foreign relations

Canada-US relations again, courtesy of ALPF. According to a recent poll, fewer people on both sides of the Canadian-US border view each other as close friends and allies.

The numbers of Canadians who like the US is still surprisingly high - surprising to me, that is - but the numbers of Americans who share the love is surprisingly low. This makes me wonder about the media's portrayal of Canada in the US, and I don't mean only the Feral and Unbalanced (TM Crabletta) folks at Fox. I wonder what they're being told, because I can't imagine why most Americans wouldn't have a positive view of Canada and Canadians.
Cross-border respect appears to be fading, a new poll says, despite Canadians and Americans seeing eye-to-eye on a lot of key issues.

According to an Ipsos-Reid poll, the number of Canadians who view America as their country's closest ally has slipped to just 53 per cent, compared with 60 per cent in 2002.

More Canadians -- 73 per cent -- said their country is a "friend and ally" of the U.S., but that number was also down from 85 per cent last November.

South of the border, the same trend applies, with only 14 per cent of Americans calling Canada their country's closest ally. That figure was 18 per cent three years earlier.

. . .

In recent years, many took differences over the war in Iraq as a symbol of the growing gulf between the North American neighbours.

But according to the poll, citizens on both sides of the border actually agree on a broad range of value-laden issues.
That last is an interesting bit. When asked whether the government has a responsibility to protect the poor, if caring for the elderly is a government duty, and if civil rights are threatened by the war on terror, the surveyed Americans and Canadians largely agreed.

The percentage of Americans who answered yes to those questions was 78, 88, 40, respectivey. Though all surveys should be taken with a few grains of salt, I do believe that most Americans are not as selfish, mean-spirited and focused only on profit as their current leaders.

Survey results here, summary article here.


Rognar said...

It's all about the war in Iraq. Britain and Australia stood beside the US, Canada did not. Whether or not it was the right decision, it is one for which we will pay a price for many years to come.

There's also this persistant myth that some of the 9/11 hijackers entered the US from Canada. It's completely false, but some sources continue to perpetuate it.

Anonymous said...

Add into the equation the fishing diputes, softwood lumber dispute, mad cow & closed borders, not to mention us opening our borders to Mexico while the US is closing its ... there are a host of issues that have led to poll results showing decreased trust between one another, the stance on the war and alleged terrorist travel strories being only but a part of that equation.

laura k said...

But here's the thing. Those things are important to Canadians, with good reason, but they get little or no coverage in the US at all.

I question whether the average American even knows there is a softwood lumber or fishing dispute. That's why I wonder why Americans wouldn't feel friendly towards Canada.

I think it must be the war; I guess the Sheeple have Canada on their list just after France. The war isn't so popular right now, but then, Sheeple don't need to be consistent.

I love your new picture, G. It's much more comforting and doesn't make my head ache.

Anonymous said...

Of course, the Canadian polls did drop more significantly than those of the US ... so I do stand by my theory in terms of application to Canada - sometimes it feels the US stands in our way on such issues just because it can, like the bully flexing a bicep as a reminder to the little geek that 'hey, I can get you if I want - I have power".

As far as why they don't like us? My theories include:

1/ We opposed the war. Basically we gave the collective finger to a large percentage of Republicans and oil companies (oops, did I say that out loud?) and are still giving it.

2/ We talk to Cuba on occasion and Fidel even stops in once and a while. Big no-no. Say goodbye to a lot of support right there.

3/ We have gay marriage and yet our society has not become some corrupt haven of hedonism and decadence and public perversion, which you know is pissing the Religious Right off royally, especially given they are the ones who can't seem to keep their hands off alter boys. Go figure.

3/ We proudly accept all cultures into our society and have a comparitively wide-open border. Goodbye KKK support.

4/ Our beer is better and the drinking age is lower. Jealous fratboys who can't make the trip up here to party must surely hate us for that.

5/ The international world seems to like us better, and terrorists have yet to issue direct threats against us (although I'm sure it will one day happen as we are a US ally). I'm sure that pisses people off also.

I'm sure you can see I'm being mostly sarcastic in this, but I think I make a good point in saying given elements of those and other factors, the poll drops are really no surprise. But to say it's just the war ... well, maybe, but I know that up here people pay attention to more than just that, and I hope that at least some in the States do also.

laura k said...

I wish there was some way to know. In general Americans are so oblivious to other nations - and really don't understand why they should care (what has that got to do with me?) - that I wonder how they form any opinion at all - unless it's spoonfed, as in the sudden irrational hatred of all things French.

Of course I'm not including us intelligent liberals and progressives in there. We all love Canada. Obviously. :)

Your sarcasm reminds me of something my mother related not long ago. She met a Canadian couple on a cruise, and they were evangelicals. My mother quotes them as saying, "Canada used to be so lovely. But now it's Soddom and Gomorrah up there."

My mom is very polite, so she didn't retort, No wonder my daughter wants to move there. But she does crack up every time she tells the story.

Kyle_From_Ottawa said...

On a side, note, I'm rather surprised that given Rob's views, that Alberta had the second lowest opinion of the states next to French speaking Quebec.

(Is the U.S. Canada's best friend? Quebec 40%, Alberta 42%, Ontario 57%, Maritimes 71%).

Maybe its the mad cow thing.

laura k said...

Very interesting! I hadn't noticed that. Perhaps Rob will explain...

Rognar said...

I would agree with Kyle about it being related to the Mad Cow crisis. A lot of Albertans are suffering right now because of the border closure, especially ranchers and truckers. Traditionally, Albertans felt like we were America's best friends in Canada. In the run-up to the Iraq war, there were pro-US rallies here and support for joining the coalition was running pretty high. So, this whole issue with the border closure is seen as a bit of a betrayal. I'm sure it is only temporary, but right now, there is a lot of hurt feelings and even anger out here.

laura k said...

Betrayal: I can see that. It's a hard lesson about self-interest.

I also meant to comment on something G said: "...sometimes it feels the US stands in our way on such issues just because it can, like the bully flexing a bicep as a reminder to the little geek that 'hey, I can get you if I want - I have power'."

I often think the US is the global neighborhood bully. Bush has strengthened that image, but it goes way back.

Rognar said...

Yes, it's true. In international relations, traditional alliances don't mean squat when they get in the way of national interests.

Anonymous said...

I remember watching a news report just days before the US was about to invade Iraq, and the UN was trying to stop them from doing so.

While watching, I was on the phone with one of my journalist friends who said something really interesting:

"The UN is like a raccoon in the path of the Mac truck, where you know the driver won't even try to avoid it. Instead he'll just run right over the thing make a Burger King joke out of it."

And squashed that raccoon was - didn't even manage to slow the SOBs down. I'm sure they still laugh over that one every time they see Kofi's face (where has that guy gone to, anyway?).

And on another note, this BK "U.N. Burger" tastes rather odd ...