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What are the important cultural differences between Canada and the US?


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14 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

You're referring to the president of course.  Well yeah.

Curious: how exactly do Canadians view Americans in general? Not the US Government, but just Americans in general?

Some are a total jerk off. In general anything that is said by an American is taken with a pinch of salt.

 

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11 hours ago, ?Impact said:

You are our neighbors, so of course we are going to have opinions. Just like we talk about those in other provinces, those living on the other side of town, or those right next door. We are going to bitch because you forgot to return that power tool you borrowed last week or that noisy your kid hangs out with in the driveway playing basketball, but you're also a close friend and we wouldn't hesitate to look after the house/kids when you get that emergency call that your mother was rushed to the hospital. Yes, we are nosy neighbors and are going to comment on what you do and even get into the occasional spat when you leave your trashcan in our driveway, but don't move away because we will miss you.

Awww....that's so nice :)

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1 hour ago, Goh Shenas said:

Some are a total jerk off. In general anything that is said by an American is taken with a pinch of salt.

 

Yes but one read of your contributions and I think its fair to say  people take much if not all you have to say with a "pinch of salt" so youhave not demonstrated any difference from you and the Americans you criticize or between me and Americans or that matter although people with me do not take a pinch of salt more like a snort of cocaine. Yah dig?

I think the Honourable James Hacker if you read his threads was looking for something a tad more in depth than your personal subjective feelings such as institutional differences in how we enforce laws, cultural differences. He probably reads a bit more than you and wants something a tad more lengthy.

For example. I would answer him that the biggest and most obvious cultural difference between Canada and the USA is that Canada was created and is still very much constructed as a collective or collectivist society, whereas the US is constructed as an individual or individualistic society.

The US was created to revolt against being collective subjects of the monarchy and an elite sovereign who inherited his/her throne. Canada was created by those loyal to this collectivist monarch concept and who wanted to remain subjects of the monarchy (collective).

Canada already was inhabited by a series of collectives or communities or nations or self ruling collections of people. It was then joined by collectives from France and Britain.

The collectives in Canada were more decentralized. In Britain and France, the collectives centralized to the point where they were administered by the symbol of the crown in Britain and the symbol of the President replacing the symbol of the Crown in France.

The US was created by people rebelling. It was a nation of individuals who saw central authority as something corrupt and not to be trusted while the founders of Canada after the natives felt the exact opposite, they gave blind obedience to the collective head of state and did not question its powers, i.e., taxes.

Yankee Doodle Dandies said to hell with taxes and government. Screw that. Its unfair. The country was literally founded by revolution and its people spread out settling the nation not as they did in Canada in the name of a centralized head of state, but as individuals.

In Canada the land was defined as CROWN land that we plebians, we surfs, we peons, in fact purchased from her but remained her land Our titles to lnd is subordinate to the Crown's right of that land. In that sense the only person who really owns land unrestricted is the Crown.

In the US individual title to property is paramount.

The US constitution envisions a decentralized state where each individual state  was supposed to be able to rule themselves and only turn to the federal government for its help and role, if it was for the benefit of that state.

State governments were envisioned with more constitutional powers and jurisdiction over laws than provinces in Canada.

Our entire legal system in Canada reflects the belief that the state itself is bigger than the individual, while in the US its the exact reverse.

This is why in Canada in is an inherent and intrinsic value that we embrace medicare or for that matter gun control. These are the two most obvious symbols of our collectivist identity. In the US it is the exact reverse. Medicare and gun control are seen as the enemy of the people, forms of tyranny the nation of the US and its individual states can nto permit.

Finally we have another major cultural difference. The US embraces its chauvinistic traditions, i.e., I say that in the pure sense of what the word means named after General Chauvin of France. It embraces itself as a military nation with a history based on war history. Military patriotism is at the pith and substance of American identity. Its inescapable to talk American history without reference to its wars, its military history and traditions. Its monuments, its government symbols, all remain deeply connected to its military traditions. If you want to be an American politician you put the military first and you must praise it and you sure as hell to do not apologize for any violence in its past.

In Canada we frown on military displays and unlike the Americans we feel guilty about our indigenous people but like the Americans give them lip service. Our military history very much was subordinated to following the British whether it be the Boer War, WW!, WW2, Korea. Our police did not even use guns until the late 60's whereas to be American, a gun was as essential as a penis for its men.

To this day our military sees the British military model as the one to follow and this means no bravado and vet display of technological  prowess like the US military but instead a very modest,  quiet disciplined approach like the good soldiers we were within the greater British military scheme of things. American culture embraces bragging that it has the  biggest  penis (best fighter jet, most nuclear weapons, best rocket) while in Canada hey we identify ourselves as a furry beaver.

