Extra! Extra! Canada is different from the U.S.!
December 2, 2003 7:34 AM   Subscribe

Canada's View on Social Issues Is Opening Rifts With the U.S. (note: NYT reg. required) "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."

Being different is good, right? Right? Vive la Difference!
posted by ashbury (60 comments total)
 
a chasm has opened up on social issues that go to the heart of fundamental values

As far as I can tell, from reading metafilter and other forms of media, there are plenty of Americans who share these so called Canadian values. It seems to me that this more a difference of administrations. Surely the ratio of progressives in America is equal to that of Canada.
Also, these shifts in social policy are not without heated debates here in Canada. I believe we are just a right wing government away from losing these gains.
posted by btwillig at 7:53 AM on December 2, 2003


My American uncle told all my Canadian relatives that Canada needed to be attacked or it would never learn its lesson.

He didn't really want to hear about how there was nobody out there that really thought we needed attacking besides Americans.

I'm sure it'll work out for him. Or it won't. I don't care.
posted by jon_kill at 7:57 AM on December 2, 2003


Canada's lawyers aren't rampant sue-happy scanner trolls. They sing songs.


No RIAA/MPAA in the CA either. Somehow, CDs are selling better there, hmmmmm
posted by omidius at 8:06 AM on December 2, 2003


Does anyone think Vancouver will take me? I need to get out of this country....
posted by Dantien at 8:08 AM on December 2, 2003


Dantien:

Seriously, the bass player in my band married a French-Canadian woman, and they have a son who is officially Canadian.

He had to go through three years of under the table jobs until he could become a resident and get his SIN. Now he has to go through two more years before hoping to become a resident, and will have to pass a history exam that even Chretien would probably fail.

University students are regularly issued visas with wording such as "Out by 2008" and are forbidden to accept jobs during their summer vacation. Also, the free health care isn't so free for them.

I think you're stuck. Unless you want to move to Nelson, BC, and grow pot and not declare your income and just read in a shack all day and...
posted by jon_kill at 8:11 AM on December 2, 2003


That second resident should be citizen.

I normally don't correct myself, but this was factual as opposed to typographical.
posted by jon_kill at 8:12 AM on December 2, 2003


I believe we are just a right wing government away from losing these gains.

That's akin to saying we're just a meteor away from extinction. The chance of a right-wing government coming to power in the near future is rather remote. The next election, somewhere around April 2004, will see Paul Martin and the Liberals win another healthy majority. The new Conservative Party won't really get itself organized until about 2006, so they should be in fighting shape by 2008/9. But unless Martin screws up in the meantime (or the tories find an enigmatic Mulroney-type leader), I doubt the conservatives will be strong enough to pull off a majority win then. That pushes a conservative victory likely to around 2013, by which time the sheer weight of 20 years of Liberal rule brings them down (unless they in turn find a charismatic leader to replace Martin).

By that time, social acceptance of these ideas will likely have taken hold, and this will be a quaint old fashioned debate. Politics in Canada is more a "hold-the-line" approach than a "roll back the clock" style. Mulroney didn't really touch any of the social policies of the Trudeau years, and Chretien didn't really touch any of the fiscal policies of Mulroney, despite their promises (GST, FTA, etc). We tend to use these divisive issues to get elected, then leave things well enough alone once we're in power.

Yes, there are some "right-wing" Canadians (mostly in the Alliance party, but there's a few Liberals too) along the lines of American right wingers, but the majority of Conservatives are of the small c variety, more interested in monetary issues than social ones.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 8:13 AM on December 2, 2003


can someone explain this Peter Jennings quote for me:
"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."

Isn't gay marriage and drug use all about the pursuit of happiness and individualism, as in, 'mind your own damn business'? Individualism is Conformity! Doubleplus Happy!!
posted by dinsdale at 8:15 AM on December 2, 2003


As our administrations and government have shifted to the right (Clinton was more conservative than Carter was, and years of Reagan/Bush and now Bush2), Canada just kept on going (and is looking better and better).

