Canadians and Self-reliance

Publication: Ottawa Citizen

Author: Leonard Stern

02/01/2010 - There is, everyone knows, a tradition of anti-Americanism in Canada. It can be genuinely hostile, like when Canadian parliamentarian Carolyn Parrish said she hates "those bastards," or it can be mocking, like when Rick Mercer went to the U.S. to investigate just how stupid Americans really are. (I've always wondered what Mercer did with the outtakes of Americans who, refusing the bait, didn't embarrass themselves on camera.)

Underlying our attitude toward Americans is the assumption that we are different from them -- and that typically means superior. The catalogue of differences is thick, but it comes down to the conceit that Canadians have an egalitarian and community-minded ethos that is absent in the U.S.

Turns out that those long-standing Canadian assumptions are wrong.

Last summer, researchers for The Pew Charitable Trusts set out to compare the values that drive each nation. It will surprise no one that, according to the Pew survey, three quarters of Americans said that "being free to accomplish anything with hard work" is an essential component of the American Dream. What might surprise people is that virtually the same percentage of Canadians agreed that "being free to accomplish anything with hard work" is also essential to the "Canadian Dream."


Read the full article Canadians and Self-reliance on the Ottawa Citizen Web site.

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