 

 

 

 

Edited by Rue
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6 minutes ago, Rue said:

The cultural difference it this point is one where the US still embraces macho bravado concepts with Trump  while Canada celebrates being gay and transsexual with Justin.

Canada embraces effeminate men as politicians, the US macho men.

Our effeminate politician can beat the shyte out of the US macho man.

Perhaps the real difference is Canadians are comfortable in their skin, and Americans need to pretend to be something else. Canadians are open and accepting, and Americans are closed and demurring. Of course stereotypes are not worth the bits they are printed with. Canada has many close minded people and America has many open minded ones as well. In fact America did not choose the macho man, the skewed electoral college did. 

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Rue, that was incredibly insightful.  Nice! That is certainly what I was looking for.  Objective and analytical, with any criticism certainly constructive, vs. one of the other members' mention of "acting like jerkoffs".

Maybe not 100% correct (but then again I could be wrong...not everyone views their own culture accurately because they live inside that particular box) though it was a thoughtful and accurate view in most respects.  Americans will talk of the "tyranny of the majority" quite often.  A poli sci professor of mine explained to a foreign student once, we were founded not on majority rule but individual liberty (the two do sometimes conflict).  Your collectivity vs. individual liberty hit the nail on the head for sure.  I think that the government often does influence society and vice-versa.

Your mention of the military-like aspect of American society: we're not all about the military, I think.  What you're seeing now (patriotism that looks almost like jingoism to some people, though I know you didn't say that, just saying it seems that way sometimes) is the realization that we made a HUGE mistake following Vietnam; not just about going to war in the first place but what we did to the military when they returned to the States.  My father has often remarked that any Vietnam vet will tell you, the biggest betrayal of the war came, not from Johnson, not from Nixon, not from our generals in charge of prosecuting that war, but from the American People.  My father was actually spit on by a well-dressed, conservative-looking woman at the airport.  She shouted "baby burner" as she did it.  This was 1971 of course, but that's a taste of exactly how cruel we were to our own people.

So, what you're seeing is essentially that we're trying (trying mind you!) not to repeat that mistake and treat our veterans better.  This sometimes comes off as a militant-looking stance, but it isn't.  We're still not there (we could certainly give our veterans much better treatment via the V.A. and its health system!!!!) but we've realized that, when you don't agree with a war, get pissed off at the politicians---not the vets returning from a war they very well may not have wanted to fight in the first place.  We wave the flag a lot but that's more for their benefit than looking badass.

But I don't want to get too off-topic about that one.  It was however, a good point to raise.

?impact: Trump isn't so much a product of the electoral college (yes, I know Hillary won the popular vote and the "winner" didn't) as the skewed, dysfunction primary system that produced, as Lewis Black put it, two bowls of dogs*** to chose from when we went into the voting booth.  More people might have voted for Gary Johnson if he wasn't so....gosh how do I describe him? Plenty of 4-letter words to choose from that I would equally use on the GOP or Democratic nominee.  A general election for president is something of a conjuring trick: pick any card, you must always choose between the two cards the magician chose for you.

But that's a topic for another thread, I think....

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29 minutes ago, ?Impact said:

Our effeminate politician can beat the shyte out of the US macho man.

Perhaps the real difference is Canadians are comfortable in their skin, and Americans need to pretend to be something else.

I disagree completely. We still have that "look at me!" mentality, and are constantly seeking the Sally Fields (You like me, you really like me) affect. Anything said about Canada by anyone or any group or organization that is international is lapped up by Canadian media and regurgitated with breathless glee. Look at where Mister Selfie is now. That silly play someone wrote about how Newfoundlanders welcomed American passengers on 9/11 (and who but Canadians would make a play about such a thing?) is now on Broadway. Mr. Selfie went down there to bask in the glow of appreciation, to bow and smile and tell everyone how much he appreciates them realizing how nice he and Canada is.

This is an unfortunate constant in Canada's culture, that we care so much about what others say or think of us.

Edited by Argus
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1 minute ago, JamesHackerMP said:

BTW, what does "Tabernac!" mean? On an episode of Archer, where he was at a casino in Montreal, the Quebecois didn't say "merde" or something; they said "tabernac!"  I am assuming it is a swear but not sure what it means.

French swear words all seem to be church related. It sounds kind of goofy, but if you translate it into English its simply tabernacle - ie the tabernacle of a church.

Edited by Argus
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1 minute ago, Argus said:

I disagree completely. We still have that "look at me!" mentality, and are constantly seeking the Sally Fields (You like me, you really like me) affect. Anything said by anyone or any group or organization that is international is lapped up by Canadian media and regurgitated with breathless glee. Look at where Mister Selfie is now. That silly play someone wrote about how Newfoundlanders welcomed American passengers on 9/11 (and who but Canadians would make a play about such a thing?) is now on Broadway. Mr. Selfie went down there to bask in the glow of appreciation, to bow and smile and tell everyone how much he appreciates them realizing how nice he and Canada is.