One big difference here is that we now have generally accepted (tolerant, multi-cultural, pro-equality) public attitudes and media visuals that are further away than ever (socially and culturally) from the legislation being passed and "bully pulpit" views being espoused in Congress and the White House. From "Just Say No" in the 80s thru "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" to the proposed Defense of Marriage Amendment--there's a split that's been widening for years.
posted by amberglow at 8:17 AM on December 2, 2003


You do realize that Canada's population is equivalent to California's population, or 1/10 of the entire US? Ask any governor who became President of the US if it was more difficult to manage their respective state or the US. Especially since state preferences tend to be more cohesive than national preferences. Think about how easy it is to switch communities in the US by simply hopping state lines, as opposed to changing countries. If you want to compare the US and Canada, try to use more realistic numbers and ideas.
posted by BlueTrain at 8:20 AM on December 2, 2003


Dantien: go already
posted by shoos at 8:28 AM on December 2, 2003


If you want to compare the US and Canada, try to use more realistic numbers and ideas.

I don't see a very strong correlation between population size and political diversity. If Canada's population is a tenth of the US population, that's still plenty of room for differences of opinion, or are you saying that California is somehow politically monolithic? Surely the differences between people in, say, Saskatchewan and Quebec are at least as marked as the differences between people in Indiana and Massachusetts.
posted by anapestic at 8:33 AM on December 2, 2003


A smaller population doesn't make for a more cohesive one. The factors that make populations different - race, urban v. rural, economic class, language, geography, immigration - are abundantly present in Canada. The unemployed fishermen of Newfoundland have as little (or as much) in common with Vancouver's recent immigrants from Hong Kong as a Bible
Belt farmer has with a San Francisco lawyer.

(Or, on preview, what anapestic said.)
posted by jacquilynne at 8:34 AM on December 2, 2003


University students are regularly issued visas with wording such as "Out by 2008" and are forbidden to accept jobs during their summer vacation. Also, the free health care isn't so free for them.

The difference is being on a student visa, not a work visa. I'm a student from the States at a Canadian university and the system makes perfect sense to me, I'm already taking a univeristy slot from a Canadian, why should I have the "right" to take a potential job slot too? International students in the states operate under the exact same system. Since most of us go home over summer vacation, and are perfectly employable in our home countries, I don't see how this is a problem, especially since we are legally employable in on campus jobs and there are plenty of positions to be had in that regard.

Why should I get free health care either? My family and I aren't paying the taxes that support it, and I still get great coverage under the very reasonable (and I'm fairly certian subsidized) student helath plan that all international students are required to enroll in at my university. No one bats an eye when I had them my purple rather than green health card, and I get just as much care as other students.

BACK ON TOPIC: This is a compeltely personal opinion, backed up by nothing more susbstantial than the two years I've spent as an American living in Canada, but there does seem to be a significant, perhaps widening difference in the idealogical stances of the two countries. Maybe it is a matter of administrations, and perhaps my view is coloured by being a university student and of a more liberal mindset anyway, but Canada has a much less isolationistic mindset, a much more obviously culturally diverse society, and they do the "mixed salad" thing in a much mroe tasty way than we in the States manage our "melting pot"
posted by nelleish at 8:40 AM on December 2, 2003


BlueTrain:

So you're saying that Canada is more cohesive that the US because of the relative size of the countries' populations?

If that's true, couldn't Canada just as easily be cohesively right-wing? (And if fact, the article mentions a more right-wing government in past decades).

How does your point relate to the piece in question?
posted by rocketpup at 8:41 AM on December 2, 2003


I think that the article rather overstates the openness of the drug culture in Vancouver. It's certainly more available and less enforced than in other cities; however, it is nothing like the level of Amsterdam (though I can see it heading in that direction).

As for the US/Canada schism...can't we just agree to coexist? We'll overlook the less salient details of your politics in exchange for your TV shows, movies, cheap gas, milk and cheese -- you can overlook our godless hedonistic socialism in exchange for having a place to escape to if/when things really get bad.
posted by filmgoerjuan at 8:54 AM on December 2, 2003


I'll take your godless hedonistic socialism, thanks. You can have the tv shows and whatnot.

I'll get my cheese and milk from Holland, though.
posted by rocketpup at 8:57 AM on December 2, 2003


but the majority of Conservatives are of the small ac variety, more interested in monetary issues than social ones.

