Canada is an immediate neighbor of the United States. In the recent past, several media have referred to Canada as America’s little cousin. Something that has left many wondering what factors has shaped the history of Canada. A deeper understanding of this interpretation is dependant on the historical events that have made Canada what it is today. Perhaps, the most hilarious part is when Canada is not only referred to as little cousin, but as the retarded little cousin. However, one would be forgiven for wanting to believe, they are in deed cousins. They share the largest unpatrolled border globally. Crossing over from one nation to the other is as simple as it is to move from one state to another within America. To unravel this mystery, it is important to explore the history of these two countries and how they are related. This paper attempts to deeply analyze the Canadian identity, its relation to the US and ultimately the threats that that relationships poses to Canada.
Brief History of Canada
A review of Canada’s history will instantly remind you of her relation to the United States. They share major geographical features including the Rocky Mountains, the great lakes, the Appalachian highlands and many other features (Mowry 29). The histories of the countries remain interwoven. Some historians have mentioned that it is not possible to highlight the history of one country without mention of the other. Each however, attained its independence via a different path. The interrelation cannot be claimed to have stripped Canada of it’s identify. Just like United States, Canada was originally inhabited by the aboriginal population (Mowry 29). However with the coming of the Europeans, treaties were signed with the original inhabitants to pave way for the activities of these Europeans. The major European countries to have inhabited Canada include France and Britain. As the aboriginals mingled with the Europeans, so did their spiritual beliefs, social hierarchies and trade activities. By the late 15th century, the original cultures had already been watered down by the western culture and a new culture of civilization was on the rise. The American culture too founds its way into Canada soon.
Relations between America and Canada are strongly traceable to the early 1780’s. This period saw the some of the largest migration from Canada into the US and vice-versa. It marked the formation of largest bi-lateral trading block globally. This trade ties have further strengthened the relation between the two nations more so considering the large unmilitarized border between the two countries. Many have argued that this kind of trust can only be accorder to a dear cousin more so considering the stringent immigration regulations brought about by the rise in terrorism. The economic strength of the united still remains rather strong and influential to the Canadian economy. While Canada could immensely suffer from economic turmoil in the US, the same may not be largely true if the case was reversed (Rowland 9). Canada however, like any other country has its own identity which is gradually being eroded by the influence of the United States. The US culture has gradually found its way into the Canadian society.
Canada is gradually being Americanized and if no efforts are made to preserve this nation’s identity, soon it will be just like any other American states which have their won legislation but share the same culture (Rowland 9). Today thousand of Americans are living in Canada, and the same is true for Canadians. What differs is the influence that each has had on the other. While Americans moving into Canada have influenced the areas they inhabit, Canadians moving into American have been influenced by the American culture (Campbell 202). Perhaps these are the foundation upon which the American media have argued that Canada is America’s little retarded cousin. As much as the US influence threatens cultural identity of Canada, Canada still remains an autonomous nation guided by its own principles, virtues and legislation (Campbell 202). Its influence on America might not be large but still, it remains an important trading partner to America.
In conclusion, while claiming that Canada is an American carbon-copy, one must recognize that Canada is a sovereign state with its own independent constitution. It manages it own economy and has a strong military to protect its territory. The good relation between the nation and America cannot be passed as a sign of weakness. Statements about Canada being Americas retarded little cousin are misguided and irrelevant. Canada is only borrowing from America what it deems fit for its future civilization. Just like many other nations globally, Canada is shifting from the traditional cultures of its original inhabitants in a bid to keep pace with the wave of globalization. Additionally, the country cultural preservation centers just like the US where she draws her original identity from. This cannot pass off as inferiority. Moe so considering that even the America we have today is a product of diverse cultures.
Campbell, Bruce. “Living with Uncle: Canada – US relations in an age of Empire,” Toronto: James Lorimar & Company Publishers Ltd, 2007. 198-274.
Mowry, Dorothy. “Canada-U.S. relations: perceptions and misperceptions.” California: University Press of America, 1988. 1-49.
Rowland, Chaput. S. “Canada-U.S. relations: options for the future: Canadian reaction. Behind the headlines, 2(1973). 5-14