For the first time in decades, Canadians are more likely to hold a negative view of the U.S. than positive. According to a survey by the Environics Institute, it’s the lowest ever with only 44 per cent saying that they hold a positive view of the U.S.
It happened overnight says Doug Saunders:
“It is not a subtle drift – Canadians were overwhelmingly positive about the United States as recently as 2016, until Donald Trump’s inauguration put a majority into the anti-American column. The proportion of Canadians who see the United States as “a negative force in today’s world” is now almost 6 in 10, a 12-per-cent rise over 2008, making America by far the most negative country in the eyes of Canadians (Globe and Mail, April 16).”
Canadians see the U.S. even more negatively than even North Korea which is second at 46 per cent.
The U.S. and Britain used to be viewed as “standing out as a positive force in today’s world.” Now Germany is number one, Britain has fallen to second place, and Sweden has risen to third.
While we don’t share languages, we do see similar values in Germany and Sweden. Those two countries took in two-thirds of Europe’s refugees during the crisis of 2016 at a time when President Trump was denouncing them. And they have avoided far-right governments, which make them look more like Canada.
Canadians look globally in terms of trade. Almost three-quarters of Canadians have a “very favourable” view on international trade. Even NAFTA is more popular than ever. Two-thirds of us say that it “helped rather than hurt” Canada -the highest level since the agreement took effect in 1994.
It may seem as though whatever Trump is against we favour, but it’s not just anti-Trumpism.
Peace defines Canada as much as war. Much has been made of the battle of Vimy Ridge as a defining moment for our country. However, peace played a significant role in shaping Canadian values. Pollster for Environics Institute, Michael Adams, says:
“In recent decades, Canadians have consistently named peacekeeping as their country’s most notable contribution to world affairs since Pearson’s Nobel Prize. This sentiment has held through both Canada’s World surveys that the Environics Institute has carried out, first in 2008 and in 2018 (Globe and Mail, April 16).”
Canadians are more connected than Americans. Anatoliy Gruzd, one of the authors of a recent report The State of Social Media in Canada, told CBC Radio’s Spark:
“Canada is one of the most connected countries in the world. There are twice as many Twitter users than the U.S. per capita. We are very outside-looking. We want to know world events (Mar. 11, 2018)”
Facebook is the most popular social medium with 84 per cent of Canadians having an account. YouTube is second at 59 per cent.
Canada is a nation of immigrants and, unlike the current U.S. president, we value them as an asset not a liability. Canadians look to the world, not only because trade is vital to our economy and to keep in touch with families in home countries, but because we see ourselves as part of a global community.