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TheNewTeddy

Why our mindsets are so different

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Fun fact: Canada has 13 provinces or territories while the US has 50 states. Canada meanwhile has more of them where the majority of the population lives in the same urban area (ON, QC, BC, MB, NS, NL, PE, YK, NW) than the US does (NY, CO, IL, MI, MN, OK, AK, GA)

I originally read this in an older book that argued that this was the case. That in Canada, all of the 'stuff' (the book was not specific) went "in" to our urban areas, while in the US it went "out" of them. That our efforts are put into developing our centres while in the US it is the opposite.

I'm curious what people think of this theory?

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Well, to have any sort of reasonable conversation, you are probably going to have to provide some sort of context as to what you are talking about.

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I'm not sure about this theory as I'm not clear on what it is, but I do have an opinion on why Canucks and Americans are differen.

IMO it's because of their very different histories and a different approach in our founding documents.

Canada is not based on the revolutionary independent approach and is more secular. The U.S. has the "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" which speaks more to individualism and attainment of individual success, whereas Canada is more about the hive collective as in Canadian "Peace, Order and Good Government and a socialized health care system. No one wants a U.S. style health care system.

We have totally different mindsets when it comes to guns, again rooted in the revolution and the right to bear arms. Even though many, if not most Canadians were against the long gun registry itself, there is no great movement to want to be as gun happy as the U.S.

I used to see the U.S. as a place to go if you were an individual with a great deal of drive and ambition, a place where you had a much better chance of becoming financially successful if you had the smarts and initiative. I admired their drive and ambition, but am not sure if that is so these days.

Just my opinion ....

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Good points. I also at one time considered emigrating there. You couldn't pay me to do so now.

I read an idea, can't remember it that well, but that because the US got democracy in one big jump, fighting against a dictator, they've always had this idea they need to protect themselves from their own government. European democracies, Canada too, evolved more slowly, so govt is seen as more benign. Being on guard against govt excess is an important duty of a citzen. Thing is that clutching your semi-auto rifle won't do it - if the US govt wanted to take over militarily, they could with little problem (as long as the troops are with the govt), despite all the Red Dawn fantasies of the NRA types. Being on guard means being involved in how you are governed. Voting of course, protesting rights abuses also. But this idea that any moment you and your buddies are going to get together and defend your country from the jackbooted govt thugs is just nuts.

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Guest American Woman

I think one of the differences I see between Canadians and Americans (and of course I'm not speaking of 'the whole' here), is that Americans aren't of the "everyone else is doing it so we should, too/it must be right" mindset, which I see so often as the 'reasoning' given on this board. "The U.S. is the only developed country that doesn't have/do this/that/or the other thing," as if that's somehow a reason why we should be doing it that way, too, is a mindset that I don't understand.

Every country isn't the same, nor do they all want to be. The U.S. is unique in some ways, and it's because we like it that way. We aren't looking for world approval, we don't particularly care if it's the way Sweden or Norway - or Canada - does it. We don't have as high a suicide rate as some of the nations we are compared to, either - in spite of the claims by so many that our gun laws make suicide so much easier and so much more likely to be 'successful.'

And as we hear that "no other country would want our health care system," citizens of such countries are sent to the U.S. to fill in the gap when their health care is lacking.

I admire Canada for what it is - but it's not the U.S., and I don't assume that it wants to be - or should be. Quite frankly, if some Canadians see emigrating to the U.S. as less desirable than it used to be, I see emigrating to Canada less favorably than I used to. Does that mean there's something inherently wrong with Canada? Of course not, and I would never suggest otherwise.

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Having lived in both Vancouver and Seattle extensively, I can say I've detected no discernible difference in "mindset" whatsoever. Now Montreal on the other hand... that was like living on an alien planet.

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Guest American Woman

Having lived in both Vancouver and Seattle extensively, I can say I've detected no discernible difference in "mindset" whatsoever. Now Montreal on the other hand... that was like living on an alien planet.

I've spent quite a bit of time in Toronto, and from my experience, Americans are more likely to get flack for being American in Canada than Canadians are likely to get flack for being Canadian in the U.S. (anyone have any different experience? ); but I think you're right - location makes a big difference. I'm sure there are Canadians who are more similar to some Americans than they are other Canadians - and vice versa.

I will say this, though - I think one difference is that the Canadian psyche tries really hard not to be American, whereas trying not to be Canadian doesn't enter into the American psyche at all.

And of course I'm speaking in generalities, as that's all one can speak of in a thread such as this.

Edited by American Woman

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IMO it's because of their very different histories and a different approach in our founding documents.

That's certainly part of it, as emigration and domestic growth has favored the American experience based on population size, consistently an order of magnitude greater than Canada's

Canada is not based on the revolutionary independent approach and is more secular.

