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Old 12-10-2003, 10:26 PM   #1
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Canada's View on Social Issues Is Opening Rifts With the U.S.

From the NY Times:

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TORONTO, Dec. 1 - Canadians and Americans still dress alike, talk alike, like the same books, television shows and movies, and trade more goods and services than ever before. But from gay marriage to drug use to church attendance, a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values.

A more distinctive Canadian identity - one far more in line with European sensibilities - is emerging and generating new frictions with the United States.

"Being attached to America these days is like being in a pen with a wounded bull," Rick Mercer, Canada's leading political satirist, said at a recent show in Toronto. "Between the pot smoking and the gay marriage, quite frankly it's a wonder there is not a giant deck of cards out there with all our faces on it."

Mr. Mercer acknowledged in an interview that he was overstating the case for laughs - two Canadian provinces have legalized gay marriage, and Ottawa has moved to decriminalize use of small amounts of marijuana. But in the view of many experts the two countries are heading in different directions, at least for the time being.

Recent disagreements over trade, drugs and the war in Iraq, where Canada has refused to send troops, has made the relationship more contentious and Canadians increasingly outspoken about the things that separate them from their American neighbors.

"The two countries are sounding more different - after 9/11, dramatically more different," noted Gil Troy, an American historian who teaches at McGill University in Montreal. "You hear a lot more static and you see more brittleness."

Of course there have been frictions before, for instance during the Vietnam War, when Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau welcomed American draft evaders, but the differences in those years were more political than social. Analysts say that Canada and the United States have always been similar yet different, and that the differences are often accentuated at the margins.

But today, many analysts and ordinary Canadians said in interviews around the country, the differences appear to have moved center stage, particularly in social and cultural values.

The nations remain like-minded in pockets, but the center of gravity in each has changed. French-speaking Quebec, with nearly a quarter of the population and its open social attitudes, pulls Canada to the left, just as the South and Bible Belt increasingly pull the United States in the opposite direction, particularly on issues like abortion, gay marriage and capital punishment.

None of those have resonated much over the last decade in Canada, where the consensus on social policy seems more solidly formed, its fissures narrower and less exploitable.

Chris Ragan, a McGill University economist, observed: "You can be a social conservative in the U.S. without being a wacko. Not in Canada."

Drugs are one point of departure. A bill to decriminalize small amounts of marijuana is working its way through the lower house of Parliament, bringing threats from the White House that such a law could slow trade at the border.

Recently, while musing about his retirement plans, Prime Minister Jean Chrétien said he might just kick back and smoke some pot. "I will have my money for my fine and a joint in the other hand," he said with a smile. The glibness of the remark made it nearly impossible to imagine an American president uttering it. But in a nation where the dominant west coast city, Vancouver, has come to be known as Vansterdam, few Canadians blinked.

When Massachusetts's highest court ruled for gay marriage, the issue loomed over American politics. Conservatives vowed to change the Constitution. President Bush said he would defend marriage. Even the major Democratic presidential candidates backed away from supporting gay marriage outright. Contrast that with Canada, where two provincial courts issued similar rulings this year. With little anguish, Canada became only the third country - after the Netherlands and Belgium - to allow same-sex marriage as a matter of civil rights.

Canadians themselves are not wholly united on the issue. Most elderly and rural Canadians express reservations, and the Canadian Anglican Church is almost as divided over homosexuality as the American Episcopal Church. Still, Canadians remain tolerant of the shift.

More than 1,500 gay and lesbian couples have married since the court rulings. "The Canadian reaction to same-sex marriage has been mostly positive," said Neil Bissoondath, an acclaimed Trinidadian-born Canadian novelist and social critic.

But the same issue in the United States "has upset the fundamentalist Christians who drive a lot of the politics in the country, especially with the present administration in power," Mr. Bissoondath added.

Rachel Brickner, 29, a political science graduate student at McGill originally from Detroit, said that despite her own liberal views, she sometimes tired of the anti-Americanism she encountered among Canadian students.

