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Anti-Canadian sentiment is hostility towards the government, culture, or people of Canada.


Voltaire reputedly joked that Canada was "a few acres of snow."[1] He was in fact referring to New France as it existed in the 18th century. The quote meant that New France was economically worthless and that France thus did not need to keep it. Many Canadians believe Voltaire's statement to be more an indictment of conquest in general.[2]

Modern perceptions

See also: Foreign relations of Canada

Results of 2017 BBC World Service poll.
Views of Canada's influence by country[3]
Sorted by Pos-Neg
Country polled Positive Negative Neutral Pos-Neg
 United States
 United Kingdom

United States

See also: Canada–United States relations

In the United States, Canada is often a target of conservative and right-wing commentators who hold the nation up as an example of what a government and society that are too liberal would look like.

"Soviet Canuckistan" (full name being The People's Republic of Soviet Canuckistan) is an epithet for Canada, used by Pat Buchanan on October 31, 2002, on his television show on MSNBC in which he denounced Canadians as anti-American and the country as a haven for terrorists. He was reacting to Canadian criticisms of US security measures regarding Arab Canadians.[4]

Buchanan has a history of unflattering references to Canada, having said in 1990 that if Canada were to break apart due to the failure of the Meech Lake Accord, "America would pick up the pieces."[5] He said two years after that "for most Americans, Canada is sort of like a case of latent arthritis. We really don't think about it, unless it acts up."[6]

In 2005, the year in which Canada refused to participate in an American ballistic missile defense system and in which Paul Martin denounced American environmental policies, a new wave of "anti-Canadian" sentiment was reported. Media articles portraying Canada in a negative fashion increased substantially, appearing in newspapers such as the Weekly Standard, The New York Times, and the Wall Street Journal.[7]

In a December 2005 interview, Tucker Carlson remarked on MSNBC that:

First of all, anybody with any ambition at all, or intelligence, has left Canada and is now living in New York. Second, anybody who sides with Canada internationally in a debate between the U.S. and Canada, say, Belgium, is somebody whose opinion we shouldn't care about in the first place. Third, Canada is a sweet country. It is like your retarded cousin you see at Thanksgiving and sort of pat on the head. You know, he's nice, but you don't take him seriously. That's Canada.[7]

Saudi Arabia

Amid a diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Canada,[when?] there has been an apparent smear campaign targeting Canada in Saudi media. An al-Arabiya segment accused Canada of human rights abuses.[8] (Saudi-owned al Arabiya broadcasts from Dubai.) On August 6, 2018, a pro-government youth group uploaded a controversial photo that depicted an Air Canada airliner heading towards the CN Tower with the words "sticking one's nose where it doesn't belong", which was a resemblance to 9/11. The account later deleted the Twitter post and apologized and the Ministry of Media of Saudi Arabia ordered the account @Infographic_KSA to shut down "until investigations are completed."[9][10][11]

Islamic State

The Islamic State's former spokesman, Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, has called for loyalists to the organization worldwide to murder the "Disbelievers" from those countries that took part in the International Action against ISIL, including Canada (which he singled out three times),[12] which was responsible for Operation Impact.[13]

“If you kill a disbelieving American or European – especially the spiteful and filthy French – or an Australian, or a Canadian, or any other disbeliever from the disbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State, then rely upon Allah, and kill him in any manner or way however it may be,”

-Abu Mohammad al-Adnani[14]


See also: Brazil–Canada relations

Anti-Canadian sentiment has been observed in Brazil. People boycotted Canadian goods to protest a Canadian ban of Brazilian beef imports, reportedly because of fears of mad-cow disease.[15] A few Brazilians believed the Canadian ban was motivated by a trade dispute between the two nations. Canada's subsidies to aircraft manufacturer Bombardier and Brazil's subsidies to Bombardier's Brazilian rival Embraer have been a source of much tension because they are said to interfere with each other's business.[16]


Some hostility towards or criticism of Canada as a nation can be seen within Canada itself, most prominently by Quebec nationalists and First Nations. Some First Nations refuse to celebrate Canada Day.[17][18][19]


Anti-Canadianism in the Francophone province of Quebec has its roots originally stemming from the resentment since the conquest of New France by Great Britain in 1760, even before the official existence as entities of Canada and Quebec themselves. However, after the Constitution Act, 1867, which officially made Canada a country on July 1, 1867, with four provinces: Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick, which marked the separate existence and de facto independence and de jure evolutionary independence of Canada, these sentiments developed into Anti-Canadianism. Anti-Canadianism is sometimes intertwined with Quebec nationalism.