Not secular at all in the beginning....religion played a much larger role in Canada's past. It is still part of the Constitution Act. As for revolutionary "independence", it is important to note that Canada was part of the very Empire from which the Americans rebelled. The nations did not develop independent of each other, and being different from Canada was a very important American distinction. Canada was left to choose Europe or the U.S.A. for economic and cultural integration, and we know how that turned out, with the pivot accelerating after WW2.

The U.S. has the "Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness" which speaks more to individualism and attainment of individual success, whereas Canada is more about the hive collective as in Canadian "Peace, Order and Good Government and a socialized health care system. No one wants a U.S. style health care system.

Mostly true, except for the Canadians who do. Not all Canadians are "collectivists".

We have totally different mindsets when it comes to guns, again rooted in the revolution and the right to bear arms. Even though many, if not most Canadians were against the long gun registry itself, there is no great movement to want to be as gun happy as the U.S.

Canada's government has a longer history with gun registrations, seeking to identify armed insurgents during WW2. Canada's government feared its own citizens, and this exemplifies the difference between a government "by the people....for the people" instead of being a "subject of the Crown". Again, this latter concept is the very thing that spurred Americans to reject the monarchy and embrace a republic.

I used to see the U.S. as a place to go if you were an individual with a great deal of drive and ambition, a place where you had a much better chance of becoming financially successful if you had the smarts and initiative. I admired their drive and ambition, but am not sure if that is so these days.

It is still very much a destination for such individuals, including Canadians.

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I've spent quite a bit of time in Toronto, and from my experience, Americans are more likely to get flack for being American in Canada than Canadians are likely to get flack for being Canadian in the U.S. (anyone have any different experience? ); but I think you're right - location makes a big difference. I'm sure there are Canadians who are more similar to some Americans than they are other Canadians - and vice versa.

I will say this, though - I think one difference is that the Canadian psyche tries really hard not to be American, whereas trying not to be Canadian doesn't enter into the American psyche at all.

And of course I'm speaking in generalities, as that's all one can speak of in a thread such as this.

Never got flack for being Canadian in Canada. Met some resentment of Canadians just across the border, but that's to be expected when they invite a flood of Canadians in - ie any high tourist area for a particular group will have some resentment. Further in, no resentment that I could find, tho for some reason Americans felt the need to correct my accent.

Of course Americans are going to loom much larger in the psyche of Canadians. Just by the nature of our relative population sizes, influence of American media, etc.

Living in the US for a bit, and not on the left coast, I was actually surprised how different we are on the whole. Always assumed from visits to Seattle and even California, that we shared more or less the same values. Not til you get to the heartland do you see how large the right wing culture is in the US, how it's much more extreme than ours, or has way more influence. Seems to be waning tho. I spend time in Colorado, and it was seriously right wing at the time. A CO state senator could claim that UN troops were massing at the US border in Saskatchewan ready to invade, and that was mainstream thought. But CO went for Obama this last times. The times they are a changing. Not soon enough.

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..... But CO went for Obama this last times. The times they are a changing. Not soon enough.

...and Canada went for the CPC, giving "right wing" Harper a majority government. Not soon enough....

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...and Canada went for the CPC, giving "right wing" Harper a majority government. Not soon enough....

Huge diff between our right wing and yours. Huge. Especially once they took power and went all moderate and all, because they like that power and don't want to get voted out. Everybody here from the right to the left is asking when Harper will finally unleash his secret agenda. He hasn't, because he knows he would immediately become an also ran. What keeps him in power is the split between the middle and the left here - they get more votes combined than the CPC does. But then the same is true in the US - your "left" (ie Eisenhower republicans) get more popular votes than your nut bars, yet the nut bars keep getting elected.

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Huge diff between our right wing and yours. Huge..... But then the same is true in the US - your "left" (ie Eisenhower republicans) get more popular votes than your nut bars, yet the nut bars keep getting elected.

The largest victory by voting margin in a US presidential election was for Warren G. Harding (+26 %)...far better than Ike. President Harding was a Republican.

The difference is we don't care who you vote for in Canada, and we sure as hell would not give up our American vote for a chance to vote in a Canadian riding per the 2008 CBC poll (15% of Canadians wanted to vote in the American election instead of their own). Amazing !

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/story/2008/02/01/poll-cbc.html

Edited by bush_cheney2004

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I don't think our mindsets are so different. I think a very vocal and influential minority controls what happens with guns and social issues in the USA. I believe that most people have a very similar mindset to Canadians. At least, most I have met....

Edited by The_Squid

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I don't think our mindsets are so different. I think a very vocal and influential minority controls what happens with guns and social issues in the USA.

...and I think a very vocal and influential majority controls what happens in Canada, and that includes criticism of anything American or "American-style", if only to help them have an identity. The anti-American neurosis goes way back....here is a Montreal Gazette article from 1964:

http://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1946&dat=19640225&id=SjsjAAAAIBAJ&sjid=iJ4FAAAAIBAJ&pg=6953,4994386

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The largest victory by voting margin in a US presidential election was for Warren G. Harding (+26 %)...far better than Ike. President Harding was a Republican.

