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It's been a very long time since I wrote a "difference between Canada and the US" post. I'm no longer constantly observing the subtle cultural differences the way I did when we first moved here, and no longer surprised by them like I used to be. You could say I'm assimilated now, for the most part.

But I did make one observation during this election season, something I have a feeling will resonate with USian readers and the US-to-Canada immigration community.

Bumper stickers.

Bumper stickers are a rarity on Canadian vehicles. At least that's the case in any part of Canada I've driven - all over southern Ontario, on the road to Ottawa and Quebec City, in Montreal, and all over Newfoundland. The occasional bumper stickers I do see are silly ("What if the hokey pokey is what it's all about?" "My other car is a..."). And I've seen only one exception to this.

But if you cross the border, every car is announcing the politics of the driver. Not just who she's voting for, although that's very common. But his or her stance on abortion rights, same-sex marriage, gun control, immigration, war, peace, global warming - you name it. You can drive around the highways of the United States and read slogans about every divisive issue of our era.

This is almost entirely absent in Canada.

In the US, everyone announces their political stance to everyone on the road. In Canada, it's just not done. It's not much of a stretch to put this in the category of bluntness vs politeness. People have strong feelings about important issues in Canada, but they don't feel the need to announce it to everyone everywhere they go.

Similarly, is there a workplace in the US where everyone doesn't know how everyone else votes? That may be an exaggeration - I'm sure readers will tell me so - but it's at least very commonplace to know how all your co-workers vote.

In the recent Canadian election campaign, I didn't know how anyone voted, except for one co-worker friend who I spoke to privately. (And may I add how refreshing it was to hear a sister worker say, "I vote NDP, because they're the party for working people"??) People are quieter about it here.

As I said above, in Canada I've seen only one exception to this bumper sticker observation. My friend Lone Primate and two other US-to-Canada immigrants I know have observed the same one. Lone Primate captured it on his blog. Revolting, isn't it?

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