A question as to what distinguishes Americans from Canadians

@suspenseful (40316)
Canada
July 16, 2008 7:37pm CST
Apart from America they removed the u from colour and neighbour and other words with our in it, and that they have a president while in Canada there is a prime minister, etc. I was wondering if there are other differences. We were in Saskatoon visiting and my sister-in-law said that I am considered a Canadian since I will save for something and do not live for the moment, while an American will put things on the credit card because the credit card interest is deductible, and will buy a much larger house because the mortgage is deductible and the attitude is live for today. Yet I suppose there are many Canadians who run up credit and live for today and do not look to the future. So is she being simplistic , because I thought that loving snow and ice makes you Canadian, as well as loving hockey and I hate snow and cannot stand sports. And also wanting to protect yourself and not depending on the law makes you an American while not protecting yourself and waiting for the law makes you Canadian. (My idea) Being independant makes you American, trusting in the government makes you Canadian. Wanting to join the military to fight makes you American, while Canadians will join the military to learn a trade. (this is my husband's idea about Americans.) Thus I have listed our ideas of what distinguishes Americans from Canadians so are any of these true or are they simplistic? Are there Americans who are great savers, do not put things on the credit card, depend on the government, love hockey, and love snow?
2 people like this
12 responses
• United States
17 Jul 08
To answer the last question, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes. Way too simplistic. You can say majority of the people who live in the USA act and live a certain way but if you think EVERYONE in the USA thinks alike then your going to most certainly be wrong. I can agree in a way and say that I do think most of the things you mentioned is the way MAJORITY of Americans live. Not everyone who joins the military here wants to fight. There are many other benefits of joining the military.
2 people like this
• United States
17 Jul 08
dear suspenseful, you can tell the difference between a Canadian and an American just by looking at their shoes. an American usually wears worn out joggers or sandles while in Canada, people usually wear more sophisticated leather shoes mostly europeans wear, such as puma or timberland. i know as i have travelled abroad. lol. also the average canadians has travelled abroad while most americans dont even possess a passport!! take care
2 people like this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
And our government thinks the only difference is that we are supposed to be polite and nice and we put Canadian flags on everything. Oh and I wear sandals, but I did not know about the passport. Now we need one to travel to the States and for identification for banking, etc. Me, I have expensive feet - bunions, wide in the front, narrow in the back so the only time I wear shoes is in the Fall, and in the winter, boots. All that snow we have up here in Winnipeg.
@umart13 (841)
• Ireland
17 Jul 08
Hello suspenseful. Well I am from Ireland and live in Germany and I suppose I can give you an outside perspective. I hear many friends say that they think that I should go to Canada to work, or that they always dreamed of going to Canada to work. It is always said that the Canadians are very welcoming. They do have a very good reputation for granting asylum to victims of war, e.g. Yugoslavia. America has the reputation of not being so welcoming, with it's immigration policy making it seem hostile to foreigners. Michael Moorer's film Bowling for Columbine did a lot of damage to the reputation of Americans and was full of praise for the Canadians. The Americans were made out to be fearful of everything, due to the society they live in and seemed to be susceptible to bouts of mass hysteria brought on by a manupilative media. The Canadians were by contrast shown as carefree and did not feel obliged to lock their doors, or carry weapons. I won't make any comment about the military, because the military and the arms industry are not representitive of the people! However, I do feel that a key difference between the Americans and Canadians is that the Canadians do not feel that psychological competition for space, as Canada is relatively underpopulated. All the best from Cologne. UMart
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
I would not believe anything that Michael Moore says. The Americans I met were some of the nicest people. Michael Moore is also a leftist and since Bush and the republicans are rightist, he taints anything from his point of view. Canadians do not let in anybody because much of the space we have is too cold and not fit for much more than forest and mountains. Oh and Canada does not have that much space. A lot of the land is farmland in the Prairies and up north it is tundra and too cold to grow anything. You take a drive along the prairies and our towns are few and far between, but Ontario, Quebec, are fill of small towns and cities. OH and we do look our doors and also our garage doors and our cars. Winnipeg is the home invasion and car stealing capital of Canada.
@umart13 (841)
• Ireland
17 Jul 08
Hi! I loved your reply. Then I should cancel my plans to go to Canada and all those teenage dreams of living in Vancouver are finally shattered. Still any country that gave us Bryan Adams, Pamela Anderson and Linda Evangelista and inspired the Lumberjack song, cannot be that bad. You take care and watch out for those bears. Umart
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
18 Jul 08
I would think the gas prices would be the only reason to cancel your dreams. Still the same, you would love Vancouver. It is just that it has changed since I was a kid. And because of the influx of Chinese, you have to pay for parking in Stanley Park and at Queen Elizabeth Park. Still on the other side, I want to go to New York City and go on the Empire States Building and see where Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan met in Sleepless in Seattle, even though I know the city is expensive, is hard to get around in, and you have to use a bus or a taxi. It is just one dream of mine. So it could be that in spite of the setbacks, your desire to see Vancouver is so great that you will forget about our rain, etc.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
18 Jul 08
used to never have a credit card! now I had to have one. It has helped me thru some bad times and yup there are alot of Americans that save real good. I used to like snow! would love to watch it fall but dont want to drive in it any more than I have too. Not into sports and never hockey. Basketball was my hubbies sport so got into that. And I have seen alot of teh ones we call Kanucks live for the day only! and house mortages are all that good to take off taxes any more and dont know about the credit cards.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
18 Jul 08
I guess it does not do any good to have an opinion based on what someone else says. like all the negative things we here about Americans, you have to look at who is telling you. When we used to get the paper, there was always was this anti=American letter printed by some guy. Funny no one printed any of my "we are all going to hell in a handbasket if we keep secularizing society" letters, but apparently our paper was on a mission to keep Canadians traveling in Canada. In my opinion, you did not need 911 to keep people from going to America, our editor was doing a very good job, thank you.
