Interdependency among countries around the world results in relationships where some countries have risen to a place of great influence and position of power over other weaker states. The United States of America is an example of one country that is powerful in comparison to its neighbour to the north, Canada which is, in some regards, perceived as a weaker country. When compared to the United States, Canada has a substantially smaller population, an almost nonexistent military and less economic worth, so the reasons why Canada has become more and more like its neighbour are evident.
This process of one country being influenced by America is called “Americanization.” Americanization covers many topics, the originating definition of Americanization referred to “. . . the assimilation of our alien population [immigrants to America] . . . ”; this definition has however, evolved over the years to include whole countries, not just individual immigrants (Rider 110).
Different aspects of Canada, including political culture, have been influenced by America. A part of political culture encompasses political socialization, that is, the handing down of knowledge pertaining to political institutions and how they are run. Political culture is not limited to that though, it also includes topics regarding mores, “legitimacy, tradition, constitutional norms and basic national values” (487 Pye).
... imperative for people of certain nationalities to leave a country. Political attitudes may also interfere with equitable human resource ... all jobs in North America are dependent upon export and import trade. Other indicators, including foreign investments, profits earned ... costs in many countries around the world have made global markets more accessible. Although United States-based firms have ...
In some way, these five topics can all be related directly to Canadian political culture, and they are all influenced by America, in one way or another. Through the observation and comparison of Canadian and American laws and traditions, media, national values and mores, it becomes evident that the political culture of Canada is in fact becoming, to a degree, Americanized.
One form of Canadian political culture, which has become influenced by America is its laws and traditions. Because of Canada’s close geographical proximity to the United States, many of the environmental issues both countries face are a result of the fact that we both, by in large, share the same ecosystem; what is causing a problem in one country is likely the effect of the other’s action. Therefore, it is in the best interest of both countries to work together and eliminate the problem as a joint effort. The First Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement [FGLWQA] is an earlier example of such a joint effort, signed in 1972. It is clear that any waste put in the Great Lakes will affect both countries, due to the fact that the Great Lakes cross the national boarder. “The major issue at [the] time [of the FGLWQA] was phosphorus over-enrichment” in the lakes (Our Great Lakes).
Industries are the main cause of the pollution in the Great Lakes, so this agreement was designed to make a parallel set of laws for both countries to follow. The FGLWQA paved the way for more international efforts between Canada and America. The International Air Quality Advisory Board (IAQAB), while similar to the FGLWQA, was designed in 1966 and takes a broader look at the environment. Air pollution is analysed for cause and effect. Wind currents flowing over the boarder are examined and if any toxins or pollutants are observed, the IAQAB simply advises the governments of what action to take (Our Great Lakes).
In an environmental setting, Canadian laws are becoming merged with American laws. This form of Americanization is beneficial to both countries.
A second form of political culture, media, is primarily produced and controlled by the United States, even though the majority of Canadians participate as well. One good example of this is the show CSI: Miami. This show is the most popular show in the world; broadcasts of this show appear in more than twenty countries (BBC).
... Canadians, just like Americans like Coca-Cola, Football (yes Canadian football differs from American, but still similar as opposed to football accepted in other countries ... individualism to attract Americans, and its similarity to the USA in a great number of thinks makes Canadian food unpopular ... food. In other words, nowadays the US faces a great number of immigrants from the South America, thus one ...
The next two top television series in all of the world are also American-made (BBC).
It is clear that with such a great amount of media coming from America, and the fact that so many Canadians watch television on a regular basis [there are “2.1 TV sets per household”], a shared set of symbols is sure to emerge (MSN).
Symbols reflect, if not directly influence, a population’s values, ideals and defining stereotypes. For example, one symbol that most Canadians and Americans can identify with is Homer Simpson. This stereotypical American man is seen in Canada often through American broadcasting networks, and is one example of an American-made symbol in Canada. The power of this symbol is reflected in the attitudinal changes in people in regard to viewing adults, not as wise and in a position of authority, but rather as foolish and disrespectful to traditions.
Another example of American media influence on the Canadian political culture can be seen through the political process in the United States as was observed in the recent presidential elections. While Canadian elections and electoral debates are viewable on television and in the newspapers, the American counterpart is much more evident and “hyped-up” and “Hollywoodized.” On November 4, 2008, more than half of the channels on TV were showing the vote count. The sheer number of people who tuned in to watch McCain and Obama’s speeches were more than 77 million, and “was believed to be the biggest commercial TV audience ever for a single night of a U. S. political convention” (Serjeant).