This is an unfortunate constant in Canada's culture, that we care so much about what others say or think of us.

Speaking of which, the actual event I thought was pretty touching.  It was on the news quite a bit after 9/11.  I'm sad to say many of us have forgotten it since, but this American is pretty awed by your kind-heartedness.

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2 minutes ago, JamesHackerMP said:

Speaking of which, the actual event I thought was pretty touching.  It was on the news quite a bit after 9/11.  I'm sad to say many of us have forgotten it since, but this American is pretty awed by your kind-heartedness.

I thought it was very nice of those people too, but I'm realistic enough to figure that just about any small town in North America or Europe or a lot of other places would probably have acted much the same. Certainly in the 'five eyes' they would have.

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1 minute ago, Argus said:

French obscenities all seem to be church related. It sounds kind of goofy, but if you translate it into English its simply tabernacle - ie the tabernacle of a church.

Ohhhhh right! I now remember in that book by Harry Turtledove (alternate history about WWI) there was this Quebecois who was a main character and he said that they don't talk about poo and sex when they swear; they swear about Church-stuff.  Interesting.  (The guy was like, "f***!  Hmmm, just doesn't sound right! lol)

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3 minutes ago, Argus said:

I thought it was very nice of those people too, but I'm realistic enough to figure that just about any small town in North America or Europe or a lot of other places would probably have acted much the same. Certainly in the 'five eyes' they would have.

Perhaps.  But still more than noteworthy.  Five eyes?

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1 hour ago, JamesHackerMP said:

realization that we made a HUGE mistake following Vietnam

WWII seemed to glorify going to war in the general public, television was a big eye opener. While Canada didn't participate in Vietnam, I think we we also learned a big lesson from it. Unfortunately people have a habit of lashing out on a symbol of what they see wrong, so Soldierophobia grew in the latter and post- Vietnam era. It took many years for people to realize that the soldiers were not the problem (and no I am not excusing those individuals who did step over the line) but that war is a terrible venture. Unfortunately not all lessons are learned equally. It is a good thing that Americans (and Canadians) alike were able to come out and support our troops in Afghanistan (and Iraq, Libya, etc.), even if we did not support the mission.

1 hour ago, JamesHackerMP said:

BTW, what does "Tabernac!" mean? On an episode of Archer, where he was at a casino in Montreal, the Quebecois didn't say "merde" or something; they said "tabernac!"  I am assuming it is a swear but not sure what it means.

Yes, in Quebec if you use symbols of the church to express your discontent then you are far more foul than using the F word, etc. These profanities are known as sacres, probably even more common (at least amongst the older generation) than tabarnak is sacrament. Of course they could be combined as in the ever favourite maudit câlisse (damn chalice). Later generations of course don't really find them that offensive, but then later English generations don't find the F word that offensive either.

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Canada was in Viet-Nam...just unofficially.

Some 30,000 Canadians served in Viet-Nam...suddenly lots of folks were born in Point Roberts....and similar places. Due to the Canadian Foreign Enlistment Act, volunteers had to claim they were born in the USA. The US Army didn't check in these cases...officially...lol. A swingin' d--- is a swingin' d---.

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2 hours ago, JamesHackerMP said:

BTW, what does "Tabernac!" mean? On an episode of Archer, where he was at a casino in Montreal, the Quebecois didn't say "merde" or something; they said "tabernac!"  I am assuming it is a swear but not sure what it means.

Swear words uttered by French Canadians stem from a frustration with the power and influence that the Catholic Church had on Quebecers. At one time the Church dominated every aspect of their lives. The quiet revolution, which saw that power abate considerably, didn't alter their swearing habits. In 2006, the Church ran a campaign on the meaning of these swear words in the hopes those swears would diminish.

Quote

This year’s posters highlight the sacred meaning of some religious words that have evolved into swear words in Quebec French over the last 50 years.

There are four posters that feature the definitions of religious words, including “ciboire” (ciborium), “hostie” (host), and “tabernacle” (tabernacle).

For example, one French poster, when translated into English, reads: "tabernacle: small cupboard locked by key on the altar containing the ciborium."

These religious swear words are a uniquely French-Canadian phenomenon, said Monique Carmel, a linguist and professional translator. She told the Canadian Press that these words “were used as blasphemy and a form of rebellion when the Church held a great amount of power in Quebec society.”