Are they? I think that is so with Tories and right leaning Liberals but the Alliance (or whatever they're called these days) have a more socially conservative platform that, in the past, seems to have resonated with rural voters in the west (as well the question of western alienation). I think when this party merges it will alienate some of its grass root support if compromises are made on social issues. Don't forget too, within the Liberal caucus there was division on the same sex and marijuana issues. I'm all for these debates becoming quaint and old fashion but I agree that we're far from out of the woods yet.
posted by btwillig at 9:04 AM on December 2, 2003


Canada is at least four nations (english, french, native and inuit), in practice six or seven (newf, atlantic, Quebec, central, prairie, left-coast and northern), in theory multitudes (if you count all the first nations). We came within less than half a percent of the country breaking up not a decade ago. As someone who has liven in at three of those "nations", I can assure you that they have quite different character.

Also, I've made change for tourists wanting to change their money going from Ontario to Quebec.
posted by bonehead at 9:09 AM on December 2, 2003


What I'm suggesting is that the smaller the population, the better the opportunity for consensus. What I'm also suggesting is that while comparing the US and Canada is fair game, I find that comparing Canada and California is more realistic.

BTW, although the US appears far more conservative than a few years ago when Clinton was in power, I can safely say as our fear of the world dissipates, so will his power over the people. His presence and his words make many Americans feel safe and empowered. This is probably why he'll be re-elected in 2004, sadly.
posted by BlueTrain at 9:09 AM on December 2, 2003


Melleish, were you looking for a fight?

I was just pointing out the way it was.

Calm the fuck down.
posted by jon_kill at 9:12 AM on December 2, 2003


BTW, although the US appears far more conservative than a few years ago when Clinton was in power, I can safely say as our fear of the world dissipates, so will his power over the people. His presence and his words make many Americans feel safe and empowered. This is probably why he'll be re-elected in 2004, sadly.

Though I agree that his presence was empowering, I think the constitution prevents Clinton from being re-elected in 2004.
tee hee
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 9:32 AM on December 2, 2003


2004, will see Paul Martin and the Liberals win another healthy majority

Yes, but that doesn't necessarily mean we won't have a right-wing government. Just checked google for "Paul Martin" marijuana. Interesting. It appears he's in favour of the decriminalization bill only in that it will allow enforcement against people who currently go un-punished since the police don't bother with small possession charges. He'd like to amend it to make the penalties more harsh. He's quoted as talking tough about the "war against drugs."

I don't use it myself, but I think prohibitionist sentiment on marijuana is probably a good indicator that he's not quite as liberal as Chretien, who was himself once widely criticized for moving the Liberal party over to the right.

Anyway, I guess we'll find out.
posted by sfenders at 9:43 AM on December 2, 2003


Nelleish seemed to be perfectly calm to me, jon_kill, not angry at all. He was just describing his experience of holding a student visa in Canada.

Yeah, I see rifts opening between the American government (as opposed to its populace) and Canada's. The Maher Arar issue is going to be big, with Canada's officials saying they start withholding our security information since the US is going to abuse it, and that's only one issue.

I see it as kind of comparable to what's happening to the Canada loonie vs. US dollar ratio - the loonie is on the rise, but it's not because we're doing so well, as our currency is the same in relation to other world currencies. We're proceeding with our business as usual, but the US administration is steering straight for the toilet. You know, it's best expressed as the whole "it's not us, it's you" thing.

However, I do differ somewhat from what Ghostinthemachine says. We're bound to elect Paul Martin next election, and although he does belong to the Liberal party I am afraid he is conservative in nature. It does concern me that he may turn out to be Mulroney II in terms of kowtowing to the US and serving the interests of big business in preference to what is financially best for the country as a whole.

On preview, this is more of what sfenders said.
posted by orange swan at 9:50 AM on December 2, 2003


Well, we in America know we have many a problem, most of them revolving around not being the sort of free and open country we claim to be. However, we have far too much pride to ask for help. But help is what we need. For example, it would help quite a bit for Canadians to take our rednecks and religious fundamentalists off our hands. We won't even ask what you do with them. Honest: No questions asked.
posted by Reverend Mykeru at 9:52 AM on December 2, 2003


For example, it would help quite a bit for Canadians to take our rednecks and religious fundamentalists off our hands.