The difference is we don't care who you vote for in Canada, and we sure as hell would not give up our American vote for a chance to vote in a Canadian riding per the 2008 CBC poll (15% of Canadians wanted to vote in the American election instead of their own). Amazing !

http://www.cbc.ca/ne...1/poll-cbc.html

Obama is a Eisenhower Republican - you don't really have a left.

Was that poll about the first Obama victory? Our politics were not very exciting, Harper doesn't excite anybody and there wasn't a realistic alternative. So ho hum. But being part of the wave that swept BO to power - I bet you could conduct this poll all over the world with similar results.

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I don't think our mindsets are so different. I think a very vocal and influential minority controls what happens with guns and social issues in the USA. I believe that most people have a very similar mindset to Canadians. At least, most I have met....

That minority is relatively much larger there than here. Let's hope it stays that way.

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...and I think a very vocal and influential majority controls what happens in Canada, and that includes criticism of anything American or "American-style", if only to help them have an identity. The anti-American neurosis goes way back....here is a Montreal Gazette article from 1964:

http://news.google.c...pg=6953,4994386

Yep. It's part of the Canadian identity of who we are - not American. And we give thanks for that.

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Yep. It's part of the Canadian identity of who we are - not American. And we give thanks for that.

Agreed...as mentioned before:

Disliking, judging, teasing and even hating America sadly forms a central part of the Canadian identity, and is a bias that tends to run through most aspects of Canadian society and culture. For various reasons, the default position of a vast many Canadians is that America, Americans and American things are generally bad, and need to be opposed. These feelings are not always logical and consistent, and can certainly be hypocritical in practice, but they do exist, and understanding their important role in all aspects of Canadian culture is necessary to understand what makes Canadians Canadian.

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Agreed...as mentioned before:

Disliking, judging, teasing and even hating America sadly forms a central part of the Canadian identity, and is a bias that tends to run through most aspects of Canadian society and culture. For various reasons, the default position of a vast many Canadians is that America, Americans and American things are generally bad, and need to be opposed. These feelings are not always logical and consistent, and can certainly be hypocritical in practice, but they do exist, and understanding their important role in all aspects of Canadian culture is necessary to understand what makes Canadians Canadian.

When I was young I met a couple of American girls up here and was very surprised when they weren't impressed with my slagging of America. Everybody did that, i thought.

Actually we're like those cows in the Far Side cartoon who are standing talking when one goes "car" and in the next panel they are on all fours munching on grass. We just act like this around Americans. Especially ones that come to our websites to tell us what's what. And, for my part at least, it's anger. The kind of anger you would feel for your big brother who's screwing up.

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..... And, for my part at least, it's anger. The kind of anger you would feel for your big brother who's screwing up.

I feel lucky to have 'discovered' these things, as most Americans have no idea that such deep resentment exists for them or the USA on the part of many (not all) Canadians. I could understand Iraqis or Cubans, but Canada? The answer lies in this love-hate dichotomy, as Canadians live nearly identical lives as Americans, but must find a way to still be smugly superior to offset an inferiority complex. Driving across the border to Shop in America is easily rationalized away.

Canada is Ganymede.....and the U.S.A. is its Jupiter.

Edited by bush_cheney2004

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I feel lucky to have 'discovered' these things, as most Americans have no idea that such deep resentment exists for them or the USA on the part of many (not all) Canadians. I could understand Iraqis or Cubans, but Canada? The answer lies in this love-hate dichotomy, as Canadians live nearly identical lives as Americans, but must find a way to still be smugly superior to offset an inferiority complex. Driving across the border to Shop in America is easily rationalized away.

Canada is Ganymede.....and the U.S.A. is its Jupiter.

Sure. But don't take it personally. As I've said, I've met many great Americans. It's the country as a whole. Lots of factors go into it. Part of it is American's own sense of superiority. It's not all one way. Until recently y'all had the power to have things your way - that's going to breed some resentment. That seems to be fading away. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll be the best of buddies sharing our resentment of the Chinese.

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Sure. But don't take it personally. As I've said, I've met many great Americans. It's the country as a whole. Lots of factors go into it. Part of it is American's own sense of superiority. It's not all one way. Until recently y'all had the power to have things your way - that's going to breed some resentment. That seems to be fading away. Who knows, maybe in a few years we'll be the best of buddies sharing our resentment of the Chinese.

Not likely....the Chinese love America far more than many Canadians do. Maybe familiarity breeds contempt. Canadians are only 8% of North American population, so I am not worried. Mexicans and other nationals die trying to get in to the world's biggest party....with better weather.

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I work with a lot of foreign nationals at U.S. employers, and I make sure that the Canadians know they are not any different (or better) than Indian, Russian, or South African contractors in the USA on work visas.

Edited by bush_cheney2004

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There is a similar little brother-complex as is between Ireland and Britain or New Zealand and Australia. Or if we still keep looking for examples, Germany and almost any other European country.

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