After the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, she said, an old roommate told her that "the U.S. deserved 9/11 because we're bullies."

"Canadians are quick to blame the United States for not knowing about Canada," she said, "but Canadians make a lot of ignorant statements about the U.S." No Canadian city reveals differences as much as Vancouver. It looks like any American city, except for a drug culture that is so abundantly open. The police rarely interfere with bars, storefronts and even offices where people can buy or smoke marijuana. A "compassion club" distributes marijuana legally to cancer patients and others who have doctors' notes.

The city opened a publicly financed and supervised injection site for heroin users in September. The federal government, meanwhile, is preparing to start an experimental heroin distribution program for addicts in Toronto, Montreal and Vancouver in 2004.

The changes in marriage and drug laws, said Michael Adams, a Toronto consultant and polling expert, "means Canada is moving in the opposite direction with the United States and closer to Europe."

In his new book "Fire and Ice: The United States, Canada and the Myth of Converging Values," he argues that greater Canadian tolerance reflects a fundamental difference in outlook about everthing from the ethnic and linguistic diversity of immigrants to the relative status of the sexes.

Mr. Adams notes that weekly church attendance among Canadians has plummeted since the 1950's while American church attendance has remained virtually constant.

To many commentators the two countries seem to be exchanging their traditional roles, one founded in America's birth as a revolutionary country and Canada's as a counterrevolutionary alternative.

During the Depression, under the New Deal of Franklin D. Roosevelt, the United States was the progressive force, while Canada stubbornly held on to conservative economic policies.

By the mid-1960's, though, Canada shifted to a far more activist government, moving to a national health insurance system. Not long afterward, the Vietnam War began siphoning popularity from the Great Society experiment of President Johnson. The trends have only widened since.

Not all analysts see a big, lasting divergence. Some like Peter Jennings, the ABC News broadcaster who was born in Toronto and became a dual American and Canadian citizen in May, believe that Canadians have actually drawn closer to Americans. Nevertheless, Mr. Jennings said Canada had become "a socially more relaxed kind of place."

"Canada, as it is with some of the European countries," he added, "is trying to balance some of the market forces with public policy, which is not as apparent in the United States, where the pursuit of happiness and individualism are very much alive."

Still, a cultural gulf is widening.

"In the 70's we were taught Canada would be absorbed by the United States, and in the 80's it looked like it was happening," recalled Douglas Coupland, the Canadian author known for his cultural commentaries on both sides of the border. "Then came the latter part of the 90's and it was like some high school class 16-millimeter film where you see the chromosome duplicates, then realigns, and finally the cell splits.

"And that process only seems to be quickening in recent months."
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Old 12-10-2003, 11:19 PM   #2
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This reminds me of how Americans are too stubborn and manipulated for their own good. Canada has proven that the world didn't end with universal health care or with the legalization of pot or with the morals of non-church going masses. Canada seems like a wonderful place to live, which makes me wonder why we stubborn, ignorant, yet often manipulated Americans can't learn from their accomplishments? Is it really too hard to apply their plan of health care to our own people? We have people dying, for Christ's sake!!!!!!! Dying! Because of greed. We have people going to jail and subsequently losing their rights to happy existence because of the drug war. We have millions of people who attend church every Sunday, who are too righteous to see the forest for the trees.

I love the Canadian agenda. Can't we do that here?

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Old 12-11-2003, 01:21 AM   #3
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is the Mayo Clinic in Canada?
other than great strip bars and sexy mooses..and an occassional tribute band.. what IS CANADA really good for..?

Please tell me and the Iraqi free press.

diamondbruno

please dont mention..angry hockey players that CANNOT handle their available ladies..

thank you
db9
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Old 12-11-2003, 01:28 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
is the Mayo Clinic in Canada?
other than great strip bars and sexy mooses..and an occassional tribute band.. what IS CANADA really good for..?

