CANADA - OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
The Canadian identity has always been difficult to define. We, as Canadians, have continued to define
ourselves by reference to what we are not - American - rather than in terms of our own national history and
tradition. This is ironic since the United States is continuing to be allowed by Canadians to take over our economy
and literally buy our country. Culturally Canada has its own distinct government and institutions which differ and
are better from those in the United States, but economically the country has been all but sold out to America. The
major cultural differences to be examined are that of Canada's strong government, institutions such as welfare and
universal healthcare, and our profound respect for law and authority. These establishments make Canada a
separate nation from the USA. Economically, it will be examined how Canada has become a victim to
Americanization through the purchase of Canada with our own money, the shocking statistics of Canada's foreign
ownership, and the final payment for our country, free trade. All in all we have our own government, our own
flag, our own anthem; but are we really Canadian or a not quite United State of America?
In Canada, strong government involvement plays an immense role in determining the destiny of its
people for the good of the society.
In Canada you are reminded of the government every day. It parades before you. It is
not content to be the servant, but will be the master...
Henry David Thoreau, 18861
Although slightly outdated, as of 1982 47.3 percent of Canada's GNP was in government hands, compared with
38% in the United States. Government spending in Canada was 24.4% greater than in the U.S. and if you subtract
the U.S.'s excessive national defense spending, the gap between the two countries considerable widens.2 The
United States has adopted a more Freudian "survival of the fittest" concept towards government where the rights of
the individual are predominant and industry is publicly owned and run with little help from the government.
Although there is some government control and ownership of industry in both countries it is much more common
in Canada where "the state has always dominated and shaped the ... economy."3
Of 400 top industrial firms, 25 were controlled by federal or provincial governments.
Of the top 50 industrialists, all ranked by sales, 7 were either wholly owned or
controlled by the federal or provincial governments. For financial institutions, 9 of
the top 25 were federally or provincially owned or controlled ....4
Also, Canadian subsidies to business and employment in public enterprise were five times the level in the U.S.
Government involvement is a crutial part of the distinctness of our Canadian identity.
Similar variations occur with respect to Canada's welfare policies. They are clearly implemented for the
good of the society, giving aid to any citizen in need. This system is considered superior to that of the United
States where some people have no source of income whatsoever and no chance to claim welfare. Welfare policies
have generally been adopted earlier in Canada and tend to be "more advanced in terms of program development,
coverage, and benefits".5 Another advanced Canadian institution is that of Canada's famous universal health care
system. Although it is a complex system its highlights consist of: government run, non profit insurance plan that
uses public funds to pay for a private, comprehensive system.6 The concept of the program being universal means
that the service is available to all Canadians regardless of income. This system has been said by many to be
Canada's most successful and popular program globally. It also separates us from the misconception that we are
similar to Americans.
Perhaps as important for our national identity, the Canadian approach to health
insurance also clearly distinguishes us from the United States. The fact that we have
developed such a different system suggests that we really are a separate people, with
different political and cultural values. Even better our system works well while the
American alternative does not.7
In the U.S. there are forty million people, more than the entire population of Canada, who have no health
insurance.8 And even the best medical insurance plan in the U.S.A. only covers 31.5% of expenses.9 Moreover,
the Canadian systems costs are well below that of the U.S. and have produced lower infant mortality rates and
longer life expectancy.
In 1986, average out-of-pocket expenditures for health care were $1135 per household
in the United States, and $446(US) in Canada. For hospitals and physicians American
households paid $346, Canadians paid $33.10
It is clear that the Canadian universal system of health care is by far superior to the U.S. system. This
may also be said true for Canadian's superior respect for law and authority. Canada's fathers of confederation
stressed a great Canadian motto of "Peace, Order, and Good Government" which implies control of, and
protection for the society. The parallel motto developed by America's founding fathers is "life, liberty and the
pursuit of happiness", this model suggests the upholding of the rights of the individual. Due to the Canadian
motto being geared towards the rights and obligations of the community "the crime control model .... emphasizes
the maintenance of law and order, and is less protective of the rights of the accused and of individuals
generally".11 Due to the American 's stress on the rights of the individual "there is a greater propensity to
redefine or ignore the rules .... (there is) greater lawlessness and corruption in the United States".12 For example,
in 1987 the murder rate in Canada was 2.5 per 100,000 population; for the U.S. it was 8.3. In the U.S. last year,
every 17 seconds a violent crime was committed; a rape every 5 minutes, a murder every 23 minutes, an assault
every 51 seconds. Also, because it is a constitutional right for an American to own a gun, every day 15 children
aged 19 and under are killed with guns, it is the leading cause of death for people between ages of 15 and 24.