It is astonishing that so many people are involved in American politics. This number takes a much broader look at Americanization, and it applies itself to the world, not just Canada alone. Canadians seem far more involved in the American election than the Canadian election; this interest in the American election of Canadians may be the result of a hefty amount of American influence on the Canadian population. Even still, it clearly depicts a picture of American political influence in Canada.
... in Europe, fur began to diminish in North America. The Native Americans had no form of income and like mentioned above ... a String. University Extension Press. Canada Finaly, J. L. 1984. The Structure of Canadian History. Prentice-Hall Canada Inc. Innis, Harold A... ... Desmond. 1994. A Short History of Canada. Hurting Publishers Patterson, E. 1972. The Canadian Indian: A History Since 1500. Collier ...
A third form of political culture, national values, is similar for both Canada and America. One national value is a religious national value. The majority of Canadians and Americans “believe in hell”; indeed, 60% of Americans to 52% of Canadians hold this belief (MacIonis 66).
These percentages are close enough to draw a similarity from. Almost as many Canadian citizens hold this belief to be true as American citizens do. The Americanization of Canadian political culture goes further than a shared set of symbols, but roots to the very fabric of religion and the values that guide behaviour as a result. While these two nations are independent of each other in the sense of government laws and actions and are politically sovereign of one another, their citizens hold many of the same beliefs, which will therefore, inevitability lead to much of the same laws and actions. With such a great similarity to her neighbour’s beliefs, it is clear that Canada is becoming Americanized.
A second national value is an economic national value. While Canada is more liberal than America on certain issues, capitalism is a value held by both Canadian and American citizens. Americans value making and spending money as a high priority in their lives. Because they want to make as much profit as possible, a substantial amount of work and resources are outsourced to different countries where labour costs are cheaper. Imports and exports are a huge part of the American economic culture. Canada has adopted this capitalist value to a degree. Thriving companies will often outsource materials and production processes as well. In 1988, Canada entered a free trade agreement with America “which expanded six years later to include Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement [NAFTA]” (Hoberg S35).
This early onset of American influence led Canada down a path of economic Americanization. Furthermore, and more recently with collapse of the American economy, we see the impact of greed as an American value on its people. Wall Street is run on greed, and through negligible self-regulatory processes [permitted through US government legislation] caused a significant burden on its people. Since America’s economy is so large, the impact was felt globally. As a result, people in Canada are at risk of losing their homes, jobs and savings. This clearly shows us how the economic value of the political culture of Canada is very much influenced by American economic values.
... leak into the classroom. Canadian culture has never ... encourage young Canadian writers. Southern neighbours have already swamped Canada with their various ways of life. There is no reason for American culture to ...
A third national value is a military national value. Recently, in 2001, America decided to invade Afghanistan; one year later, in 2002, Canada joined the effort. This is a testament to how far Canada is willing to go to keep good relations with America, even when the United Nations are baulking such a radical move. Canadian national values are clearly becoming Americanized.
A fourth form of political culture, mores [pronounced “more-rays”], brings a society together while keeping outsiders out. Mores are, specifically, “the customs or conventions of a particular group” (Penguin).
Mores are similar to laws, with the difference that they are not written, but instead they are unwritten social norms that cause offence if broken. “Mores and laws . . . must never . . . be aloud to collapse into one another,” as overbearing laws will be too much for the people: “the mistake of [the] Chinese” (Kingston 15).
Some structures of government do, however, use mores to their advantage; both the republican forms of government and monarchic form of government use customs and manners [otherwise known as mores] in the basic structure of their government (Kingston 21).
Without these things, those forms of government would surely not succeed (Kingston 21).
American and Canadian mores are very similar. One of the more negative mores that these two countries share is crime. For example, “white collared crime” is the type of crime that has come to be socially accepted, and this acceptance of crime has slowly turned, over time, into an expectation; the expectation of certain forms of crime has in turn evolved into mores (Mabel 185).
Again, this is reflected in a culture that values greed over the well-being of the populous. In America to a larger degree, but also in Canada, companies are the worsts of the worst who commit these crimes that fall into the category of the mores, where greed is their motive, with little concern to the impact of others. If they are not making as much money as possible, they are unsatisfied. Even if the income comes from disingenuous sources, the company’s income is what is important, not the means to achieving that income. Laws and regulations slow down a company’s ability to make a profit [e.g., environmental concerns might lead to a law that prohibits a company to let out x amount of greenhouse gases]. Often, a company will take a look at the law and try to find a way around it. If this proves unsuccessful, then they will weigh out the benefit to cost ratio and take into account the chances of being caught. If it is most profitable to break that law, it is expected of the company to do just that. People in money making positions have grown accustomed to the risk and profit of business, and they will be greatly upset if there is any other reason than profit taken into consideration when making the decision to either break the law or follow the law; these types of mores are deeply seeded in both American and Canadian culture and when they involve large companies or corporations, the political ramifications definitely become an issue.
