The Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America)


Originally published at:

Jesse Brown is a pioneering podcaster whose Search Engine produced some of the best commentary on the intersection of the internet, pop culture and politics; when he struck out on his own to create a new podcasting empire, Canadaland (previously), he hit on a winning formula: analysing and critiquing Canadian politics by analysing and critiquing the Canadian press, with wit, irreverence and a sharp nose for bullshit – all of which combine to excellent effect in the brand new Canadaland Guide to Canada (Published in America), co-written with Vicky Mochama and Nick Zarzycki.


All I know is, on the one trip I’ve taken to Canada – New Brunswick to be a little more exact – this American came back thinking, “It’s true … it’s all true.”

The place was beautiful, and the people were some of the nicest I’ve ever met in my travels. I mean … Every. Single. Person I met there was nice.

But maybe I missed the hellish parts. More research is needed.


Dude… you think that about New Brunswick? O_o
We refer to that as the “drive through” province, aka: we don’t stop in NB, we drive very fast to get out the other side!


I was only there 3 days. And … there was a tour of the Ganong Chocolate factory involved. Also … I had my first experience with poutine. Do you want me to admit that I loved it? Okay! I loved it!! Satisfied now??


we also got beaver tails, Ketchup chips and Caesars… that’s about it I think.


After I commented on the niceness of drivers in Washington state (they actually let you merge in traffic!), my cousin replied that it had to do with proximity to Canada (she lived about an hour from the border). I then went on a short trip to Vancouver, and couldn’t refute her statement.


@orenwolf Canuckistan


You’re only saying that because that’s what we want to hear.


Don’t forget all the terrible things we’ve done based on race, creed, and colour. Residential Schools are in the consciousness now, but reparations for Japanese Internment came way too late (way too recently). We also have many of the same systems reinforcing racism as our Southern neighbours but with a smaller visible-minority population it is more pernicious for being easier to overlook.

I am proud to be Canadian, and I think it’s a lovely place to live. I think a lot of the stereotypes about politeness and courtesy are well-founded in truth.

Are we as good as we think we are? No. And confronting that is the first step in approaching that goal.


I have been around when they think all the yanks have left the room. They are not nice. Polite, yes… nice, well that depends.


My God, driving (and team sports) are where Canadians are at their worst! (At least in the Toronto-Hamilton area, and most of southern Ontario.) I’ve never seen anyone pass on the shoulder at 70mph in a traffic jam except in Ontario. And it was fun seeing cars 100 feet off the road through 2 feet of snow whenever there was a snow storm. But if you get them out of the car (or off the soccer field), Canadians are pretty cool. :slight_smile:


Sadly, it’s true. I was in a traffic jam yesterday, and saw a Mercedes pull into oncoming traffic, go through a (green) stoplight, reverse, and then basically parallel parked to rejoin traffic in the space that people were leaving so that they didn’t block the intersection.


As a Canadian who’s spent a LOT of time in the US thanks to work (thanks, @jlw!) the major difference I’ve noticed is that because politically the issues we have with our government usually aren’t critical issues like healthcare, security, or foreign policy, there’s a lot less ire towards the government in general (“Government is trying to take my hard earned money”-type conversations are less prevalent here, which I always thought to be ironic because the Government here really is taking more of our money, but hey) :slight_smile:

Our news isn’t a bunch of talking heads arguing how the government in power shouldn’t be there or has no competency, and our reasonably strict lobbying and campaigning laws prevent our advertising being clogged up with political ads (political groups can’t even get non-profit status here! That unfortunately includes the EFF, sadly).

I’m a predominantly Aboriginal Torontonian, living in a city that is majority immigrant, and yet I almost never think about the sorts of issues I hear about regularly in the US regarding racial or cultural tension. It’s not that those issues don’t exist here, but that they tend to be universally condemned by the media and government and treated with the appropriate ire by the community (another thing most Americans don’t know about Canada is we don’t have the freedom of speech laws the US does - it’s much easier to have something classified as hate or criminal speech here).

It’s a little weird, to be honest. Every time I visit the US my usual reaction is “why is everyone so angry all the time?” - it seems like every TV station, billboard, or idle conversation I hear is simmering with a sort of resentment and defensiveness that just doesn’t seem to exist up here in the same way. My guess is, more than anything, that that’s how we get classified as “nice”, more than anything else. I don’t feel like I need to defend my way of life from my own country, whereas that seems to be the narrative of a lot of what I read about the US lately.

That area of the country is both beautiful and incredibly welcoming. I got to spend several days in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick last fall and one of my thoughts was “this whole region should be the Canadian ambassadors for the world”. great people out that way.


I think that nice / welcoming and civil / polite are quite different things. It seems that the stereotypical American really doesn’t think they need to be civil / polite to others while this habit is quite ingrained up here in the north. I think it’s the strong British influence and while it can certainly get in the way of having important conversations, I think it keeps people talking. As far as nice / welcoming goes, the Maritimes (east coast) is definitely stronger in those traits than anywhere else in the country.


Every criticism of Canada that Brown makes is spot on. But the alarming realization is that, even with all of its colonialist and racist baggage, Canada is still morally and temperamentally superior to its erratic and flamboyant southern neighbour.


I think that Passing on the shoulder thing is a US thing and we don’t do it in Canada. All lanes are the same, in that they are all equally slow.


I’m a Southerner, and so-called “Southern Hospitality” has long been known to really be espionage served with a smile.


Wow, thank you for summing up in words what I’ve observed and felt for a long time now, but I could never quite place what it was! This will make it much easier to express myself on the topic in the future!


The only version of that I hear is that the west complaining that the east is taking their money. :wink:

The maritimes and NFLD have a love/hate relationship with New Brunswick. Its not an island see. Nova Scotia barely gets a pass cuz its also connected but barely. Island people man, they different! :wink:


This isn’t the first self-critical book by a Canadian.
Check out : But Not in Canada! Smug Canadian Myths Shattered by Harsh Reality by Walter Stewart. About 1983, I think, and well worth reading.