Canadians fear US Foreign Policy

This according to a survey done by the Department of Naional Defense.

(Updated Twice)

(Audio Podcast Available)

First, my apologies, I have not found an online source for this information. I heard this on CKNW yesterday afternoon. They gleaned it from the pages of a recent National Post.

Apparently, the government survey was conducted recently, was nationwide, and surveyed 1500 people. Which would give it a high accuracy.

There were two interesting questions reported by CKNW… and I am paraphrasing.


Q: What do you think constitutes the greatest threat to Canadian National Security today.

The Answers were….

38% International Organized Crime

37% International Terrorists

37% US Foreign Policy.

This survey is an annual procedure for the Department of Naitonal Defense. They use it to guide their policy for the coming years. Therefore, it’s very hard to spin the results as being automatically biased to the “left” or “right”.

Given that… this shows something that will likely come as a bit of a shock even to my more cynical American readers.

However, I am not surprised by the results at all. I interpret them this way. The Canadian/American relationship has soured considerably since George Bush was elected and especially since the Iraq war. There continues to be outstanding gripes, on a wide range of issues, on both sides of the border, and I believe this is being reflected in this survey. As many Americans have woken up and realised that we Canadians may not be as sweet and innocent as they always thought, we Canadians, have also woken up and realised that our neighbour to the South is not quite as friendly to us as we’d thought, or would like.

That said, it is quite stunning that Terrorism and US Foreign Policy have been given an equal ranking in Canadians level of fear for their country.

Why US Foreign Policy? I think because of the uncertainty and unpredictability of both it’s actual policy, and its’ effects on the world.

We simply can’t be sure what’s going to happen in Iraq.
We simply don’t know if the war in Iraq has increased the likelihood of Terrorist attacks (in the US and Canada).
We don’t know what’s happening with North Korea or the effect of the Missile Defense Plan.

I think Canadians despise uncertainty and dishonesty… and right now US Foreign Policy is largely based on those two principles.
That makes us very nervous, perhaps needlessly so, of our Southern Neighbour.

And Quickly, another interesting question in the survey was apparently on centered on whether Canadians felt the Military needed more funding in order to operate effectively, and whether Canadians were willing to pay for it.

Apparently, for the first time in 20 years, Canadians said they were willing to give up other services, pay more taxes, or do other things… in order to boost funding to the Military and restore our the Canadian Forces to a more effective, modern, and frankly useable body.

I’m sure the DND will be waving that particular finding right in front of the face of the Prime Minister. As they should.


I’ve finally found a reference to the poll that I’m talking about here. It’s at the National Post… unfortunately, it doesn’t reference the responses on Foreign Policy, only on the military itself.

Asked how to find more money in the federal budget for the military, the most popular suggestion — favoured by 36% — was to reduce other programs and services. Another 22% was willing to see taxes increased, while 14% favoured running a deficit to pay for a revamped Canadian Forces.

Also, it appears this survey was conducted in February.. strange that we’re only hearing about it now.

There is another story about the survey, but it’s subscriber only. Anyone out there subscribed to the National Post online? I already have far too many online subscriptions… and subscribing to a paper that I can get for free off the street seems… silly.

Update 2

Thanks goes out to BBryans in the comments section. He found a non-pay version of the story on a National Post affiliate out of Saskatoon.

The 1,500 people contacted for the poll, conducted last February for the Department of National Defence, listed “International Organized Crime” as the top danger, with 38 per cent ranking it as a great threat to security concern and another 50 per cent listing it as moderate.

But tied for second in the poll were “U.S. Foreign Policy” and “Terrorism,” with 37 per cent rating it a great risk. Just behind those worries came “Climate Change and Global Warming.”

the only explanation for the percentages has to be that respondents could pick more than one response.

13 replies on “Canadians fear US Foreign Policy”

  1. I’m pretty sure those percentages must be wrong – even with rounding errors, 38+37+37=112%. At most, it might be 34+34+34, but that would still have to be because of rounding errors in the survey.

    Still, encouraging news on both fronts.

  2. You know… you’re absolutely right. But I swear to god that’s what I heard on CKNW last night.

    I need to find an online version of this thing!

    The conclusions are the same though… basically the “threats” were evenly split 1/3 each.

  3. As an American my change in attitude toward Canadians in general is based strictly on the revelations from a majority of Canadians indicating extremely negative opinions towards the US, both politically and culturally. Is is highlighted by the eagerness of Canadians to believe that we are evil and that nothing the US has done or is doing is based on anything other than sinister motives and, in fact, that the US is worse than such regimes as Stalin’s, Hitler’s and Mao’s. Our actions now and in the past are being judged by Canadians without a meaningful historical context and an acknowledgement of the practical political realities that the US and our allies faced in dealing with very agressive and repressive regimes.