From the invasion of New France in the 1760s and the formation of Canada in 1867 until the Quiet Revolution of the 1960s, the economy of Quebec and its high-ranking positions were controlled by the English speaking minority in Quebec, who were always a small minority comprising less than 10% throughout Quebec's post–Royal French Canadian history and who used to be mostly unilingual English speakers, despite the Francophone Québécois' comprising more than 80% of the province's population. This led nationalist thinkers to denounce a colonial phenomenon that, as they believed, was at work between Quebec and the rest of Canada; some hold that residuals of this are still there in the present relationship. Journalist Normand Lester published three volumes of The Black Book of English Canada detailing events of Canadian history he saw as being crimes perpetrated by the majority on the minority.[20]

Quebec, whose sole official language is French since 1974, has introduced and implemented laws since the 1970s, especially with the adoption of the comprehensive Charter of the French Language Law in 1977 that limits the visibility of English on non-official signs. Commercial signs in languages other than French (especially targeting those in English) have been permitted only if French is given marked prominence in size. This law has been the subject of periodic controversy since its inception. While the architects and advocates of the Charter of the French Language Law argue that it was adopted to promote and protect the French language, critics argue that it is anti-English Canadian in its purpose by rooting out the English language from all spheres in Quebec.[21]

One of the charter's articles stipulates that all children under 16 must receive their primary and secondary education in French schools, unless one of the child's parents has received most of their education in English, in Canada, or the child themselves has already received a substantial part of their education in English, in Canada. Access to elementary and secondary English language schools by non-anglophone immigrants have also been limited by this law.[22]

Lucien Bouchard said that Canada wasn't a "real country", sparking outrage across Canada. He later apologized for the remark.[23]


Many in Newfoundland harbour an ambivalent attitude towards Canada. Many blame the federation for economic difficulties experienced since the dominion joined the confederation in 1949. Some Newfoundlanders perceive a disrespectful attitude toward them from the rest of Canada, and Newfie stereotypes and ethnic jokes that depict Newfoundlanders as stupid or lazy are a source of ire. Former Newfoundland premier Danny Williams notably ordered all Canadian flags removed from provincial buildings during a dispute with the federal government in 2004.[24] Williams was personally popular in Newfoundland, at times receiving as much as 85% support in polls.[25]

Political accusations

Sometimes Canadians accuse each other of being anti-Canadian: For example, Manitoba Premier Gary Doer (NDP) accused the governments of Ontario and Alberta of being "anti-Canadian" due to their dislike for equalization payments.[26]

Anti-Canadianism and humour

Humorous anti-Canadianism often focuses on broadly known attributes of Canada and Canadians such as cold weather or public health care,[27] as the finer details of Canadian culture and politics are generally not well known outside Canada. The sport of curling is also treated with some irreverence in the United States and most of Europe. However, these broad targets are more accurately caricatured within Canada itself. The fact that others are perceived to know surprisingly little about Canada is a frequent theme in Canadian humour and such examples of self-deprecating humour are nearly universal among Canadian humorists. In keeping with this attitude, some genuinely critical anti-Canadianisms such as "Soviet Canuckistan" are embraced by some Canadians as humorous, in defiance of the original intent.[citation needed]

