Sociologist: Canadians and Americans are more alike than people might think

A Canadian sociologist argues that Americans and Canadians are quite similar:

But experts suggest English Canadians — though the QMI Agency poll found we’re still divided whether stereotyping is widespread — are alike on most fronts.

In fact, so much so that most of us could blend in with our U.S. cousins, according to one scholar.

Ed Grabb, a professor in the University of British Columbia’s Department of Sociology, has begun a new course outlining how Canadians and Americans, while not identical, are more alike than most of us would have thought.

In fact, on things like attitudes toward health care, government and individuality, research has found we’re very similar.

Even differences in religion are shrinking. In 1991, Americans were 16% more likely than Canadians to take in a religious service at least once a week.

By 2006, that number had dropped to 11%.

While Grabb sees regional differences in both countries — during national elections, Quebec generally pulls Canada to the left just as the southern U.S. pulls that nation to the right — he’s also noticed a softening of old hackneyed chestnuts.

“I do think the Alberta redneck jibe is an endangered species,” Grabb said.

“I think that the assumption that all Ontarians are affluent is also going by the boards.

It would be interesting to see comparisons across the board: income, political and social views (both at home and abroad), religion, education, and consumer purchases and entertainment choices. Then, compare these to what Americans and Canadians think about each other. Why do I think Canadians would know way more about Americans than the other way around?

I also want to know how to explain this. Both the United States and Canada are settler colonies but we have different histories as Canada has had a different relationship with Great Britain in the last few centuries. Perhaps people might fall back on the frontier hypothesis since both countries pursued territorial expansion and span between two different (geographically and cultural) coasts. Perhaps today we tend to share a lot of media and cultural influences. For example, how many Americans care or would they have been able to tell without being told that Justin Bieber is Canadian. Perhaps our geopolitical position away from major international wars has led to similar ways of viewing the world. Perhaps the better way to differentiate between the countries is to refer to the “Jesusland” map where Canada joins with the East and West American coasts plus some of the Great Lakes states and red America is the south, great plains, and mountain west.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s