Despite what you may have heard, we enough thanks.
posted by btwillig at 9:57 AM on December 2, 2003


For example, it would help quite a bit for Canadians to take our rednecks and religious fundamentalists off our hands. We won't even ask what you do with them. Honest: No questions asked.

Since you're taking our "problems", Canada, why not take our blacks, jews, latinos, and gays? Boy do they suck.
posted by BlueTrain at 10:02 AM on December 2, 2003


the Alliance (or whatever they're called these days) have a more socially conservative platform
Yes, and what percent of the vote did they get in Ontario, Quebec, and the Atlantic Provinces? The hard right of the party is pretty well contained in the west. For the new party to win a majority would require them to win the centre and east of the country, meaning a majority will be moderate conservatives (the old "progressive" element). The hardliners don't have the numbers to make more than token changes to social policy.

And sfenders (and on preview, orange swan), Washington may be looking forward to a Martin PMship, but that's just because Chretien never concealed his contempt for Bush, and Martin knows good relations with the US is important for Canadian business. But philosophically, Bush and Martin will agree to disagree on quite a few issues. Martin may be on the conservative wing of the Liberal party, but that's still plenty left-wing.
posted by GhostintheMachine at 10:13 AM on December 2, 2003


While I agree with the government of Canada on the most of the issues noted in the thread, I fell that Canada's anti-speech laws that ban so called "pornography" need to go. Being different is not good or bad, but passing laws that violate fundamental rights such as free speech is just wrong. My message to the Canadian government: stop outlawing speech that is held constitutionally protected in US.

On a side note, I am sick of people trying to demonize my country when their countries hardly pass the muster of their own scrutiny. Further, those from other countries should understand that about 50% of Americans happen not to agree with the police’s of the Bush Administration. Moreover, much of these criticism are quite absent of an understanding if American Constitutional law and how our president and Congress is limited in implementing their agenda.
posted by Bag Man at 10:18 AM on December 2, 2003


Who likes historical re-enactments? 'Cause in the near future, Canada and the US are going to recreate the Prague Spring.

Don't think that we won't do it if you stray too far-- you have a LOT of oil.
posted by Mayor Curley at 10:33 AM on December 2, 2003


Since you're taking our "problems", Canada, why not take our blacks, jews, latinos, and gays? Boy do they suck.

Your sarcastic comment has reminded me of my favorite bathroom graffiti of all time (seen in a University of Chicago library): "U of C Fags Suck Dick."
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 10:49 AM on December 2, 2003


we've burned your white house before...
posted by websavvy at 10:51 AM on December 2, 2003


>Further, those from other countries should understand that about 50% of Americans happen not to agree with the police’s of the Bush Administration.

So? Counting the votes in a ahem certain way means that's a majority, and in a democracy that's meaningful. Don't ignore the fact that HALF of almost 300 MILLION people support Bush policies. As much as I'd like to blame Bush and his small cabal on so many problems its the voters who got him here, even with the all the dirty tricks he still got almost 50% of the votes. This is what America looks like because as a democracy this is how most people want it to look like.

I really don't understand these articles. I've seen a few lately and it seems that the editors at many newspapers are just trying to paint Canadians as "the bad ally" like they've already done with the French.

The assumptions in this articles seem like they were dictated by a crazy person. The land of the free can't tolerate freedome elsewhere. Check. If the US goes to war , Canada must join regardless of the circumstances. Check.

I think this is an interesting quote:

" "You can be a social conservative in the U.S. without being a wacko. Not in Canada.""

Yes, in Canada too. If your ideology is based on bigotry, forces your own puritanical beliefs on others through law, and encourages the prosecution victimless crimes with heavy punishment then you are a wacko.