@Lakota12 (42684)
• United States
19 Jul 08
9/11 didnt stop any one from coing here I think more come across the borders all the time
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
19 Jul 08
I do not think that 911 stops people from crossing the border, I think apart from the high gas prices which also keeps us from traveling to other provinces up here, it is the false assumptions that Americans are rude, arrogant, not nice, etc. etc. or whatever bad things can be said about them, that prevents people from traveling south. Most Canadians who do not travel to the States, listen to the wrong people. And there is the campaign to get us to see more of Canada and would probably want us to see every square inch of it. Well I do not intend to travel to Baffin Island or the Northwest Territories, or walk on evey ice catch, thank you.
• United States
18 Jul 08
I used to live in upstate New York, where we had a lot of Canadian tourists. You could definitely tell them from the Americans. I think the big difference is that Canadians have a much more homogeneous society than USA - they had a much smaller melting pot.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
19 Jul 08
That is because under Trudeau, they wanted diversity and multiculturalism so they did not encourage the immigrants to assimilate. Sure there were programs to learn to speak English, but why do that when you are encouraged to wear a turban and those long dresses with flags on them, or to keep the customs that would have been illegal for us to start. I mean if someone has frizzy hair and dark skin, I can tell that they originally came from Fiji, or if someone is dark and slim build, I can tell that she might have come from the Sudan, or if someone wears a dirndl, I could tell she came from Austria in the mountains, but why keep it up year after year? And why show how proud we are that we have people coming from the different parts of the globe? And what if some of the customs are a little unnerving and would get you arrested here? So is it all right for female circumcision to still happen if the Sudanese live in Canada, and is it all right for Iraqis living in Canada to support terrorist organizations, etc? I mean they have to follow our laws and their loyalty has to be to our country. After all, I am part English, and I did not vote in the election in Great Britain.
• United States
19 Jul 08
Actually, I was thinking of the overall pattern, say...pre 1960. You would know better than I, but I think Canada (Quebec aside)had an even more lopsided majority of British-descent people than the US. Both the US and Canada encouraged assimilation in "old days" (sometimes rather forcefully), and I think Canada, with smaller groups of those historical immigrants, more successfully kept a more culturally homogeneous society. Such a society has less stress from differences, so is more civil. This is how I was trying to account for the mention on this discussion page of Canadians as unusually polite, calm, equible (in contrast to Americans). We are of course discussing stereotypes, so.... Anyway, what you mentioned about multiculturalism in recent couple of decades is a different kettle of fish. Not just Trudeau...it's been a major shift in how many Western countries treat immigrant populations. I agree with you. I think you're saying we should maintain strongly the good Western values developed over a couple of hundred years (equal rights for women, all. Checks on authoritarianism, large and small..like tendency of males to take power in families or organisations.) I don't like the view that the Western values must always be criticized, and non-Western practices get special consideration, hands-off treatment.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
19 Jul 08
That is what I meant. Back in the old days, we had people who came from non-English speaking countries, and they sent their kids to regular and private schools, but they would have to attend a Chinese or a Hebrew school early in the morning and they talked their language at home, but only to their grandparents who came over with them and had a hard time learning English, and as far as religion went, we did not give short shift to Christianity and give more credence to the other beliefs.
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
17 Jul 08
I found this a very interesting read suspensful. Unfortunately, being an Australian living in Thailand, I can't add much to what you have already stated. However, having worked with both Amerians and Canadians here at the University I find there is very little difference between the nationalities, but there are extreme differences in the individuals, which I believe is true for all saces.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
It could be that. When we were down in the States, I saw no difference. The only difference is the accents in some places, but we were not down that far south. And when we were on the cruise, there was a Baltimore couple and they were quite friendly, and all through my life, I never could tell if a person was a Canadian or an American unless they mentioned where they lived. Why there was another couple who came from Ontario and I would have sworn they were Americans by the way they talked.
1 person likes this
@mipen2006 (5528)
• Australia
17 Jul 08
I could never tell the difference between American and Canadian accents. Even the value of their dollars are the same now.LOL.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
Oh I was angry when we went through the States. I saw all those things that we could now get at a lower price, but I did not have enough money in my American bank account to take out to buy anything. I needed some new clothes because of the hot spell, and there were a couple of software programs that our customs would not allow into Canada unless I paid an arm and a leg.