... States of America had a major impact on Canadian Confederation and played an influential role in its formation. American attitudes and political, military ... Anglophones than Francophones. This made passing legislation nearly impossible, leaving Canada in a deadlock. These internal forces and Britain's influence ...
The major negative effect is quite obvious. The expectation of any person in a position of power in a corporation is that he or she does not make his/ her decisions based on laws, ethics or morals, but on profit alone; this keeps those who have a high degree of moral fibre out of the circle of powerful people and recruits those who are totally economically motivated. Canada and America have similar mores on both a personal and political level, possibly due to the fact that Canada and America are so close, geographically speaking. America is in this way, Americanizing Canada.
There have been and are many counterclaims to this notion of Americanization of Canadian political culture. For example, nationalism and socialism ideologies rather than the more capitalist ideology, in Canadian citizens, is a popular way of looking at how Canada is different from America and therefore is not becoming Americanized (Peacock).
This view on the matter of Americanization brings up some good points: Canadian nationalism is based on socialism and publicly owned enterprise more than the American counterpart which focuses on capitalism and privately owned enterprise. While this is a strong argument, it is not rooted in anything practical; Canadian nationalism can be overwhelmingly in support against Americanization, but if that strong sense of nationalism is not acted upon, there is no real and measurable effect. America could be walking all over Canada, and Canada might do nothing but claim to be against Americanization. This is the reality of what is happening in Canada; many claim to be against Americanization, but when it comes down to the line, we export approximately 450 000 million dollars per year to the world and import almost half as much ($220 479 million) as we export from one source alone – America. “Figure 1” and “Figure 2” in Appendix A show in graph form how much Canada exports to the world and imports from America. With so much consumption of American products, there is no way Canadians are safe from Americanization; Canada relies on American products, one more way of becoming dependant on America, another form of Americanization.
... for stability and status quo has made the German political culture, boring. Real political policy change is the hardest thing for them to ... practiced. This is Germany’s biggest weakness. Germany’s political culture is based upon collaboration and consensus. They are thus a ... leader for the European Union. To understand Germany’s current political culture, its past must be examined. Germany has a very ...
In conclusion, it can be safely stated that Canada’s political culture is in fact becoming Americanized. America is one of the largest contenders in the world market, its geographical location right next to Canada is an unhappy coincidence due to the fact that America is motivated by self-interests, and even there, it is controlled by the interest of the few in power. America is not looking out for Canada and Canada is not asking for that help, the one thing that effectively keeps the two countries hostile, and even helpful at times, is their near antediluvian history. It may then be sensible to augur that Canada’s large neighbour will tend to dominate and control merely because America has that power and desires to augment. Canada’s political culture is becoming Americanized in four specific ways: laws and traditions, the media, national values and mores. Each plays a key part in the Canadian political culture, and each is being heavily influenced by America. If America is able to keep up its conquest of Canadian culture, what is left of Canadian culture will soon be gone. Canadian political culture is becoming Americanized. Our challenge is to critically identify the American influence on Canada and take steps to protect our identity and core values.
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Kingston, Rebecca. Montesquieu and His Legacy. New York: State University of New York P, 2008. 16.
Mabel, Elliott A. “Crime and the Frontier Mores.” American Sociological Review 9.2 (1994): 185-92.
MacIonis, John J., and Linda M. Gerber. “Culture.” Sociology. By John J. MacIonis and Linda M. Gerber. 6th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Prentice Hall, 2009. 66-66.
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Peacock, Anthony A., and Kosta Kalogiros. “Socialism as Nationalism: Why the Alleged Americanization of Canadian Political Culture Is a Fraud.” Is the Political Culture of Canada Becoming Americanized? 14 Nov. 2008 .
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Pye, Lucian W. “Political Culture Revisited.” Political Psycology 12.3 (1991): 487-508.
Rider, Harry. “Americanization.” The American Political Science Review 14.1 (1920): 110-15.
Serjeant, Jill. “John McCain speech draws record TV ratings.” News. 5 Sept. 2008. Reuters. 9 Nov. 2008.