Canada's View on Social Issues Is Opening Rifts With the U.S.

Ian Andrew Bell fork at
Wed Dec 3 10:57:04 PST 2003

Why?  I think there's something fundamental about the way Canada 
contains and respects dissent, vs. the US.  The bread/bible belt in 
Canada is actually far more socialist than it is right wing... the NDP 
have dominated provincial politics in Saskatchewan and Manitoba for 
quite some time.  The coasts tend to be more economically conservative.

I think that there's a real, functional libertarianism that was 
embodied by Pierre Trudeau ("the government has no business in the 
bedrooms of the nation") and his Canadian Charter of Human Rights And 
Freedoms, which is an excellent read even outside of its legislative 

I believe, having lived in both places, that the difference is 
tolerance vs. fear.  In Canada you may not >like< someone's choice to, 
say, smoke pot on the steps of the courthouse or marry someone of the 
same sex.  You will not, however, attack them or their ideals because 
of that.  You might lobby to get a law created, etc. but you do not 
attack them directly.

In the United States there seems to be a compelling belief that when 
someone else's choice, whether it's a choice to don a swastika and 
march through town on Hitler's birthday or whether it's a choice by a 
man to kiss another man in public, disagrees with your own mores and 
values that that choice is offensive and must be stopped at any cost.  
Perhaps because there's less faith in the legislative process, people 
resort to various degrees of vigilantism (ranging from cat-calling and 
nasty talk shows to beatings, shootings, etc.) to effectively stamp out 
that which is offensive to your beliefs.  People seem to feel that 
those things with which they disagree MUST be stopped, and that the 
only way to deal with those things effectively is to enforce action 
directly upon the offenders.

Hey, look up, America.  There's a thriving democracy right above you.

(Ironic, considering that there's effectively been one party in power 
in Canada for 85% of the last 140 years).


On 3-Dec-03, at 10:35 AM, Joseph S. Barrera III wrote:

> Ian Andrew Bell wrote:
>>  More than just borders separate Canada and the US, and that gulf is
>>  widening. The question is, are Canadians becoming more compassionate
>>  and libertarian? Or are Americans becoming more self-interested and
>>  conservative?
> If you look state/province (let's just say province) by province,
> I'm sure there's more diversity among provinces than among
> the two countries as a whole, with a lot of commonality among
> the coasts vs. the midwest. So this sort of Americans vs. Candadians
> article is kind of infuriating to me.
> - Joe
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