    We’d much prefer to have the Assies as our northern neighbor. 🙂

  4. PS I believe my analysis would apply just as readily to the Canadian and European attitudes regarding Israel’s right to exist and defend herself after being attacked 4 or 5 times by her neighbors. –

  5. What would be interesting to know is whether Canadian attitudes on US foreign policy differ significantly from views in the so-called blue states of the USA and whether Canadian opinion is consistent across provinces. There was an article in the March issue of Walrus Magazine about the convergence of certain northern blue states with adjacent Canadian provinces. This may be a topic worth a separate discussion.

    Foreign opinion about US foreign policy simply reflects in stronger form doubts and concerns that divide the United States itself. Both sides in the USA actually agree that the means and ends of US policy have fallen out of alignment: one side argues that we should never have expanded our ends by going into Iraq, the other worries that we cannot prevail there and elsewhere with the means at hand.

    The danger in President Bush’s second term is that the tension between means and ends will get worse because the countries that America may confront are larger or stronger than Iraq. If the President cannot bring ends and means into alignment in dealing with these countries, then his policy would be a danger, whether or not one approves of new wars.

  6. President Bush has alienated a lot of people – even US citizens.

    Remember, he does not have a mandate: He was elected from a 52-48 percent split. Many US citizens DO NOT agree with him.

    That being said, anecdotally speaking, I’ve noticed many Canadians are always fiercely nationalistic, even overseas, they wear maple leaf t-shirts and sew the flag on their backpacks and other crap like that.

  7. 52% – 48% has always been considered a decisive victory for a President in past elections. Numerically, more Americans voted for GWB than any other President in history. Further, the general election of 2004 added a significant number of State Governerships and Congressional representatives in the House and Senate to the Presidents party. Capturing the 2nd term as well as majorities in both houses is an historical event for the GOP.

    Having said that, I agree the country is polarilized and in Europe, anti-Americanism is rampant. However, the Left is institutionalized in the media in “old Europe” and almost all forms of media in the UK, France and Germany are printing only the most virulent anti-American propaganda since late 2002. I believe, though, that before our next general election in 2008, Europe will be preoccupied with it’s own political woes and economic problems. Chirac and Schroeder will be long gone and perhaps then an improving economy will begin emerging at long last in their own two countries. Using anti-Americanism as a distraction from the failures of both men to lead their countries in a positive direction will not be seen as an effective policy for remaining in power.

    As for the nationalistic fervor of many Canadians, I believe that their world perspective and national psyche is primarily influenced by their feelings of inferiority and their private comparisons of their nation to their closest neighbor to the south. Their national character seems overly represented by resentment and envy. They are noticably snide, sarcastic and condescending to Americans – a very telling manifestation of their basic feelings.

  8. If you are talking about the popular vote the margin was only 51-49 – not much. Ohter than that, I’m not going to bore the moderator or anyone else with a lenghty debate about this election.

    Europe isn’t that anti-American. Just as the European/Canadian/Middle Eastern media depicts the US as a bunch of fat, ignorant, rednecks – the US media likes to display Europeans as a bunch of ignorant, American hating, leftists.

    I’ve had the honor to walk in a parade in the city of Orleons, France to celebrate Memorial Day. I thought I was going to get spit on and jeered but the French people cheered my small contingent of troops and loved it. Many of them reacted like this with a smile and wave: “Americans? Americans!!!”

    just an aside:

    It is ironic that these anti-American protesters are right wing God hates Fags” “God bless 9-11”.

  9. John, you can bore us with your lengthy debate all you want.

    That’s why this blog exists.

    I too think that the media inside and outside the US have a large role to play. The term “Soviet Canukistan” comes to mind. It’s really over the top (and really funny actually), but I don’t think it does much good.

  10. Interpret them this way. “The Canadian/American relationship has soured considerably since George Bush was elected and especially since the Iraq war.”

    As a Canadian and American – yes I have dual citizenship – who grew up in Boston and recently worked in Hollywood – I find you’re interpretation questionable at best.

    First of all have you had access to ANY of the same surveys done during the Reagon, Carter, Clinton, First Bush admins? Obviously not. So saying that any relationship between Canada and the US has soured CONSIDERABLLY since Pres Bush came into power is just a reflection of YOUR hatred for Bush.Its a presumption based on YOUR feelings….

    Historically speaklng… Canadians have NEVER liked Americans and “AMerican foreign policy” for a host of stupid myopic and uneducated reasons. The first being this bogus claim that Canadians are “culturally different” the US.

