In Defense Of Canada

Ken AshfordForeign Affairs1 Comment

I’ve never quite understood why so-called patriotic conservative bloggers and pundits take swipes at Canada all the time:

Canada has been described lately by a conservative U.S. television host as "a stalker" and a "retarded cousin."

Another pundit recently asked if Canadians weren’t getting "a little too big for their britches."

There’s been a spate of Canada-bashing by right-wing media commentators in the United States ever since Prime Minister Paul Martin’s complaints about lumber penalties and U.S. policy on climate change. His remarks prompted an unusual rebuke last week from the American ambassador.

The attacks on Canada have had web bloggers typing overtime and a non-profit group that’s monitoring the trend, Media Matters for America, says it’s disturbing.


Last week, MSNBC host Tucker Carlson, a well-known conservative pundit, let loose with a string of anti-Canada rants.

"Anybody with any ambition at all, or intelligence, has left Canada and is now living in New York," he said.

"Canada is a sweet country. It is like your retarded cousin you see at Thanksgiving and sort of pat him on the head. You know, he’s nice but you don’t take him seriously. That’s Canada."

Carlson also said it’s pointless to tell Canada to stop criticizing the United States.

"It only eggs them on. Canada is essentially a stalker, stalking the United States, right? Canada has little pictures of us in its bedroom, right?"

What is this?  The "Bad Neighbor" policy?

Let’s remember what Canada did on September 11, 2001.  Thousands of planes had to be landed immediately.  Our airports were overflowing, and the capacity to land planes was strained.  Flights were diverted to Canada.  Tens of thousands of commuters were stranded, and couldn’t return to the United States since all flights were grounded.

What did Canadians do?  They opened the doors to their houses.  Their generosity was legion, inspiring — among other things — tribute websites.  And it wasn’t the first time Canada provided assistance in America’s time of crisis.

Sure, they gave us Celine Dion and Ann Murray, but for the most part, they’ve been a good and friendly neighbor to the North.   When conservative pundits criticize Canadians simply because Canada doesn’t kiss American ass 24/7, it speaks ill of this country, not theirs.  And I wish they would shut up.