buying our gas (which is still cheaper than yours, but not as much as it used to be). Some days I see as many BC license plates as WA ones, as I drive past Bellis Fair Mall.

    Please spend more money here, since our economy is rather… um… Bushed, right now.

  11. 11
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Americans have elected Bush twice? Or have they? I seem to recall that he had majorities in the Electoral college not in the popular vote. As for our dear Harper, 64% of Canadians did NOT vote for him although he acts like it was the otherway around and our opposition (?) parties are too wishy washy to bring him down for fear of losing ground to another opposition party since all the polls point to another minority P.C. governement.
    I do not hate Americans, they are as much victims of Bush and his Oily friends as the rest of the world. And yes, when the USA sneazes, we catch cold.

  12. 12
    John Says:

    « The USA is as likely to take notice of your whining as a whale would notice the gastric emissions of a remora hitching a ride on its belly. »

    I daresay, given the amount of blubber it counts, it’s no wonder the whale takes no notice.

  13. 13
    jim Says:

    Neil:-The word « American » identifies all of the western hemisphere. I take it you mean « USers » (citizens of the United States) I think the are some of the finest people individually, but get two or more Republicans together and they will subtract from the fountain of human knowledge.
    Bush truly represents the classic « Ugly American ». Shortly after I read the book I met one of them. I was watching a Russian ship working its way through the St Lawrence Seaway and the name of the vessel was printed with Cyrillic letters. This woman, on bus tour from the States, said to her husband « Why don’t they write the name in American? » Yes, I am superior to those types of Bushites. Des thinks that Canadians are buying US gas in WA. Des, the fuel comes from Canada. Yes, we have to keep a wary eye open to the machinations of the USers. Remember « You’re either with us or agin us ». Remember Phil Donohue, he was fired for not going along with that thinking, Remember Nixon’s Black List. Remember Canada’s decade long battle with the US over lumber. Canada won the case and the US refused to ante up. Remember 1812.

  14. 14
    Barbara Says:

    As an American living in Canada, I certainly do feel that many Canadians I meet are anti-American — not all, of course. That keeps me from becoming a Canadian citizen. I would feel obliged to hate myself to fit in.

    And yes, it is an unsufferable moral superiority and smugness. It is also an inferiority complex that boosts itself by putting others down. Sad, because Canada has so much to offer. It needn’t compare itself to anyone else. Other countries don’t obsess that way. Yet the constant question CBC interviewers ask nonCanadians is what they think of Canada. If you are truly convinced you are a decent country, it should not matter what others think.

    Read that article to which Joanne linked. There was an intelligent, self-critical American. They are profoundly demoralized by the direction in which Bush has led the country. They want to return to the ideals they cherished in their country. That is why Obama has such currency (in whatever sense of that word you prefer).

    « Are we anti-American or are we anti-Bush. Is there a difference. After all, they elected him twice. » Frankly, Neil, that is quite an unfair statement. They have suffered alot for their decision — not as much as the Iraqis, but considerably. They have the right to elect whomever they want and to bear the consequences of their decision. Keep in mind, the popular vote marginally favoured the Democrats and that most states are neither red nor blue, but purple.

    When Canadians can get over their neuroses long enough to become self-critical like that fellow in the article, when they acknowledge their own racism and sexism, when they see the log in their own eye as clearly as the splinter in another’s, I will feel more at home here. A pity, Canada is a great country.

  15. 15
    Dez Says:

    John – « …given the amount of blubber it counts, it’s no wonder the whale takes no notice. »

    Is that a fat joke? If so, it’s right on target. Nothing says « prosperity » like a surplus of morbidly obese citizens.

    Jim – « Des, the fuel comes from Canada. »

    Then why do you pay more for it at home? More taxes, maybe? And why do us USA’ers complain so much about our taxes, when almost all Western nations have higher taxes than we do?

    I’m noticing that a lot of people are blaming Bush for the many, many issues that the USA is responsible for. He’s just the figurehead, in my opinion. We are all culpable. He might be the worst president in the history of this nation, and the majority of us did not vote for him, but he’s still the President.

    Why? Bill Clinton, who by all estimates was doing a terrific job as President, was within inches of impeachment because of a sexual scandal (my favorite picket sign: « Someone give Bush a BJ so we can impeach him! »). Yet GWB has committed dozens of actual impeachable offenses, without a single Congressional Hearing regarding impeachment. Why is this man still in charge?

    The longer this goes on, the more I look about me in horror. I want to grab people on the street by their white collars and look into their eyes, and then ask, « Why are you not outraged? »

    Of course I already know the answer. We live too comfortably with our bread and circuses. We don’t really believe the lies, but we are not outraged enough to get off the couch to do something about it.

    How much can we take, I wonder, before we are outraged enough?

