Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Tom Brokaw Explains Canada to Americans

As the US congressional elections heat up the closer November 2nd gets, Republicans have started throwing a lot of mud towards America's northern neighbour, Canada. Most of it is complete nonsense, like a lot of the garbage spewing forth from the mouths of the far-right in the US.

For instance, take the T-Party backed GOP candidate for Nevada, Sharon Angle, when speaking to a group of latino high school students. Her campaign ads focus on illegal immigration and show scene after scene of Mexicans jumping over fences. The latino students challenged her on this, to which she replied that the scenes portrayed, in not so many words, terrorists hopping the border from Canada.

Fox News recently described Canada as a "wasteland haven for terrorists intent on attacking the USA". Ann Coulter has said "..Canada is lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent as us" and, when discussing the end of Canada's Afghanistan mission next year, she insulted the thousands of soldiers who have fought, and the hundreds who have died, alongside American soldiers as "...a bunch of gays wearing colourful uniforms who wouldn't know what a rifle even looked like".

Pat Buchanan described Canada as "Soviet Canuckstan" (actually that one is funny and probably the most clever joke to ever come out of that douchebag's mouth). When Canada refused to partake in the illegal invasion of Iraq, despite walking side by side with America in the War on Terror, Tucker Carlson said, on Fox, "Canada is basically Honduras, but less interesting" and "What Canadians need are a few US bombs dropped on some of their families to bring them into line."

All this despite not a single 9/11 terrorist ever having set foot in Canada (they all came from other countries on US visas issued by INS), despite over 5500 troops (nearly 1/3 of our military resources) serving in a combat role in Afghanistan, despite being America's largest trading partner (more trade crosses the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit in a single month than all US trade to Japan in a year) and despite being America's safest, closest and friendliest neighbour. It's a great way to treat one's friends.

George "Double-ya" Bush broke NAFTA by imposing tariffs on softwood lumber, despite three NAFTA rulings and one world court ruling. In 2002, American F-16s accidentally bombed a Canadian military convoy in Afghanistan, killing 4 soldiers and wounding 7. The US government refused to apologize for this, and added insult to injury a month later when a Marine Guard of Honor hung the Canadian flag upside down during the Prime-Minister's visit to the White House. A reporter (for BBC) asked George W. Bush about this a week later, to which he replied "They should stop being babies about everything." Babies? You killed our troops and insulted our Prime-Minister!

Obama has only helped to worsen relations by repeating the myth that "Canada is a haven for terrorists" and, following his last visit to Ottawa, by saying that "I enjoyed my visit to Toronto".

Canada has recently begun drawing away from political and economic trade with the US. New deals with the EU and the "emerging" countries has seen an 8% drop in Canadian resources going to the US and a 7% rise in those same resources going to other countries. Canadian tourism to the US, which made up 72% of tourist dollars to the US before 2003, has declined by 21% since then. Anti-American sentiment in Canada, traditionally a pro-US country, has risen dramatically with 76% of Canadians saying "I really dislike America" in a recent Gallup poll compared to only 24% ten years ago. Hell, there's even a public boycot on goods that say "Made In America", something unheard of before 2003.

All this is very reactionary to basic US idiocy/ignorance of America's largest trading partner, closest neighbour and most loyal friend. After a decade of abuse by what used to be our best friend, Canada is slowly but surely flipping the US the finger and finding new friends in the world.

It was very relieving, then, to come across this wonderful presentation by NBC's Tom Brokaw, titled "Explaining Canada to Americans". I have included it here for your viewing pleasure, because Mr. Brokaw has summed up in 3 minutes everything Americans SHOULD know about Canada.


  1. That's a great piece by Tom Brokaw, and well put by you, too.

    My Scottish mother, her siblings and irrepressible mother, arrived in Halifax in 1917 on a Canadian troopship returning wounded soldiers.

    I believe Canada is a better choice for Russians wanting to emigrate than the USA.

  2. I have a comment (obviously)

    First, for whatever reason Americans feel like its funny to crack on Canada and, like any childish, schoolyard mocking, someone always takes it too far and makes fun of the kid's mom who just died or something like that. Basically all the people you quoted are those dim-witted 12 year old 3rd graders who everyone gets pissed off at when they inevitably take things too far. Plus, lets face it, most Americans don't shit about the rest of the world, like in this video.


    For what its worth, I'm looking forward to visiting Canada whenever you get back there