@youdontsay (3503)
• United States
17 Jul 08
To be quite literal, Canadians and US Citizens are both American, as are Mexicans, Citizens of the Central American and South American countries. So there's really more similarities than differences, except for cultures which tend to come from geographical areas. So Canadians may be more like Europeans because they have stronger ties to Europe and Brittan, while US is made up of people from the whole globe! Hard to say what they are like, since it is such a mix!
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
Here in Winnipeg, we have a lot of people from all over. The ones that have ties to Europe and Britain are in British Columbia, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and in British Columbia we have a large Chinese population and there are more coming because even though China is supposedly better, it is still a Communist country. We have quite a mixture here, encourages by our former Prime Ministers' Trudeau's multiculturalism. But when they talk of Americans, they refer to the people of the United States, but if that North American union that everyone is afraid of comes through then we will all be Americans.
• United States
17 Jul 08
I think it is too hard to group people into categories for the most part. Except do that with Democrats and Republican. I am an American, and I am not one to use a credit card. I like to use cash. It would be easy to say I am a saver...make my own bread, wear clothes until they fall off my back. There are a lot of homesteaders in America who believe in saving. I love snow! I don't depend on the government for anything.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
You are right about Democrats and Republicans. I am glad that Americans are also savers, but I do not wear things until they fall off my back, just until I lose weight and they are too big, and since I do not want to gain it back, then I give the clothes to the Second Hand shops. and I do not make my own bread.(I should but I am too busy on myLot.) Maybe I will sometime.
@cher913 (25893)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
well, we dont have snow 365, actually it is july and at least 95 degrees out. Canadians are nicer than americans but much less patriotic than americans and canadians let people get away with more (ie our justice system and how we bend over backwards to accomodate different religions). yes, i believe there are americans that love hockey and snow (the northern states anyways - hence the NHL teams like the Pittsburgh Penguins and various ski hills in these same states.)
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
NOt much to be patriotic up here, not with the justice system and the judges who want to keep the Christians just in their homes and in the churches and not show their belief in public life. Our government is different. Here if a member joins a party he is expected to toe the party line, so if the party leader says that all companies have to allow men dressed as women to go into the ladies washroom in a public place, and that now they have to build urinals in the ladies washroom, then they have to agree with him or they get kicked out of the party. So it is not that we want it, it is just that it is forced on us.
@Latrivia (2889)
• United States
17 Jul 08
All those things you listed seem to be characteristics of a person, and nationality is no boundary for them. I've never met a Canadian in real life, so I wouldn't really know what distinguishes a Canadian from an American. Probably one of the most prominent differences I've noticed when conversing with Canadians over webcams, however, is how they speak. They refer to American's as "yanks", and use a bunch of terminology that foreign to your usual American slang(but maybe that's because I'm a dixie girl). Language, style, and cuisine are probably the biggest things that distinguish Americans from Canadians, I think.
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
I do not use much slang so I do not know the terms. I do say sh*t or rats when I am angry and if I am very frustrated, I will sometimes use the f word, but that is seldom. And in the Prairies we call Americans, Americans, and not Yanks. I think it depends on what part of Canada you are. Maybe those Canadians who called Americans Yanks were immigrants from the Southern United States. I do know that the cuisine is different, but the language is still the same, except for a few minor differences. Here in Canada we can either write like the British style, or the American style. But they prefer the British style. I will use that if we decide to live in England, but I like the American style myself.
@MaeTsuen (257)
• Philippines
17 Jul 08
hmm there might really be difference between Canadians and AMericans, it's because of the way each race was raised differently in a different environment, different beliefs, culture. That's how they think because that how things work in their country. Just like mine, i live in Philippines. When you are rich you can murder people and still be a free man. Money talks in my country. While in America, justice are served even to the most powerful gang mob...
1 person likes this
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
I guess we in Canada and the Americans have it lucky. We do not have to worry about bribes and rich people killing with impunity. I do think Americans are more religious than Canadians and have a better chance at defending Christian values. Up here, we have these very liberal judges who want to make it hard for Christians and they sometimes sneak in laws As well as have the Human Rights Commission who does not give rights to Christians, anyone else yes, Christians no. Americans do not have that problem.
@GardenGerty (96668)
• Marion, Kansas
17 Jul 08
I like some of your ideas, but I do want to clarify that it has been probably 25 years since credit card debt was deductible. Credit card debt is nothing but an anvil around your neck. I think Americans are too self confident, sometimes, and not forward looking enough. I do not know very many Canadians, except the ones I have met here.
@suspenseful (40316)
• Canada
17 Jul 08
That is nice to know. I thought the credit card interest deductible was still on. Oh and some Canadians do get into a lot of debt. It is just that the ones who do not get into debt and never have and have a cash full of suitcase around or their checkbook handy are the ones who always boast about it. I would expect now with the sub prime mortgage fiasco that many Americans would decide to look ahead and plan. Oh and I need to work a bit more on my self-confidence.