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/montreal_diocesan_campaign_posters_teach_sacred_meaning_of_religious_swear_words/

I'm Francophone and so is my spouse. I tell you, to hear us go at it at times at home you'd think you were attending mass. :lol:

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7 hours ago, capricorn said:

Swear words uttered by French Canadians stem from a frustration with the power and influence that the Catholic Church had on Quebecers. At one time the Church dominated every aspect of their lives. The quiet revolution, which saw that power abate considerably, didn't alter their swearing habits. In 2006, the Church ran a campaign on the meaning of these swear words in the hopes those swears would diminish.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/montreal_diocesan_campaign_posters_teach_sacred_meaning_of_religious_swear_words/

I'm Francophone and so is my spouse. I tell you, to hear us go at it at times at home you'd think you were attending mass. :lol:

Crisse de câlisse de sacrament de tabarnak d’osti de ciboire!

(that's mostly what I remember from my year spent in Quebec)

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22 hours ago, ?Impact said:

Our effeminate politician can beat the shyte out of the US macho man.

Perhaps the real difference is Canadians are comfortable in their skin, and Americans need to pretend to be something else. Canadians are open and accepting, and Americans are closed and demurring. Of course stereotypes are not worth the bits they are printed with. Canada has many close minded people and America has many open minded ones as well. In fact America did not choose the macho man, the skewed electoral college did. 

Trudeau was fit. He's getting chubby. I would call him of I were you. His hips have grown.

 All kidding aside you must admit the culture in Canada of how we define a male politician and how they do it in the US is different. We don't like brashness in our politicians, they do.

Our most masculine politicians are women, there's are angry black senators in the Democratic caucus.

Then again In the last 8 years the most macho person on Capital Hill was Michele Obama. You saw those arms.

 

 

Edited by Rue
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11 hours ago, Bonam said:

Crisse de câlisse de sacrament de tabarnak d’osti de ciboire!

(that's mostly what I remember from my year spent in Quebec)

:lol:

You were probably there for French immersion as were many Anglophone public servants. After one year in La Belle Province, that's mostly what the majority of them have retained of the French language.

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19 hours ago, capricorn said:

Swear words uttered by French Canadians stem from a frustration with the power and influence that the Catholic Church had on Quebecers. At one time the Church dominated every aspect of their lives. The quiet revolution, which saw that power abate considerably, didn't alter their swearing habits. In 2006, the Church ran a campaign on the meaning of these swear words in the hopes those swears would diminish.

http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/news/montreal_diocesan_campaign_posters_teach_sacred_meaning_of_religious_swear_words/

I'm Francophone and so is my spouse. I tell you, to hear us go at it at times at home you'd think you were attending mass. :lol:

You guys do have issues with the tabernacle. Look I grew up in Montreal. All the Saints, Maurice, Le Gros Bil, the Pocket Rocket, Howie Morenz, Doug Harvey, Guy Lafleur/Lapointe, Jacques Plante/ Laperriere, J.C. (not Christ, Tremblay), Toe, Larry, Serge, Vezina, Durnan, Butch, Boom Boom , Le Road Runner, etc., Le Big M, we never said their real names. They were revered and are revered. This is why Francophones don't go further that ST....because they cannot  take the name of our Saints in vane. The Forum in Montreal has always been a place of worship and everyone knows God is a Habs fan. Without Les Habs Canada would have burned in hell by now. Les Glorieux are what keeps Canada Canada. This is what we mean by Canadiens/Canadiens. We mean Le CH. Les Habitants sonts la. Americans have no religious diety like that. Well they have the Yankees which is close but come on they were pajamas to work.

Edited by Rue
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12 hours ago, Bonam said:

Crisse de câlisse de sacrament de tabarnak d’osti de ciboire!

(that's mostly what I remember from my year spent in Quebec)

 ay s'il tu plaits, donnes moi un autre blue.

You never learned that?

You must be some kind of spy from Russia.

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18 minutes ago, Rue said:

You guys do have issues with the tabernacle.

It rolls off the tongue tabarnak.

Quote

Look I grew up in Montreal.

So did I. Specifically Saint-Henri, in the parish of Our Lady of Broken Windows. I spent a lot of time in Westmount Park. It was close to home and had nicer swings and such.

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On 7/24/2009 at 11:30 AM, Machjo said:

Some I can think of:

Canada, English-French.

US, English-Spanish.

Canada, monarch, parliament

US, President, republic.

Canada prefers multilateral international relations.

The US tends to prefer bilateral relations.

Canada, culture tends to be defined by governement (e.g. CBC-SRC, culture and arts funding, Official Languages Act, etc.)

US, culture is defined mainly by the individual.

We are all from a common British/European mother. We all speak English. We are a Christian nations. Canadians use metric, Americans use imperial. A dollar is a dollar. We salute too a different flag though. Other than that I see no real difference between Canadians and Americans. Most times I feel like Canada is the 51st state of the union. It might not be a bad idea to become another state especially with the lower Canadian dollar the way it is which is killing Canadians when we go for a trip to America. Maybe we should get rid of our Canadian currency, and start using American. Look at the benefits of that for all Canadians?  But hey. 

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