Please tell me and the Iraqi free press.

diamondbruno

please dont mention..angry hockey players that CANNOT handle their available ladies..

thank you
db9

the bottom line is= Canadians are weak and Americans have better organisms..

thank u.
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:22 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond



the bottom line is= Canadians are weak and Americans have better organisms..

thank u.
Canada doesn't have diamond.

Seriously though....

My gf is Canadian, and I as well have other Canadian friends... I do see the differences.

One interesting observation though, is that to me, it really is apparent that somewhere around the 1950s or 1960s Canada went on a more divergent path. Canada still has the innocence that the US seemed to have (socially) through the 50s, yet has chosen to deal with the 'problems' more quielty and in a less confrontational way - a more 'diplomatic' way.

Of course, the larger the population, the more 'problems' are magnified. The entire country of Canada has about the same population as my state (CA), and less cars than all of CA, yet.... it dwarfs the size of CA.

I like the 'innocence' Canada still has. Do I think it will last...? No.
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:56 AM   #6
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Quote:
far more in line with European sensibilities
It went downhill from here.
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Old 12-11-2003, 09:57 AM   #7
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I think Canada seems like a nice place to live. I live in the U.S. "Bible Belt" and I hate the politics and social attitudes. It's harder to fight key problems like AIDS.
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Old 12-11-2003, 01:35 PM   #8
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I love living in New Mexico and part of that has to do with the fact that I have a great job, something not easy to find here. So if I lost my job, the first place I'd consider checking out is Vancouver.
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Old 12-11-2003, 01:55 PM   #9
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See the thing i love is how the entire world believes Canada has de-criminalized pot. We havent. The bill was about to be brought forward but nevere did. It might come back in January but who knows.

The political and social landscape of this country is so different depending on what provience you are from. Alberta is very conservative, it is very Pro-US. Alberta is what the rest of Canadians call red-neck country, really it isnt. But because we dont vote Liberal weve gotta be called something.

The East is very Liberal and has the bulk of the Population and thus has the power and can pass bills that reflect their views, thus leaving the rest of Canada out (WEST).

Eastern Canadians know what i'm talking about.

Here's one Canadian that smokes pot but doesnt think it should be legalized, is againist gay marriage (civil unions maybe), never should have supported the US in Iraq, and loves Europe. Figure that one out!
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:37 PM   #10
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Originally posted by nbcrusader


It went downhill from here.
Yep. slowly going to the same level of America,..
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:40 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally posted by nbcrusader


far more in line with European sensibilities

It went downhill from here.
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Old 12-11-2003, 04:43 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman
The East is very Liberal and has the bulk of the Population and thus has the power and can pass bills that reflect their views, thus leaving the rest of Canada out (WEST).

Eastern Canadians know what i'm talking about.
The Reform (aka. Alliance, now Conservative) party is also very good at divisive politics.
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:05 PM   #13
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Canada hides behind Queen Elizabeth's skirt
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:18 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
Canada hides behind Queen Elizabeth's skirt
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:38 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally posted by diamond
Canada hides behind Queen Elizabeth's skirt
http://forum.interference.com/t84578.html



he mingles w/the great ones..Kings, Queens and Heads Of States

DB9
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Old 12-11-2003, 05:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman
See the thing i love is how the entire world believes Canada has de-criminalized pot. We havent.
Well then disregard my previous post.




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Old 12-11-2003, 06:26 PM   #17
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Originally posted by iacrobat


The Reform (aka. Alliance, now Conservative) party is also very good at divisive politics.
I wouldnt say as bad as the liberals have been in the last ten years. There are alot of Conservatives in the west but for this party to ever become into power again it must be strong in the East as well. When and if this ever happens they will have to represent both side of the country. Rather with the Liberals they only represent the east. they have 2 seats in Alberta, how can they represent me? They can if they listened to what Allience members said their constiuients want, but they right the Alliance off as nut cases, which some are.

