Well, I can offer some opinions on Canadian-American relations as I see them. I agree with Freak-Z
that there is little if any ill will between Canada and the US as a whole. But sadly you don't hear the voice of nations, you hear the voice of the media, of the pundits, of the politicians and so forth. But more important than all those narrow opinions or the general good will between our nations, there is much to be said about the simple reality of being Canadian in the age of the American.
I've always felt the American people are at their best when they have someone to fight. Not necessarily in a literal sense (though that works too) but in a competitive sense. Americans derive a lot of focus and pride from being good at what they do; being the best in fact. Now that they are the only remaining Superpower, they don't have the Russians to challenge them anymore. Without challenge, the Americans have a tendency to become listless, aberrant, and unfocused. If we Canadians as a people want the best from our American neighbours, we would do well to encourage the best in them by helping to fill that gap.
As a rule, Canadians are...how shall we say, "less adept" at taking risks, betting big and self-promotion. An unfortunate side effect of this mindset is our propensity to avoid innovating and spending big on risk. We buy most of our technology from other nations, our entertainment from other cultures, our pride from being nothing more than different. This is not to say we don't research ourselves, that we aren't talented, and that we don't have pride in doing well. We are all those things, but we are very rarely the ones to make the breakthrough, to hit it big, to find notice among the world at large and as such, we evolved a society of limited pioneering vision. This leads to the often lamented "brain drain
", in which the best and brightest of our nation are hindered by a self-imposed, risk-averse culture and a cost-effective "buy-not-build
" national policy. As a result, those Canadians that excel are limited in their own country and are forced to seek high end opportunity in nations where there is an outlet for top-of-their-field performance. As most are no doubt aware, the United States is one of the foremost countries in the world for innovation, culture and success.
More than anything else, I think that's what is lacking in my nation as a global player; a desire to play in the global game and play hard. We've become comfortable with our prosperous nation and it's extensive wealth. We've become too used to having others do for us and living well off that high standard of living. It's too easy for us to simply buy rather than build, so we don't even try. But there is more to be gained than money in the struggle to achieve. Canada has more to offer than building the best nuclear reactors in the world or whatever token "first" that most of the rest of the world only cares about when "first" means "cheap" through trade with us.
As such, I have always personally felt America would be better off if Canada were more aggressive, more proactive, more engaging. If Canada heightened its will to achieve, our own high standards for achievement can bring out the best in American achievements. But if Canadians (and other nations) don't present competition for the Americans, the Americans have less and less incentive to achieve for themselves. If America becomes the "best of the worst", that's not really much of a prize now is it?
All this talk of building international relations and healing wounds is great, but the political reality of being Canadian in this current geopolitical world is that the we need to act as the incentive that drives America. Sandbox politics work on a global level as much as they do in the school yard. Respect and understanding between Canada and the U.S. would come much easier if the U.S. had more reasons to stand up and take notice of Canada. And as our successful expatriates in the U.S. and abroad have shown us, we should be more of an outlet for our home grown talent. We can do better by them and in turn, be done better by the U.S. and our other allies and trade nations around the world.
So anyway, rant over