It seems like these articles are trying to legitimize the American right, which is very far from an ideology based on the freedom and autonomy of the individual and comes off as very wacko. It also seems like our media and cultural noosphere needs to attack progressive politics and universal healthcare every chance it gets, in case some uppity Americans demand the same.
posted by skallas at 11:07 AM on December 2, 2003


Nelleish:

I'm a student from the States at a Canadian university . . .and perhaps my view is coloured by being a university student

It would appear that our slow but steady assimilation process has already begun!
posted by aclevername at 11:10 AM on December 2, 2003


Ghost: Martin may be on the conservative wing of the Liberal party, but that's still plenty left-wing.

Plenty left of the American administration, sure.

Excuse my Paul Martin rant here, but I find him kinda interesting.

Despite plenty of reading, I still don't really grok the Paul Martin agenda. He doesn't like "gay marriage" but he's willing to put up with it. He's "opposed" to abortion, but supports a woman's right to choose it. I think he believes those hot-button issues to be beneath his notice, best left alone. Which is fine. Parliament wastes an astonishing amount of its time and energy bickering about alarming-but-irrelevant things like pornography, so it's not so bad to see a politician consistently able to ignore that sort of thing.

Maritn appears to be more interested in Big Ideas about reforming the democratic process. I just spotted this for example. I haven't read the whole transcript yet, but it's pretty cool to see the next head of state chatting about open-source models of social problem solving with an academic intellectual.

His speech about parliamentary reform is interesting, but do the voters care about, or even understand it? Will it really make a difference, or just shuffle things around a little? I really have no idea.

So based on what little I know, I wouldn't call him "left-wing". He seems conservative, but with firm commitment to some theoretical ideal of democracy. In effect, practically neutral on the left-right scale, with his faith in free-market capitalism maybe putting him a little to the right. We can assume he'll do a good job with the economy, and not screw things up too badly. And if any of his big ideas do in fact turn out to make a difference, it'll probably be for the better.

So I'm not convinced that "left-wing" is appropriate. He's too far above that line to easily tell whether he's left or right of centre.
posted by sfenders at 11:15 AM on December 2, 2003


Our White House is so pretty, though, couldn't you just send in some people to clean out the vermin infestation this time?

Also, could Canada be considerate enough to annex some territory in a more temperate climate so I could emmigrate without freezing my a55 off? How about a merger with Australia and New Zealand?
posted by billsaysthis at 11:18 AM on December 2, 2003


Canada equals the US minus the South.
posted by goethean at 11:21 AM on December 2, 2003


Just to address an early post no one replied to:

Canada's lawyers aren't rampant sue-happy scanner trolls. They sing songs.

I believe that the US in the only industrial nation without a "Loser pays" type legal system.


No RIAA/MPAA in the CA either. Somehow, CDs are selling better there, hmmmmm

Every piece of recordable media sold in Canada features a massive levy/tax that goes straight to the Canadian equivalent of the RIAA. So when you buy a CD-R to save the drawings your young daughter made, you're subsidizing the Canadian music industry.
posted by Darke at 11:33 AM on December 2, 2003


Analysts say that Canada and the United States have always been similar yet different, and that the differences are often accentuated at the margins.

I think this is the real key point. As much as we on both sides of the borders joke about it being otherwise, Canada and the US are rather different countries, it's the fact that we seem the same (first world, western culture, predominately european descent) at first glance that makes the little differences all that more glaring once they're seen. Canada isn't America's little brother or adopted child, they're cousins, if anything, especially in modern times.

The stronger cultural links with Europe, the much more obvious socialist/left-leaning flavour, the bilingualism (esp. with Ottawa moving toward french-fluency as a staunch requirement, rather than loop-hole-able preference for jobs in the public sector) and factors such as the overall cold climate, wide distances between people and places, and greater presence of uninhabitable natural world (which I think all have a strong influence on Canadian pace of living) all contribute to set Canada apart from the States.