    Look around you, I see Starbucks, The Gap, McDonalds, Krispy Kreme, Tiffany’s, Nike, Burger King, The Apple Store, Pottery Barn, Williama and Sonama, to name a few of the HUNDREDS of American stores that Canadian swarm to daily.

    I see movie theatres FILLED with American movies not Canadian films, and HMV selling hundreds of American artists, but few Canadian movies or Canadian artists records that havent been HUGE successes in the US, Hell Canadians can name American actors directors and rockbands…few can name their Canadian counterparts!

    I see thousands of Canadians eagerly chasing after AMERICAN celebs whenever they are in Montreal, Toronto, Vancouver, in town for the Film festivals, or just working on a film/tv show………and I see millions of Canadians wearing AMERICAN designer clothes….and I hear them bitching and moaning about how upseting it is that Abercrombie, and The Cheesecake Factory aren’ t available in Canada and how shitty canadian tv show are compared to what American deliver!

    There is NO Canadian identity when it comes to POP CULTURE.

    Politically – Canadians have rarely felt any thing less than contempt and fear towards American politics no matter who the President was.

    Yet like the hypocrits that they tend to be……they lined up in droves to get a the autograph of a two timing, incompetent Bill Clinton….while standing in line muttering how sexy he was….they also muttered how his biggest downfall was NOT that he fucked Monica and lied about it….but that he was an AMerican President …..and “you know…American’s poltiics are soo…..well overbearing”…Other comments ranged from….”wow he doesnt seem sooo American” to…”well at least he isn’t one of those redneck Bible thumping guys like Bush”.

    Interestingly Bill Clinton is a very vocal born again Christian aka as “one of those Bible thumping guys”. He never denied his religous connection with God during his entire presidency!

    Canadians like Democrats in the US feared Ronald Reagan when he was pushing forward all efforts to bring down Communism….the vitriol was just as loud and irrational then as it is today. Yet today he is hailed as one of the greatest American Presidents- in the 80’s …democrats, liberals, Canadians and Europeans HATED him.

    Its okay for me to embrace American pop culture…but when I open admit to embracing American politics…..I am called ” anti Canadian”. Yet when I call Sean Penn a fuckwit, those same canadians call me “anti american.” – they get angry because I DONT SUPPORT HIM OR HIS BOGUS ATTEMPTS AT PLAYING FOREIGN RELATIONS AMBASSADOR! Apparently the fact that he is an American who doesnt support Bush make ME anti canadian and anti american for not like Sean or his bogus politics! WOW…talk about a schizophrenic country!

    I support Pres BUsh…so Im anti Canadian…yet those same Canadians who accuse me of being Anti Canadian… stood in line to see Mr and Mrs Smith and spent $15.00 supporting AMERICAN businesses and American pop culture…….how come they do not consider themselves ‘anti canadian”???

    I stayed at home the nite that film opened…and watched a great show I had been taping during my extensive travelling, it’s called Corner Gas!

    What I find really interesting is that during the 9 yrs I worked in Hollywood, Canadians jumped through hoops to ensure Hollywood filmed many of its productions in Canada.(stealing jobs away from Americans apparently isn’t viewed as being Anti American..its viewed as being a GOOD Canadian!) …..and during that time, while Clinton was president….he called on several occcasions for regime change in Iraq…….he just never followed through on it….he was too busy screwing Monica.

    He too was warned that AlQueda was a huge threat…yet he did nothing. Now that Pres Bush has done something…..people are angry. Apparently doing something means ..sitting back doing nothing while they train to fly jets into buildings? The Mossad had warned Clinton and the Bush that this was a VERY LIKELY SCENARIO…neither imagined it was….until 9/11 actually happened. BTW – Bill Clinton has gone on record many times saying he encouraged the country to stand behind the President as he would when it came to Iraq. Why? Because Bill KNEW that Saddam had been a VIABLE REASONABLE AND LIKELY DANGER to the US and was building an arsenal of WMD’s to use against Isreal and the US when HE was President.
    As did all Dems who supported his push towards removing Shitdam….unfortunately….they were too cowardly to do so!

    So had Bill actually gone into Iraq to remove Saddam…would do you think YOURE view about Canadian American relations would have looked like back then. Would you say that Clinton had SOURED CONSIDERABLY Canadian American relations?

    During that time, when I’d come back to Toronto or Vancouver frequently….people loved hearing about my life in LaLa Land cuz apparantly the idol worship of American celebs is not deemed Anti Canadian………while in the same breath they exclaimed their INTENSE dislike for Americans( they are sooo arrogant – was a common complaint) and especially for American politics – and foreign policy.