Dont get me wrong, i dont have alot of quibs with the Liberals, just that they dont give a shit about the west. If they ever started to care they might actually get some seats our west!
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Old 12-11-2003, 06:37 PM   #18
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On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the United States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry.I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron. He is a moron but, it wasn't nice of us to point it out. If it's any consolation, the fact that he's a moron shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of America. After all it's not like you actually elected him.I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than you doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and better than your own.I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours.I'm sorry we burnt down your white house during the war of 1812. I notice you've rebuilt it! It's Very Nice.I'm sorry about your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer but, we Feel your Pain.I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up against a crazed dictator, you wanna have your friends by your side. I realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a thinly veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this.We've seen what you do to countries you get upset with. Ric Mercer.
Here are some things which make Canada such a great country:
· Great variety in seasons
· Great world-wide reputation with other countries
· We invented Hockey
· We invented Basketball
· We invented the telephone
· We invented cable T.V.
· There are over 2 million Canadian patents
· We are one of the G-7 countries
· We are a part of NATO
· We are a part of NAFTA
· We are one of the only countries that can put up with Americans
· We have a low crime rate
· Canada doesn't have the highest national debt (The U.S. does, ha!)
· We have a slightly lower debt per-capita than the U.S.
· We can understand American-English. (Well most of us anyway)
· Canadians are polite
· Canada is easy to spell
· Canada is easy to pronounce
· We have one of the top education systems
· Canada has one of the fastest growing populations in the world
· Canada introduced peace-keeping
· Our government pays for medicine. In other words, no hospital bills
· We have nice cities
· We have clean cities
· We are at peace with many countries
· We are the leader in telephone technology
· We have better technology than the U.S.
· We made those dinosaurs in Jurassic Park
· We are not stupid
· We invented refinning
· Canada has more clean water than any other nation
· Canada is a free and democratic society
· Hockey is Canada, Canada is hockey
· We know how, and when to use the word, "eh"
· We have two official languages, and a leader that speaks his own
· Unlike what many people think, Canadians are patriotic
· We are probably the least biased country
· There's a lot of famous Canadians
· We don't have to worry about nukes or bombs
· Lots of ski resorts
· We have the world's longest brige (P.E.I. to the mainiland)
· We have the world's tallest self-supported structure (CN Tower, Toronto)
· Most of us know what the CN Tower is for
· We have the world's longest street (Yonge St., Toronto to somewhere near Manitoba)
· We are great world-leaders withour beer
· Canadians are 300% less likely to be murdered than Americans
· Economy living up to most of its potential of all G7 nations
· Falling crime rate
· We have the 'Smarties' candy unlike Americans (Very important, isn't it?)
· Our schools have less of a dicipline problem than American schools
· Canadian students rank higher than American students in Math, Science, English, ...
· 1/3 of Microsoft programmers come from the University of Waterloo
· Canadian invented the baseball glove
· Canadian invented insulin
· Canadian invented the kitchen stove
· Titanic, written, directed and produced by a Canadian, James Cameron
· Nelvana Corp. of Toronto hired to produce all American cartoons on CBS
· Canadian woman second in comand at UN (American not 1st or 3rd or 4th or... in command)
· Canada is the only country at the Atlanta summer olympics that sent more women than men, meaning we aren't sexist
· Canada is one of the few countries with women in the millitary
· Canada has a trade surplus, unlike our southern friends
· Canada is slated to get rid of the deficit and debt before the U.S.
· Canadian music is world reknowned
· Unemployed Canadians receive higher welfare cheques than unemployed Americans
· Average life expectancy of a Canadian is 79 years, the highest in the world (U.S. is 75 years)
· Canadian cities lead the world in quality of life. Vancouver (1), Toronto (3), Montreal (15). Closest American city was Atlanta at thrity-something
· Canadian discovered Pablum (Baby food)
· Women in Ontario can walk around topless legally (For men: YES! For women: Your freedoms are expanded)
· Canadian doctor at the Montreal General Hospital was able to map the human brain
· Recovered bodies of the Titanic are buried in Halifax (not really something to demonstrate patriotism but an interesting fact)
· Canada never owned slaves (there were slaves in Canada in the 18th century but they were owned by the British government)
· Many American slaves came secretly to Canada during the American civil war
· Canada receives more immigrants per capita than the U.S. (almost twice as much)
· Canada among most popular tourist destinations in the world
· Canadian universities are world-reknowned for quality education and cheap tuitions
· Canada is one of few countries at the UN to be apart of the security counsil, giving Canada a strong voice
· Canada has teh lowest crime rate among major industrialized countries
· Canada leads all economic powers in economic growth
· World's best infrastructure
· Very low inflation (0.9%)
· Falling unemployment rate
· Canadian social programs are unsurpassed
· Stocks reaching new records
· Major profits among Canadian companies
· Canada is home to the world's third largest food franchise--Fogen Frutz
· More medals per capita than any other country at the Atlanta Summer Olympics
· Canadian troops lead the invasion of Normandy
· Invasion planned in Quebec City by Mackenzie King, Winston Churchill, and Roosevelt
· Canadian attack at Vimy Ridge during WWI; one of the turning points of the war
· You know the nuclear bombs the U.S. prides itself on? Well they get the essential uranium from Canada
· More drinkable water in Canada then anywhere else in the world
· The longest inclined tower in the world (Olympic Tower, Montreal)
For 7 years in a row the United Nations has voted Canada "the best COUNTRY in the world in which to live".

