But at the same time, some Canadian officials privately tried to make it clear to their American counterparts that they did not share their society’s persistent undercurrent of anti-Americanism.Persistent undercurrent? That makes Canada sound like Iran? Chavez's Venezuala? Please. As long as the US hockey team loses to the Canadians in the Olympics, all will be fine. Yes, there is friction, but any long-standing relationship will have points of friction. Just ask my wife.
The funny thing is that some of the negative statements about Canada and its attitudes are made by Canadians, such as the guy who was running the security apparatus (CSIS), who talked about "‘paroxysms of moral outrage, a Canadian specialty.’ ” Of course, the context here was Gitmo, so perhaps the moral outrage was deserved rather than just a knee-jerk reaction.
The leaks also note that folks running for parliamentary seats rarely mention the US. Well, do American candidates mention Canada? This is not a size thing but a "all politics is local thing."
I used to joke in class: "is there a crisis in US-Canadian relations? If so, only the Canadians are aware of it." And now we know that the US diplomats were/are, too. But this "crisis" is less than a tempest in a teapot. There is far more cooperation and common interest than not. Sure, the Bush administration was miffed about Canada's attitudes about Iraq, but the Bush administration was not the average administration nor was Iraq the average issue. Canada gained heaps of credit for being willing to fight and fight hard in Kandahar when few allies were willing to carry such a burden. The decision to leave Kandahar will not cause all of that good will to go away. And Obama gets it that Canada has given enough on the ground there and is pretty happy about the new commitment to training.
But back to the anti-Americanism that is so pervasive in Canadian culture. Sure, there are programs that stereotype Americans and that use American blunders for their humor and/or plotlines (TSA anyone?). They have a free society and the US has provided plenty of targets over the years. But we must also remember how much of American stuff they enjoy and consume: the Super Bowl gets more attention than the recent Grey Cup, that they sell the premium cable channels up here by mentioning the shows on HBO, etc; that the regular TV channels show heaps of American content, and that Canadians flow across the border all the time with such waves shaped more by exchange rate fluctuations than by anything else (except new security procedures).
Not being American is a key part of Canadian identity, and being smug about the supposed superiority of the Canadian health care system is part of being Canadian, but we need to put this "anti-Americanism" in context. I have spent nearly nine years up here and my Americanism is very much apparent, and have never received any real grief from anyone because of it (I earn the grief I get). Do Canadians like to compare themselves with the US to make them feel superior? Sure. Did Bush and now Palin and the no-knowing Tea-Partiers make that incredibly easy? Mais oui (but yes)!
PS. On the same front page, we discover that US diplomats have a poor view of Russian democracy. I am shocked!