Video made by: Susannah
I found an interesting website a couple of years ago which lead me to create the video clip that you see above. UnitedNorthAmerica.org is a nonprofit organization that calls for the unification of Canada and the US. They seek to, and I quote, “democratically unite the continent by helping the Canada’s provinces join the U.S.A.” My first question; how about the other way around – help USA join Canada? And why not, our birthdays are so close – we are practically twins. It’d sure make traveling to hang with my American creatives a hell of a lot easier! In any case, in celebration of both US and Canada’s birthday, let’s take a moment to entertain this idea they have put forth.
The Canada – United States border, officially known as the International Boundary, is the longest border in the world. The website says that “we are wasting personnel by spreading our border patrols across the vast 5,500 mile border that Canada and the US share. The potential loss of misusing forces is much more difficult to measure, but just as the 9/11 hijackers revealed, an act of terrorism can severely damage the integrity of the continent. Another incident could easily occur if we are not vigilant and wise in deploying our resources. Security and terrorist threats do not come to Canada from United States or vice-versa, but from overseas. Removing unnecessary land and sea patrols and rather directing them to protecting airports and harbors from outside threats would have the doubled effect of enhancing our security and strengthening the free flow of travel and trade between the regions of North America.”
In terms of history and culture, which are tools often used to segregate people, promote nationalism and encourage division, we have about a 250 year history with our neighbors to the south. This in itself should make us pause to think about uniting the people of North America. Looking at the nations of Europe who are divided with deep linguistic and religious lines that have been cultivated over centuries, they’ve managed to unite. If Europe can do it, why can’t we do so as well?
The website points out that the “border that divides us today was not created out of any interminable or un-resolvable issues. It was instead simply a line drawn by an imperial power that has long since left the shores of North America. While the political disputes of the 18th Century have long since disappeared, their legacy continues to live on in the form of the border. A United North America would finally heal the wound of the first civil war that divided the people of North America, and bring about a reunion of historical proportions.”
It has been argued that the United States was created out of the angst with the British Empire and ‘that Canada was created out of angst of that angst.’ Meaning, Canada was created by the British (i.e. Lord Durham and his crew) to be a “non-American” nation that wanted to stop the full integration of North America. It was also embraced by Tory Americans who wanted to define themselves as something other than as the Americans that they were. The website says that despite the ever-changing sense of Canada’s nationalism, it remains essentially a “non-American” sentiment which explains why Canadian nationalism seems undefinable beyond being “not American”. They say that Canada still is today a nation of people in denial of their own American-ness.
This non-American attachment and even pride is described by some as an inferiority complex and they quote Dr. Mark Snyder, a Canadian psychologist, saying:
“If you step back, it’s very hard in objective terms to plot out what are the true differences between Canadians and Americans… Humans have a strong capacity to construct identities for themselves. It’s largely a social process of construction. Some of it is taking small differences and making them seem bigger. A lot of it comes not from the differences, but from feelings of a sense of identity. It’s tough to find things on which to hang an identity for all the English-speaking Canadians. It’s not really a language that makes them distinct. It only makes them distinct from French-speaking Canadians. It makes them more like the U.S. to focus on language. Food doesn’t work very well because, by and large food in Canada is the same as in the United States. What are you left with? Well there’s geography. It’s clear that if you live in Canada as opposed to the U.S., there’s a border between the two. There aren’t a lot of things onto which you can pin as distinctively Canadian culture, other than growing up and learning that you’re Canadian and not American. It’s identity by negation rather than affirmation.”
What do you think?
Let’s take a look at some of our similarities:
Canada: July 1, 1867 USA: July 4, 1776
Note: USA is 91 years older (Canada was not a fully self-governing until December 11, 1931)
Canada: 9,984,670 sq km (3,855,103sq mi)
USA: 9,826,630 sq km (3,794,083sq mi)
Note: Canada has 1.6% more total area.