The only thing the 2 countries do have in common is geography. And the United States has never officially recognized Canada as an independent nation ever since the War of 1812 where Americans invaded Canada in the hopes of making the entire country part of them and Canadians, with the help of the British, managed to drive them out with a good number of victories. As Thomas Jefferson said: "How could a nation of 8 million fail to subdue a struggling colony of only 300,000?" The US should not underestimate who it's fighting. It underestimated the Vietnamese and because of that they were forced to leave the country and allow South Vietnam to be overrun by communism. The US has a history of making terrible mistakes. Like in 1998, when there was a terrorist attack against Americans in Africa, the American ppl demanded that someone be punished so Bill Clinton ordered missiles launched against a plant in Sudan that he said was making chemical and biological weapons. But the plant was instead making pills to help slow down HIV. The US would rather lose a war then admit to it's mistakes.
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Old 12-11-2003, 06:46 PM   #19
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Quote:
Originally posted by bonoman
Here's one Canadian that smokes pot but doesnt think it should be legalized
I can't help but find that statement to be funny.

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Old 12-11-2003, 06:50 PM   #20
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On behalf of Canadians everywhere I'd like to offer an apology to the United States of America. We haven't been getting along very well recently and for that, I am truly sorry.I'm sorry we called George Bush a moron. He is a moron but, it wasn't nice of us to point it out. If it's any consolation, the fact that he's a moron shouldn't reflect poorly on the people of America. After all it's not like you actually elected him.I'm sorry about our softwood lumber. Just because we have more trees than you doesn't give us the right to sell you lumber that's cheaper and better than your own.I'm sorry we beat you in Olympic hockey. In our defense I guess our excuse would be that our team was much, much, much, much better than yours.I'm sorry we burnt down your white house during the war of 1812. I notice you've rebuilt it! It's Very Nice.I'm sorry about your beer. I know we had nothing to do with your beer but, we Feel your Pain.I'm sorry about our waffling on Iraq. I mean, when you're going up against a crazed dictator, you wanna have your friends by your side. I realize it took more than two years before you guys pitched in against Hitler, but that was different. Everyone knew he had weapons.And finally on behalf of all Canadians, I'm sorry that we're constantly apologizing for things in a passive-aggressive way which is really a thinly veiled criticism. I sincerely hope that you're not upset over this.We've seen what you do to countries you get upset with. Ric Mercer.
Rick Mercer didn't say this. Colin Mochrie (known to Americans mostly through Drew Carey's "Whose Line is it Anyway?" show) said a longer version of this on the CBC television news satire, "This Hour Has 22 Minutes," in 2003. Mercer left the show in 2001.

But I should emphasize the "satire." It was intended to be funny, not serious.

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