I think Canadians have always been very aware they are different from Americans. It's the somewhat prevalent perception in the States of Canada as a "large, northerly, autonomous region of America" that makes articles like this seem at all "shocking" or "divergent." Again, I'm not (yet) Canadian, I just live here, so these are just my personal impressions.


jon_kill: It was wholly not my intention to start any kind of a "fight." I wanted to point out that what you perceive as unfairness is not considered to be at all unreasonable to those of us actually living in another country under the conditions of a student visa. Perhaps my particular university is just different than those you've experienced/heard of? I'm not forbidden from partaking in any clubs or student activities or classes, I live off-campus and pay rent and bills just fine, my life as a student is in no way hurt or hindered by being on a visa. Put in the context of very similar circumstances being faced by Canadian students at American universities, the regulations of student visas are perfectly logical. I am sorry if I gave the impression of rampaging.
posted by nelleish at 11:41 AM on December 2, 2003


skallas,

If you truly believed the words you wrote you would have no problem with the people you call "wackos." I can't agree with social conservatives, I would also argue their values are not the values of free society, but I do tolerate their views and allow them for the same reasons I demand the right to believe what I believe. If I did not, then I would not live in a free society at all.

As for US attacks on Canadian health care, we in the US don't think Canadians are crazy. Some here in the US just don't want to pay the taxes to support such a thing or perhaps they just see that giving government all that power is just worth the benefit. But, skalles this just another example of your intolerance. You pose the question (an then provide an answer) to make all of those who disagree with you "nut jobs" or as you put it "wackos."

How can you claim to want to live in a truly free society while youare forcing your view on others who have considered your views and rejected them? I guess you believe other are only free to think the way you think.
posted by Bag Man at 12:15 PM on December 2, 2003


He didn't really want to hear about how there was nobody out there that really thought we needed attacking besides Americans.

This what I am talking about...cause all Americans think Canada needs to be attacked, just like all Canadians are left-wing Marxists who hate God. Please keep your troll in north of the border.
posted by Bag Man at 12:33 PM on December 2, 2003


Canada equals the US minus the South.

No it doesn't. Not by a long shot. Much as there's certainly plenty of common ground - Canada and the US-minus-the-South have more similarities than either country has with any other - this kind of oversimplification, which free-trade shills here in Canada traffic in as well, is an insult to Canada's unique culture and heritage (and to that of the US as well).

If, though, we need a nice simple equation, how about: Canada equals the US minus the South and the slavery legacy and the history of frontier justice and the death penalty and the constitutional right to bear arms and the manifest-destiny exceptionalism myth and the last hundred years of imperialism and also the paramount importance of freedom of opportunity that makes the US such fertile ground for entrepreneurs and inventors and so forth PLUS a massive unassimilated French population and a slightly less decimated native population with recognized land rights (and, in the case of Nunavut, self-government) and the official enshrinement of cultural and ethnic diversity as a fundamental national value and a long history of caution and moderation that means no imperial misadventures but also means a somewhat less entrepreneurial spirit and so on and so forth.

Also, for all of these reasons, plus the fundamental fact of it being the second-largest nation on earth in terms of geographic area, Canada isn't California, either.
posted by gompa at 12:38 PM on December 2, 2003


if you want to oversimplify things, might as well go all the way: The main difference between Canadians and Americans is that the Canadians think there's a difference. Which is a pretty big difference, really.

second-largest nation on earth

In geographical area, Canada is pretty much the same size as the US. Go look it up. It just seems bigger 'cause it's not so crowded.
posted by sfenders at 1:12 PM on December 2, 2003


If your ideology is based on bigotry, forces your own puritanical beliefs on others through law, and encourages the prosecution victimless crimes with heavy punishment then you are a wacko.

In America we call him "Attorney General".
posted by nath at 1:37 PM on December 2, 2003


It just seems bigger 'cause it's not so crowded.

And because of Mercator Projection.
posted by goethean at 1:59 PM on December 2, 2003


In geographical area, Canada is pretty much the same size as the US. Go look it up.

Okay.

Canada: 9,976,139 sq km
United States: 9,372,608 sq km

So, yeah, they're "pretty much" the same size. Canada's only 603,531 sq km larger - a chunk of extra land that's only about 1.5 times the size of California (403,934 sq km). So Canada's not analogous to California because (among many other reasons) it's much, much larger than California. Canada's huge, mostly empty landmass creates sociopolitical problems that are much, much different from those of smaller and more densely populated California. Was my point.
posted by gompa at 2:02 PM on December 2, 2003


IMO, Canada is more European than American.

