Missing the Obvious

Canadian writers comparing Canada nd the U. S., almost always to Canada’s advantage, is practically a cottage industry. At the Washington Post J. J. McCullough considers the differences between Canadian politics and U. S. politics:

Neither Canada nor the United States is in the best political health these days, but the symptoms plaguing each country run in sharply different directions. If excessive division is preventing Americans from getting much done, too much consensus in Canada makes doing the wrong things too easy.

and identifies three major differences:

  1. It’s easier to get elected in Canada — even if you’re unpopular
  2. Canadian political parties are much more powerful
  3. Canadians vote less than Americans

Although he almost gets to the real difference between Canada and the U. S. in his opening his three points miss the essence of the difference between the two.

First, a point on which both Canadians and Americans are confused. Canada is a different country from the U. S. just as Mexico and Canada or Germany and Canada are different. They resemble each other superficially but it is, indeed, a superficial resemblance. We have different histories, different economies, different expectations, different politics.

The main difference between the two is that Canada is much more ethnically and culturally homogeneous than the U. S. even taking the Anglophone/Francophone dichotomy into account. 75% of Canadians are of primarily European descent, a considerable decline, and 70% of Canadians are Christians (or post-Christians). Fewer than 5% of Canadians are black or Hispanic compared with 30% of Americans.

Consensus-based government is enormously easier in Canada than in the United States.

3 comments… add one
  • Drew Link

    More importantly, they produce more good hockey players. But then, there is Patrick Kane.

  • They produce more good hockey players for the same reasons that so many good basketball players come from inner citiies and good baseball players come from Cuba and DR: practice, practice, practice. And a culture of good hockey players, basketball players, and baseball players.

  • Grey Shambler Link

    Culture explains a lot of what’s good about societies.
    We respect defeated indigenous cultures and despise our own.
    Go figure.

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