10/23/2014

Are you Canadian?

Since I got to New Zealand, I have been asked that question more times than I can count--'Are you Canadian?'

It's quite obvious by my accent that I am not originally from here but people don't ask where I'm from unless we have more than a 2 minute conversation. When they deduce that I am either American or Canadian, 4 out of 5 folks will opt for the Canadian question as opposed to asking if I am from the US.

Interestingly enough, my answer is usually followed by the other person leaning forward a bit and saying, quite apologetically, that Canadians are insulted if you call them Americans!

Personally, I don't have a problem with being confused with being Canadian since it's a pretty close call. But I can't, for the life of me, understand why there is a problem from the other side.

I googled 'Why do Canadians hate being called Americans?' but was quite overwhelmed with the over-a-MILLION results. Obviously, I'm not the first one to ask that question on the internet and there wasn't a definitive answer in the few articles I read.

I don't get it. If you are Canadian, can you please enlighten me, eh?

11 comments:

Linda Kay said...

I'll be looking forward to comments from any Canadians who come forward. I didn't realize there was a dislike. And like you I have no animosity toward a Canadian...have visited that country often and enjoy each visit.

Kalantikan said...

hahaha i didn't know that too. Maybe you should make another post if you found an answer. I only know of the English vs Americans, and also don't know the reasons.

The Furry Gnome said...

Well, as a Canadian, what can I say? I think most Canadians like individual Americans who they meet, just like the reverse. Many of us travel to the U.S. and enjoy our visits. Some stay for months to escape the snow. If there's any animosity I think it's a more abstract feeling about some institutional differences, particularly our health care system vs the U.S., and the American right to carry guns. I'm sure there are other differences, but those are ones that I think about. Today's tragedy in Ottawa will underscore our common interests though, not our differences.

Cynthia said...

I asked my friend who is Canadian. She said she is proud of being Canadian and feels different from US citizens but the rest of the world lumps us all together and sees no difference. She says people think Canada is just another part of the US.
So, that's one Canadian's perception, anyway.

Anita said...

I was just explaining to my daughter this morning, the need for America and Canada to stick together. We are good neighbors. With the horror of the terrorist incidents in Canada, it is especially important at this time.
As for your observation and question, it would be interesting to know. The Furry Gnome seems to have a good theory. I see it as being siblings. We love each other, but have our occasionally spats.

Bethany Carson said...

Interesting read!

Gosia k said...

Wow, it is interesting for me nationality doesn't matter only personality. Hugs from Europe

Arnoldo L. Romero, MLA said...

Sorry, but I can't help you with that one. I'm Hispanic American, but have been asked if I'm Italian. Blessings!

merinz said...

Its a little bit like New Zealanders constantly being confused with Australians.

Halcyon said...

I don't think it's that we don't like Americans. It's just that we like to be known for ourselves and it's hard when you have that big cousin down south that EVERYONE knows and you feel like you're constantly being compared to him. ;-)

Steven Prime said...

As a Canadian I can maybe help answer your question. Canadians are known to be quietly patriotic, but that changes a little when aboard. Generally, Canadians are very proud and like it to be known that Canada has a separate identity to the US. Yes, Canada does have a unique culture based on a unique blend of English, Scottish, Irish, and French roots as well as First Nations peoples - no other country uses some of the words, icons, values, and traditions that we do. What other country uses the word toque, chesterfield, double-double, mickey, two-four, or First Nations peoples or use phrases like "keep your stick on the ice"? We have different values than the US as a whole despite some overlap (eg, our views on multiculturalism vs the melting pot, gun control, and universal health care vs HMOs). I am not saying that these are reasons why Canadians should be offended when confused to be an American - but they do highlight differences between Canadians and Americans that Canadians are usually very proud of. I lived in NZ (recently moved back to Canada) and I was mistaken as an American a couple of times. I won't say I took offence but yes I did correct the person, because I am proud to be Canadian - that is all. I will say that once I went to a cafe in Wellington where I ordered a flat white and muffin. I said, "May I have a large flat white and a muffin please." The lady over the counter asked if I would like the muffin warmed. I said, "No thank you". As I was waiting for my coffee the other lady over the counter said, "You are Canadian, right?" I said "Yes I am". She said "It is so obvious". I thought that was strange, but to the informed ear there is a slightly different accent between Canadians and Americans that some can pick out (ask a Canadian and American to say "sorry" and you will what I mean). I asked her why it was so obvious and she replied "because you said please and thank you". I felt sorry for the image of Americans she held in her mind, I don't think she is alone.