  16. 16

    Barbara, outstanding and bang on.

    I’ve met my share of « ugly Canadians » but dare not call them that.

    Yes, the link to the article was excellent. We rarely – if ever – see such introspective and critical writing in Canada. We don’t have the kind of public, political vibrancy like they do down there. Of course, we don’t need to because we’re the best.

    Don’t forget: we need to rank our historical figures in a top 10 list. I’ve never seen the Americans, Italians, French, Germans, British and so on do that. That would be a LONG list.

    We do it to prove we exist. We’re like one big Al Franken skit: « We’re good enough and people like us! »

    John, let me be as frank as I can be. As a former investment advisor, Canadians are being fleeced like you would not believe.

    I had written a rebuttal but it was 600 words so I spared you all.

  17. 17
    Chimera Says:

    « I’ve met my share of “ugly Canadians” but dare not call them that. »

    Why not?

    Go ahead and call a spade a spade — and to its face. Might shake it up a bit and remind it that it’s not the only card in the neighborhood — there are also diamonds, hearts, and clubs in the pack.

    Call the ugly Canadian out on his behavior. It won’t stop him from being Canadian, but it might stop him from being ugly.

    Dez: Great ta see ya here! Stick around. Please!

  18. 18

    Ok, Chimera:


  19. 19
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    [Thinking outside the box] After 911 Canadians had the greatest empathy for the United States , as did many countries of the world. It was a pause that had people thinking of all the good the United States stood for.

    I think that Senator Barak Obama will be the next President of the United States. I believe his mandate will bring about a change that will place the United States in a position that will reclaim its prestige in the world. However, my pet peeve has always been and Obama always asserts it that he will be the next President of the United States of America. Hello, You are not my President and I am an American, albeit a Canadian one. The U.S is the only Country that identifies itself with its continent, grabbing it all. I am also annoyed about Flag Waving. When we visit another Country bring and wave our Countrys flag. But at home, give me a break, except for Official and Governmental Celebrations. On our balconys at home in Canada, We already know your a Canadian, you live here. Now I have a Montreal Canadians Hockey Flag on my car, thats different.

  20. 20
    Barbara Says:

    Think of it as the « United States IN America », Peter. That’s its meaning. US folk don’t think they ARE the continent. Most of them know Canada is the sovereign country north of their borders and filling out the northern reaches of North America (and Mexico to the south). I can’t think of another convenient way of saying « citizen of the United States of America » other than « American. » By the way, on official forms, you do not designate your citizenshiip as « American », but rather as a citizen of the USA.

    As for the flag-waving, it is something we grew up with. We are taught to love that flag and to respect it. I suppose, in some way, it replaces the Queen as standing for something. It is more convenient to carry one about and wave it than a photo of the Queen. I suppose she would make better company for tea, however. It is a cultural thing. You can’t expect everyone to be alike culturally. By the way, the Danes are pretty good at flying their flag, too. It is a ubiquitous symbol — perhaps to make it clear that this territory is no longer Germany. 😉 Surely, there is more to being Canadian than just living here.

    And Go Habs!!!!

  21. 21
    Peter LeBlanc Says:

    Way to Go, Barbara.

  22. 22

    Canadians are flag wavers too – when it suits them.

    Obama will not bring about change. Pay close attention to what he’s saying. I’ll give him credit for taking on touchy issues and for being more consistent than Hillary but I wouldn’t be sold on him.

    One interesting thing about Obama is the company he keeps. Not the most, um, best of folk. We jump on the Bush’s for their attachment to the House of Saud. Then Obama is fair game for his leanings towards terrorists, racists and anti-Americans.

    McCain will probably win.

  23. 23

    Make that American terrorists. Sorry.

  24. 24
    Cornelius T. Zen Says:

    Good morrow, all! The difference between the current American government and the terrorists is…you can reason with the terrorists.
    I have encountered many American people, most of whom I’ve found to be kind, understanding and tolerant. However, whenever any politician wishes to garner their support, the appeal will always be to the basest nature of the voter. « Vote for me, or be very, very afraid. »
    No politician can afford to be honest, or sensible, or understanding. Every politician that has tried was either unsuccessful in seeking office, or shot for his troubles.
    We only hear the loudest and most strident voices in American society. Those voices do not represent the majority of the people at all. The world needs to listen for the quiet, caring, sensible and honest voices of ordinary Americans. I fear those are the voices that will never be heard, until somebody manages to get the loud, strident ones to shut the *bleep* up. You’ll undestand, I’m sure, if I do not hold my breath. CTZen

  25. 25

    « The difference between the current American government and the terrorists is…you can reason with the terrorists. »

    I truly hope this is a joke.

    If I had an innocent child who died by the blade and hand of an evil sword and I read this…

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