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Are Americans Becoming More Like Canadians?

Sunday, June 16, 2013


Is it true that Americans have been virtually hosed down with maple syrup and issued ceremonial toques? (That's pronounced "took" to rhyme with "spook": meaning those knitted winter hats you pull down over your ears . . . brrrrrr).

Or is it Canadians who are becoming more like Americans?

One of the bemusing things I experience quite regularly on Spark people is . . . um . . . the differences between American and Canadian culture. Which can be pretty vast. All the more so since we share a border and TV and magazines and Internet and food manufacturing and free trade and . . . there seems to be an assumption that we're more similar than we are.

Mostly when I trip over a surprising divergence I just bite my tongue and refrain from commenting: I consider that I am a "guest" on an American site and should blend into the pervading norms as much as possible.

Besides, and even though I am a very proud Canadian, it would not be at all Canadian to boast about any chauvinistic perceptions of Canadian cultural superiority! That would be rude: and Canadians have a rather well-deserved reputation for politeness. Excessive politeness, probably. At least on the surface.

Nevertheless, as a Canadian I am culturally predisposed to prefer what are generally Canadian attitudes. About gun control. About same sex marriage. About "right to choose" when it comes to abortion and euthanasia (while recognizing these are never choices that should be made lightly, and generally not the choices I'd make for myself.) About cultural and religious diversity. About limits on individual rights, balanced with collective rights. All of these all quintessential Canadian compromises . . . . even if they don't work perfectly all of the time.

Not that I perceive Canadian values to be consistently superior to American values, of course I do not. There is so much to admire in American friendliness, American entrepreneurship, American know-how, American resilience. And I am a huge huge Obama fan (*ducking down, I know not all Spark members share that adulation!*)

Now this new study says that Canadians, with our Conservative federal government, are edging politically closer to Americans, with your Democratic government.

One thing for sure -- and it's the thing that brings us all to this site. We're pretty comparable with respect to those adult obesity stats: 24% here, 34% there . . . . with 10% increase in both countries over the past several decades, and edging closer to parity all the time!


Obesity may not be the characteristic which either Americans or Canadians would most want to have in common.

Yeah, Canadians and Americans at Spark are joined in battling against that one, for sure!
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • CANNIE50
    I live in a community located just 30some miles from the US/Canadian border. I love the sign at the border, the one that references us as being "children of a common mother". I also love the quote "Canadians are Americans, but with charm" emoticon I love Canadians. As a matter of fact, I am heading up north on my birthday, next week, with my best friend. We are going to do the "Grouse Grind" hike - an arduous task, for sure, but one we are looking forward to. I just love your blogs. Maybe that is why I "saved them up" and read a batch of them all at once!
    1703 days ago
  • HFAYE81
    Thanks for your insight! I read a Canadian knitting blog, and I love hearing the different perspective emoticon
    1711 days ago
    I'm American and feel the health care 'Obama' care did not go far enough I wish it was more like what you Canadians have 'True Health Care' !!
    1711 days ago
    Another great blog and link to an interesting article. I've come to depend on you for the view north of the border.

    As a member of the senior citizen demographic, I've been amazed at my contemporaries who complain about "socialism" while collecting their social security and medicare coverage. What do they think that is? Maybe socialism is when the government does something for some other people?
    1711 days ago
    I read an interesting book recently comparing the history and character of New Zealand to the United States. The basic premise was that New Zealanders value fairness while the US values freedom. My mother was from New Zealand, so that gave me a different slant on a lot of things. New Zealand has had socialized medicine for a long time. I saw how important that was to my grandmother, so I'm not afraid of it. I'm one of those people who thinks "Obamacare" didn't go far enough. New Zealand was also the first country in the world to give women the right to vote. They saw it as "fair" for women to vote, and for everyone to have health care.

    Don't be afraid to express Canadian view points on this site. I love diversity. You can learn something from everyone whether you agree with them or not.
    1711 days ago
    I try to keep myself aware of the global membership here on SP when blogging, ranting or whatever.
    America is so diverse I'm not really sure there is such a thing as American values any more, other than some homogenized mom and apple pie thing ( too much pie, apparently).
    Although I believe it is our diversity that makes us (and Canada, too) great.

    1712 days ago
    Got unsubscribed in my business.... looking forward to catching up on reading your blogs! Have a great week. CJ
    1712 days ago
    Jeez I wish I could see the same trends the author of this article sees. I suppose with some of these events it might appear that there is a convergence, however, down on the streets at the personal level I see the same-old, same-old mind-blowing 50/50 gridlock on almost every issue...SO frustrating!

    But yes, let's hope we are at least 60-40 in favor of building healthy lifestyles!

    1712 days ago
  • NANCY-
    We are citizens of the world. Borders do not mean much to me, except now I need my passport to visit. Sigh! I won't let that stop me.
    I had to smile when he(Globe) spoke about maple syrup... we make it here in New England too.

    That said... in a way we are all Americans. (North Americans) Just like across the pond they are Europeans or Africans. But those labels seem to only divide us. A friend is a friend, no matter what part of the globe they are from. There has been too much us and them, not enough we.

    What does sadden me is what U.S. corporations are doing to the world all for corporate greed. It is shameful. Thankfully we finally have intelligent folks in the White House again.(Who can actually speak English and) care about the health of the citizens.

    Oops, I digress. Technically we are all guests on the site.
    1713 days ago
    I've been told by people in both New Zealand and Australia that their countries have rising rates of obesity, and that they both will soon be like the US!

    Re Canadian politeness: I recently heard a quotation about the Dutch immigrants in Australia - that the British were too polite to be honest, but the Dutch were too honest to be polite.

    Loved that!
    1713 days ago
  • _LINDA
    I think its great to have a neighbouring nation very similar to ours, but with unique differences. Its wonderful to share common goals on this website and cement our friendship with our US friends. Maybe in the end, this will be the Spark that changes lives for the better across the borders.
    1713 days ago
    When I saw your blog title, my first thought was, "I sure hope so!"

    Canada has much to admire, from your self-admitted politeness to your scenic vistas. I cherish my Canadian friends.
    1713 days ago
    Good for you!
    1713 days ago
    As you feel you're a "guest" on a US based site, I'm also constantly aware that the battle for healthy lifestyle habits has no borders. Not just Canadians, but Swedes, UK folks, people in Australia, and the subcontinent of India come here. Hopefully, we who post here are sensitive to the international nature of the services the site provides!
    1713 days ago
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