See also


  1. ^ Ferguson, Will (1999-10-01). Bastards & Boneheads: Canada's Glorious Leaders Past and Present. Vancouver: Douglas & Mcintyre. ISBN 9781550547375.
  2. ^ le Branchu, Jean-Yves (June 1937). "The French Colonial Empire and the Popular Front Government". Pacific Affairs. 10 (2): 125–135. doi:10.2307/2750594. JSTOR 2750594.
  3. ^ "2017 BBC World Service poll" (PDF). BBC World Service. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-07-30.
  4. ^ Allan, Chantal (2009). Bomb Canada: And Other Unkind Remarks in the American Media. Athabasca University Press. pp. 84–85. ISBN 9781897425497.
  5. ^ "Pat Buchanistan". The Globe and Mail. 2002-11-02. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  6. ^ Mason, Phil; Parris, Matthew (2012-10-22). Is That Mic Off?: More Things Politicians Wish They Hadn't Said. Biteback Publishing. ISBN 9781849544818.
  7. ^ a b Harrison, Trevor W. (2007). "Anti-Canadianism: Explaining the Deep Roots of a Shallow Phenomenon". International Journal of Canadian Studies (35): 217–239. doi:10.7202/040771ar – via Érudit.
  8. ^ Compare: "'Canada is the world's worst oppressor of women': Saudi Arabia's bizarre propaganda campaign" by Tristin Hopper - National Post, 10 August 2018: "This whole spat began because Canada has publicly campaigned against the jailing of Saudi blogger Raif Badawi. As a result, the easiest way to discredit Canada would be to find evidence of us similarly jailing political dissidents. On Monday, the Saudi-owned TV channel Al Arabiya ran a segment on the allegedly appalling conditions in Canadian prisons. Amid claims that 75 percent of Canadian detainees die before standing trial, the segment also claimed that University of Toronto professor Jordan Peterson is a Canadian prisoner of conscience. Peterson certainly has his qualms with the Canadian justice system; he first rose to prominence as a critic of an Ontario law regarding gender expression. But the professor remains a free man."
  9. ^ Jones, Ryan Patrick (2018-08-06). "Saudi Arabian group apologizes for posting image appearing to threaten Canada with 9/11-style attack". CBC News. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  10. ^ Russell, Andrew; Kalvapalle, Rahul (2018-08-06). "Saudi non-profit deletes Twitter image depicting Air Canada plane flying towards CN Tower". Global News. Retrieved 2019-10-19.
  11. ^ Kassam, Ashifa (2018-08-08). "Saudi group posts photo of plane about to hit Toronto's CN tower amid Canada spat". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 2019-10-20.
  12. ^ "Islamic State group threatens Canadians: 'You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms'". The Toronto Star. 2014-09-22. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  13. ^ "Stephen Harper condemns ISIS audio urging attacks on Canadians". CBC.
  14. ^ "Islamic State group threatens Canadians: 'You will not feel secure even in your bedrooms'". The Toronto Star. 2014-09-22. ISSN 0319-0781. Retrieved 2021-10-27.
  15. ^ Smith, Jeremy (2001-02-14). "Brazil Ranchers, Ports Boycott Canadian Imports". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  16. ^ Westervelt, Robert (2001-02-28). "Potash Firms Caught in Brazil-Canada Trade War". Chemical Week. 163 (9): 16. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  17. ^ Scherer, Steve (2 July 2021). "Canada Day muted as country reckons with treatment of indigenous, other minorities". Reuters.
  18. ^ "Why some Canadians aren't celebrating Canada Day this year". Christian Science Monitor.
  19. ^ Latimer, Kendall (1 July 2022). "Why some Sask. people aren't celebrating Canada on July 1". CBC News.
  20. ^ Lester, Normand (2002-10-22). The Black Book of English Canada. McClelland & Stewart. ISBN 9780771022593.
  21. ^ Boberg, Charles (2010-08-26). The English Language in Canada: Status, History and Comparative Analysis. Cambridge University Press. p. 9. ISBN 9781139491440.
  22. ^ Field, Dick (2008-03-11). "Time for the NATION of Quebec to leave Canada". Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  23. ^ Joyal, Serge (Fall 2000). "Bill C-20 and the sovereignty of the people". Cité Libre. 28 (4): 97–100. Archived from the original on 2011-07-27.
  24. ^ "Maple Leaf flags removed in offshore feud". CBC News. 2004-12-23. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  25. ^ "Williams, PCs still dominate landscape, latest poll finds". CBC News. 2008-03-07. Archived from the original on 2008-03-12. Retrieved 2016-05-11.
  26. ^ Byfield, Link (2006-06-16). "Far from equal". The Calgary Sun. Archived from the original on 2006-10-03.((cite web)): CS1 maint: unfit URL (link)
  27. ^ See Canadian Bacon for jokes about the weather and health care, and The Simpsons episode "The Bart Wants What It Wants" for jokes about Canadian health care