I'm continually reminding myself that Paul Martin belongs to the Liberal party, not the Progressive Conservatives. I don't find him very Liberal at all.
posted by five fresh fish at 2:09 PM on December 2, 2003


Ah well. 9,976,139 square kilometers includes all that ice and water. I was thinking of land area, which is only 9,220,970 sq km. The difference is also larger than California. Didn't mean to argue your point, just to do my small bit to fight the injustice of the Mercator Projection.
posted by sfenders at 2:34 PM on December 2, 2003


just to do my small bit to fight the injustice of the Mercator Projection.

Let's liberate Greenland.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly at 2:46 PM on December 2, 2003


Let's liberate Greenland.

Yeah - it looks especially vulnerable to invasion from the north, where it's got this big wide expanse of coastline . . .
posted by gompa at 2:56 PM on December 2, 2003


Canada equals the US minus the South.
Gore, Clinton & Carter came from the south; Bush is a northerner by birth, Connecticut.
posted by thomcatspike at 4:06 PM on December 2, 2003


Cheney was a congresscritter from Wyoming, Ashcroft is from Missouri. And Bush thinks of himself as a Texan.
posted by billsaysthis at 6:01 PM on December 2, 2003


Sfenders> Paul Martin is a moderate libertarian. The vast majority of people in Canada thrown under the umbrella of "the right" or "conservatives" are in fact one of the many varieties of libertarian, and are mislabeled simply because most Canadians do not seem to know, or at the very least, commonly use, the term "libertarian". The PCs, for example, have not been conservatives for years. Thus their slogan "Socially progressive, fiscally conservative". The idea that the traditional "right" and libertarianism have anything at all to do with one another politically, or are even on particularly good terms with one another, is a pervasive but mistaken belief on both sides of the border.
posted by Pseudoephedrine at 10:59 PM on December 2, 2003


Paul Martin is a moderate libertarian.

Hmm. He has in common with libertarians that he wants to eliminate government debt, and lower taxes. But those ideas are pretty much universally supported, so it hardly makes him a libertarian.

He wants an increased role for the federal government in education, public health, social welfare, etc. He talks about reducing the income inequality, expanding the middle class, as a desirable goal that can be achieved by government intervention in the economy. As I understand it, these would not be things a libertarian would emphasize in a speech.

His views on same-sex marriage, marijuana, and firearms policy also seem antithetical to libertarianism.
posted by sfenders at 8:09 AM on December 3, 2003


Ah, here it is:

Is Martin a Libertarian? Republican? Right wing? Left wing? The question is irrelevant. If you want to understand Martin, look at where he comes from, not what he thinks. PMJR is a bona fide member of the Canadian ruling class. He is nationalist, business friendly, statist, and filled with a noblesse oblige that a layman might see as leftism. He is a John Turner who can get votes in Quebec. He is a cross between Maurice Strong, Walter Gordon and Mike Pearson with a dash of populism. He is the Canadian Establishment.

Precisely. Not exactly the kind of leadership that will help Canada live up to its supposedly hip, libertine, pot-smoking image.
posted by sfenders at 9:52 AM on December 3, 2003


We're not libertine - we're apathetic.

But what can you do.
posted by orange swan at 10:20 AM on December 3, 2003


Canada acts to protect 1.3 billion acres of forest

Damn hippies.
posted by homunculus at 11:13 AM on December 3, 2003


jon_kill: Also, the free health care isn't so free for them.
Our health care isn't free, it's universal. All provinces have health premiums around $30 per person with discounts to families and those who are dirt poor. Our taxes of course subsides the cost. But they do so in the states as well in the form of Medicaid/Medicare/Welfare.

However our costs are insanely cheaper because so much time and effort isn't expended in bookkeeping. For example Canada insured 100 percent of its citizens for $2,250 per person in l998 while the United States expended $4,270 per person insuring only 84 percent of our citizens. And becoming unemployed isn't a health disaster. To see the difference compare costs for things like LASIC which has a brisk US citizens to Canada trade. Plus we don't have to deal with the evilness associated with HMOs.
posted by Mitheral at 3:12 PM on December 3, 2003




I'd seen that, homunculus. Every single Cellucci quote on this matter has left me grinding my teeth.
posted by orange swan at 11:12 PM on December 5, 2003


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