Licensed firearm dealers sell an estimated 7.5 million guns a year including 3.5 million handguns.13 In Canada
"ownership of offensive weapons or guns is considered a privilege, not a right".14 And 83.3 of Canadians show
support for a law which would require a person to obtain a police permit to purchase a gun . Even though a
representative of the Canadian Justice department is quoted as saying "it is almost impossible to get a permit to
carry a handgun".15 Though in the U.S.A. a handgun can be purchased in less than 24 hours.
In 1992 handguns were used to murder 36 people in Sweden, 97 in Switzerland, 60 in Japan,
128 in Canada, 33 in Great Britain, 13 in Australia and 13,495 in the United States; God Bless
Again, a major Canadian system has proven itself superior to its American counterpart. It is surprising that
Canada's most important social institutions are far superior to those of the U.S.A. although it is well known that
the U.N. (United Nations) has chosen Canada as the best place to live in the world two years running. These
successful institutions promote Canada's cultural identity for they can be used as models to countries around the
Americans should not underestimate the constant pressure on Canada which the mere
presence of the United States has produced. We're different people from you and
we're different people because of you .... living next to you is in some ways like
sleeping with an elephant. No matter how friendly and even tempered the beast, if I
can call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt .... It should not therefore be
expected that this kind of nation, this Canada, should project itself .... as a mirror
image of the United States.
Pierre Trudeau (1969)17
Culturally, Canadians are Canadians but economically Canadians are Americans. Ever since the end of
World War I the U.S. cleverly began to purchase our country. Through foreign investment "the Americans
accumulated Canada at the unbelievable rate of a billion dollars worth yearly"18 from 1955 onward. Not only
were they buying out Canada but they were doing it with Canadian money. The way that they did this is through
trade profits, for instance: Just before World War II the U.S.A. was buying goods off of us at a rate of $35 per
Canadian, we were buying goods off them at $50 per Canadian. The difference comes to $15 per Canadian per
year in the American's favour. Our population was 11 million at this time therefore this trade deficit translates
into a profit of $165,000,000 in the American's favour, per year, at a $15 trade deficit, with an 11 million
population ($15 x 11mil. = 165mil.).19
In 1947 our trade with the United States reach such proportions that it was draining
from us the amazing total of $70 per person per year20
In the 10 years from 1947 to 1957 Americans bought $20 billion worth of goods from us (figures are rounded),
they sold us $27 billion worth. In other words, we handed the United States seven billion dollars. And that same
figure (seven billions) happens to be almost exactly the amount of money the Americans "invested in Canada" in
the years 1947 - 1957. In other words:
In 10 years American financiers took from the Canadian people seven billion dollars,
and during that very same period they used our seven billion dollars to buy up a large
portion of our country21
This did not only happen between 1947 and 1957 but if you research any year in modern trading history between
Canada and the United States you will come to the same conclusion (except the figures keep growing and growing
as time progresses).
Due mostly to the Americans purchasing our country "Canada is already the most foreign-dominated of
any industrialized country in the world".22 100% of the tobacco industry, 98%of the rubber industry, 92% of the
automotive industry, 84% of transportation, 78% of electrical apparatus industry, 78% of the petroleum and coal
industry, 76% of the chemical industry, and 75% of heavy manufacturing are foreign owned, mostly American.23
This foreign takeover has turned Canada into a branch plant economy where parent companies in the U.S. make
decisions concerning Canadian companies and Canadians rarely have the ability to reach top management
positions. This current situation "erodes Canadian sovereignty and diminishes Canadian independence" it is also a
"threat to our power to implement decisions within our own borders - a threat no less real, though more subtle, that
if a division of Marines were marching across our border."24 Another way of describing Canada's branch plant
economy is to call it a new form of mercantilism. We are just a colony of the United States and we are acting for
the betterment of the Mother country.