    But when I would ask them for specific examples of what they hated – NOT ONE PERSON COULD ARTICULATE ANY EXAMPLE….. not one person could cite any real reason for their feelings other than to say…well…Americans just think their shit don’t stink….and…well how can you live in country with NO UNIVERSAL HEALTHCARE what does that say about the gov’t? What does that say about the Canadian who think that it was American gov’t that nixed Universal Healthcare….when it fact IT WAS THE PEOPLE!
    Comments like these speak to the shameful ignorance of Canadians…on subjects they should be aware of!

    Its rather obvious that Canadians have been soured on Americans for a long time….and for no intelligent reason.

    And by the way…whenever I have asked ANY Canadian to articulate American Foreign Policy…not articulate WHY they fear or hate it…but tell me WHAT AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY COMPRISES OF… No one to date has ever been able to answer that question….yet it never stopped them from proclaiming …that what they Hate about America is its Foreign Policy?

    No one knows how Foriegn Policy affects any one country long term….we can only predict its effectiveness based on history and on whats happening in the moment. Circumstances change…and suddenly…Cold War FP is no longer relevant and a new paradym is needed. New Paradyms take time to create to put into place and to work!

    we can only reevaluate our choices and decisions based hundreds of mitigating factors – Foreign Policy is complicated and without any real understanding of International Relations, and the dynamics that exist in todays world, you really can’t make an all out blanket statement “We fear/hate their foriegn policy”

    Few people understand WHY outsourcing to China and Taiwan is brilliant….few ppl understand that if BOTH countries that traditionally despise each other and are likely to engage in war, are now part of the same SUpply chain for Dell, which allows individuals to make money, and countries to raise the standard of living, and create opportunities for their people, that these two countries will think long and hard before going to war with each other or anyone else! Because they have WAY TO MUCH TO LOSE and NOTHING to gain…once you lose the chance to work in the global supply chain you don’t get it back easily! TRUST is broken!

    If we build democracies in some countries in the Middle East, such as Iraq,this will, as it has now, motivate at the ground level, other countries in the Arab world, to remove dictatorships, theocracies and build democracies, so they too can become a part of the supply chain. Thats is how we start to mitigate the REAL causes for terrorism in this world. In countries like China and Taiwan inspite of thier poltical regimes…we have been able to build bridges of co operation through entrepreneurs and Corporate America. The same Corporate America that Al Q targetted on 9/11! American gov’t has been instrumental in taking part in helping Corp America covertly influence Politcal Foreign Policy in non democratic countries. Iraq will now be able to join the supply chain as soon as the terrorists are minimized and the Iraqis themselves are working diligently towards that DAILY! Democracies take time…but Iraq is 80% secure, Afghanistan is 90% secure…in time they to wil loin the universal supply chain.

    Foreign Policy is multi layered…let me repeat this If we build democracies in some countries in the Middle East, then we start to mitigate the REAL causes for terrorism in this world

    That Canadians as well as 48% of Americans are incapable of grasping what Ive stated above…proves that they are incapable of understanding American Foreign Policy and International Relations!

    Of those that did answer….it was clear that they lacked any real understanding of the complexity of FP…and that naive replies like War is the last option..the state of Isreal should never have been formed….and America needs to stop supporting Israel ….cannot be taken with any measure of seriousness.

    Most Americans and Canadians don’t know that America is the LARGEST contributer of Foreign Aid to Egypt! Seems like America doesnt just SUPPORT THE JEWS or SUPPORT ISREAL- she also supports Muslim countries and was the ONLY country that was able to fix the Mess in the Balkans brought about by Europeans.

    America has also provided more help for Muslims subjucated around the world than any other country! So I ask you….IS THAT part of America’s Foreign Policy that should be changed??? Or just the part about removing a despot hellbent on killing subjucating democracy…after he spent YEARS ignoring a UN WORLDWIDE AGREEMENT THAT HE SIGNED OFF ON AS THE TERMS OF HIS SURRENDER AFTER HE INVADED KUWAIT. Every freaking Arab country was deathly afraid of Saddam….yet NONE of them HELPED out the Kuwaitis…it was left to AMERICA (damn her foriegn policy) to send Shitdam back to his own country and defeat his invasion of an ARAB COUNTRY…at the BEHEST of the entire ARAB LEAGUE and most of Europe!

    This time around…those same countries voted against removing Saddam simply because they were profiting from him ILLEGALLY.
    Exactly what Organized Crime does…PROFITS ILLEGALLY!

    So when Canadian claim that OC is a bigger threat than Terrorism…I suggest they need to examine exactly HOW ALIKE Terrorism and Organized Crime really are!

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