December 21, 2005


Canada-US relations: Why can’t we be friends?" (Brian Russell, Globe and Mail, December 20th, 2005)

Canada-U.S. relations are at their worst since the early 1960s, perhaps ever. One need only look quickly at the raft of concerns that have caused friction in the past five years to see the pattern - missile defence, softwood lumber, border security, beef, Iraq..... need I go on?[...]

The answer is not an economic one, it is social and cultural; the two countries are moving further apart. On almost every important social issue you can think of the U.S as a nation (not just its government) is, or has moved, to the right while Canada has not. Regional differences matter, but on major social issues the U.S is a more conservative, southern country than ever before. It is also taking a view of its role in the world that is both narrower (for us or against us) and broader (democratic evangelism) at the same time.

The result of this disconnect is a much stronger distrust on both sides of the border. More Canadians regard the U.S. as the home of rabid fanatics and more Americans regard Canada as host to virtual pacifist socialism. This distrust has led to animosity in Canada against any intimation of American dominance or leadership and a knee-jerk anti-Americanism. It has also led to an increasing isolation of Canada in the corridors of power in Washington and a concomitant diminution of influence.

The problem of distrust and ignorance is spreading its tentacles into every aspect of the relationship. The most obvious examples are economic, but the reason the Prime Minister feels it is good politics to America-bash is because it is. It speaks to a significant stream in Canada's national consciousness. This stream is soon to become a dangerous whitewater rafting destination unless it is diverted and emptied, not by passive acquiescence but by a new commitment to reality on both sides.[...]

Canada and the U.S. need to throw out the hoary stereotypes and develop a new relationship based on a shared understanding of what each is today. Both sides need to challenge their assumptions about the other and look beyond the past. A binational dialogue and increases in exchanges would be a start. This new relationship may not be warm and fuzzy, but it will certainly be more realistic and productive. After the initial shock wears off, we might actually like each other.

Dialogue and exchanges, that’s the ticket. In the spirit of improving cross-border relations, Brothersjudd is pleased to announce we will be hosting a workshop on Canadian-American relations, at which Orrin Judd, Robert Schwartz and Raoul Ortega will try to help their Canadian neighbours shed a few hoary stereotypes about rabid fanatics.

Posted by Peter Burnet at December 21, 2005 5:58 AM

Just ignore them like we do New Zealand. It'll drive them nuts, but who cares.

Posted by: Amos at December 21, 2005 6:30 AM

Dear Canada,

Please send me 10 pounds of frozen walleye fillets, and I will really like you.

Your friend,

Posted by: AllenS at December 21, 2005 6:35 AM

"Canada-US relations are at their worst since the early 1960's,PERHAPS EVER."

It is hard to take another word of the article seriously after such silliness. Those relastions just might have been a little worse while the countries were at war, or while Canada fomented and abetted the depredations of savage tribes on our border.

Posted by: Lou Gots at December 21, 2005 7:07 AM

Behold, how good and pleasant it is when brothers dwell in unity!

It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down upon the beard, upon the beard of Aaron, running down on the collar of his robes!

It is like the dew of Hermon, which falls on the mountains of Zion!

For there the Lord has commanded the blessing, life for evermore.

Posted by: Dave W at December 21, 2005 8:17 AM

Who cares? Canada is boring.

Posted by: erp at December 21, 2005 8:20 AM

Canada? Canada who? Is that a country?

Posted by: Bret at December 21, 2005 8:55 AM

Unplug their TVs and take away their newspapers for about a year and you can solve the stereotype problem.

Posted by: John at December 21, 2005 10:04 AM

If every single person in Canada hates us, this will hurt us how?

Posted by: Bob at December 21, 2005 10:20 AM

I'm going to Montreal next week, I will make an effort to apologize to every man, woman, and child I see. Hopefully that should clear things up.

Posted by: BJW at December 21, 2005 11:06 AM

You forgot to mention that your workshop is being held in a place where Canadians are found in great numbers this time of year— Orlando.

Posted by: Raoul Ortega at December 21, 2005 1:11 PM

Have a beer, hoser.

Posted by: Jayson at December 21, 2005 3:13 PM

"Restoring relationships"=="returning to a state where it is once again safe to kick the USA"

Posted by: Ptah at December 21, 2005 5:43 PM

Plenty where I will be next week, Palm Beach.

Posted by: Robert Schwartz at December 22, 2005 1:38 AM

Has the charity match-up between the Gray Cup champion Edmonton Eskimos (oh my, Canadian sports teams have politically incorrect/racially offensive nicknames too) and the NCAA BCS winner been set up yet?

Posted by: Dave W at December 22, 2005 11:51 PM