Canada: 9,093,507sq km (3,511, 023 sq mi)
USA: 9,161,923 sq km (3,537,438sq mi)
Note: USA has 0.7% more land
Forest and Wooded Land (1995):
Canada: 4,119,359sq km (1,590,493 sq mi)
USA: 2,986,786 sq km (1,153,205 sq mi)
Note: Canada has 27.5% more forested and wooded land.
Major Protected Areas (2008):
Canada: 609,265 sq km (235,239 sq mi)
USA: 1,786,575 sq km (689,800 sq mi)
Note: USA has 2.9 times more naturally protected areas as a percentage of total land.
Renewable Fresh Water Supply (1985):
Canada: 3,300 cu km (792 cu mi)
USA: 3,069 cu km (736 cu mi)
Note: Canada has 7% more renewable fresh water.
Energy Supply per capita (equivalent oil):
Canada: 8.0 tonnes USA: 7.53 tonnes
Note: Canada has 6.7% more energy per capita
Total Emissions of Major Greenhouse Gases per capita (equivalent CO2) (2005)
Canada: 23.11 tonnes USA: 24.50 tonnes
Note: USA emits 5.7% more greenhouse gases per capita
Canada: Cattle – 14,830, Sheep and Goats – 949, Equine – 389, Pigs – 14,690
USA: Cattle: 96,702, Sheep and Goats – 9,067, Equine – 9,580, Pigs – 61,449
Note: USA has 6.5 more cattle, 9.6 times more sheep and goats, 24.6 times more horses, mules and asses, and 4.2 times more pigs.
Canada: 23,167,000 tonnes USA: 60,093,000 tones
Note: USA produces 2.6 times wheat annually
Canada: 33,910,000 USA: 313,232,000
Note: USA has 9.2 times more people.
Birth Rate (2011 est.)
Canada: 10.28 births / 1,000 population
USA: 13.83 births / 1,000 population
Note: USA has a 25.7% higher birth rate
Death rate (July 2011 est.)
Canada: 7.98 deaths / 1, 000 population
USA: 8.38 deaths / 1,000 population
Note: USA has a 4.8% higher death rate
Net Migration Rate (2011 est)
Canada: 5.65 migrants / 1,000 population
USA: 4.18 migrants / 1,000 population
Note: Canada has a 26% higher migrant rate.
Canada: White 83.5%, Asian 10.5%, Native 3.7%, Black 2.3% (2006 est.)
USA: White 81.2%, Black 13.1%, Asian 4.7%, Native 1.0% (2008)
Note: Canada has 2.3% more Whites, 2.2 times more Asians, and 3.7 times more Natives. USA has 5.7 times more Blacks. All per capita. See below for further information.
Languages (spoken at home) (2006)
Canada: English 66.5%, French 21.9%, Chinese1.2%, Spanish 0.7%
USA: English 80.3%, French 0.7%, Spanish: 12.2%, Chinese: 0.9%
Note: USA has 13.8% more English speakers, and 17.4 times more Spanish speakers. Canada has 31.3 times more French speakers and 0.3%more Chinese speakers. All per capita.
Canada: Roman Catholic: 42.6%, Protestant: 23.3%, Other: 18.1%, None: 16% (2001)
USA: Protestant: 51.3%, Roman Catholic: 23.9%, Other: 20.8%, None: 4% (2007)
Note: Canada has 18.7% more Roman Catholics, and 12%more non-religious people. USA has 28% more Protestants. All per capita.
Married as % of population (2010)
Canada: 53%, USA 59%
USA: has a 6% higher married population.
Divorced as % of population (2010)
Canada: 5% USA: 6%
Note: USA has a 1% higher divorced population.
Life Expectancy (2011 est.)
Canada: 81.38 years
USA: 78.37 years
Note: Canada has a 3.7% higher life expectancy.
Fertility Rate (2011 est.)
Canada: 1.58 USA: 2.06
Note: USA has a 23.3% higher fertility rate.
For more information: http://www.unitednorthamerica.org