We are the servants of a new mercantilism. The foreign subsidiary in Canada clearly
exists to further the interests of the parent corporation, whose home country in most
cases is the United States. The hinterlands - like Canada - are to supply the
corporations with raw materials, and organize the disposition of subsequent consumer
Although foreign ownership creates jobs for Canadians, it does not create the top jobs, nor does it promote
economic progress or even prosperity. It actually costs Canada $35 billion each and every year in revenue taken
out of the country.26 "Americans have drained from Canada more wealth than they have hauled out of all other
countries combined". And the government is still allowing more and more foreign investment. "No other country
seems prepared to tolerate so high a degree of foreign ownership as exists in Canada".27 And now, with
free-trade, it has become even easier for America to control Canada and exploit it for all America's wants and
New Democratic party leader, Edward Broadbent, referring to Brian Mulrony and free-trade between
Canada and the United States said "I can tell you that for the first time in the history of Canada, we have a man
who is Prime Minister who has, without even being asked, volunteered Canada to be the 51st state in the United
States ...."28 This is essentially what free-trade meant for Canada. John A. MacDonald had called free-trade
"veiled treason", and for 125 years prominent Canadian figures warned fellow Canadians that "without an
economic border we soon would not have a political border either".29 The best way to describe free-trade is to
quote some of John Turner's detailed and moving speech delivered in the House of Commons.
Mr. Speaker, we are here today to discuss one of the most devastating pieces of
legislation ever brought before the House of Commons...a bill which will finish
Canada as we know it and replace it with a Canada that will become nothing more
than a colony of the United States. In this bill...we find that Canadians can be fined,
even imprisoned for contravening American law....Why are we now being forced to
give hasy approval to legislation which represents the largest sell-out of our
sovereignty since we became a nation in 1867?...We have given up control of our
capital markets...This deal sells out our energy, the life blood of this country...The
National Energy Board becomes nothing more than a monitoring agency...it is
Washington that is taking control of our energy resources...With this deal we have
succeeded in the fulfilment of the American Dream! Fifty-four Forty, or Fight!
Manifest Destiny! At long last they found a Government in Ottawa dumb enough,
stupid enough, patsies so craven in the face of American demands that they just caved
in to every request made of them...I say to the people of Canada that this is not a
trade deal. This is "the Sale of Canada Act..."30
When free trade was finally implicated into the Canadian society, the first three years cost 1.4 million jobs. Archie
McLean, Vice President of McCain's Foods, testified that 100,000 to 150,000 jobs would be lost directly from free
trade in his company alone. By September 1992, Canada had the highest number of unemployed in its history.
B.C. millionaire Jim Patterson said: "We're taking everything we've go and pushing it into the United States... I
keep telling our people to forget the border - it doesn't exist anymore".31 Free trade was obviously a bad deal for
Canada and should have been obvious when it was laid on the table. Even the American public knew what they
were getting when they obtained the free trade agreement. An American economic forecaster, Marvin Cetron,
wrote in his 1990 bestselling book, American Renaissance : Our Life at the Turn of the Century:
Once the free-trade agreement with the United States takes full effect, the next logical
step will be to accept politically what has already happened economically - the
integration of Canada into the United States32
In conclusion, it is evident that Canada is different form the United States within its government and
institutions and, in most cases, have a superior system, but economically Canada is owned and dominated by
America. Benjamin Franklin once said that "the man who would trade independence for security deserves
neither."33 Canada is slowly voulenteering for the American vision of Manifest Destiny where not one gun has to
be fired. Ex Prime Minister John Diefenbaker expressed his opinion by stating that "We are a power, not a
puppet...I want Canada to ve in control of Canadian soil. Now if that's an offence I want the people of Canada to
say so."34 We must to several thing to break free from these restraints which ar upon us. First, though, we must
scrap free trade, control foreign ownership, and balance our trade with the enemy - the USA.
Canada has gone form being a colony of France, to being a colony of Britan, to being
a colony of the United States. It's time now to become a nation.35
1. Berton, Pierre. Why we Act like Canadians. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1982.
2. Lamorie, Andrew. How they sold Our Canada to the U.S.A.. Toronto: NC Press, 1976.
3. Lipset, Seymour M. North American Cultures. U.S.A.: Borderlands Project, 1990.
4. Nader, Ralph. Canada Firsts. Toronto: McClelland & Stewart, 1992.
5. Orchard, David. The Fight for Canada. Toronto: Stoddart Publishing, 1993.
6. "The center to prevent hand gun violence". National center for health statistics, 1994. Internet document.
7. "The FBI Uniform Creme Reports". The Los Angeles Times, Nov. 19, 1995. Internet document.
8. The Star-Spangled Beaver. Ed. John H. Redekop. Toronto: Peter Martin, 1971.
9. Thomas, David. Canada and the United States, Differences that Count. Peterborough: Broadview Press, 1993.
Canada - of the United States of America
by: Mat Harrison
for: Mr. Harkins
I.E. Weldon Secondary School
November 14, 1996