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  #21  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 4:29 PM
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There are many Europes and the European nation-state model is hardly stumbling everywhere on that continent. It's not hard to find countries that are pretty stable and calm under that model right now.

So the question I think we need to ask ourselves isn't so much if the model is a failed one, but more... what has changed?
Demographics.

Many European nations are coming to grips with large-scale immigration from outside their traditional regions. This is a new thing in their experience, whereas prior, most of the increase in the population of Europe was due to high birth rates. Now, most European countries have sub-replacement fertility rates (I think France might be an exception).

These new immigrants bring with them their own culture. In the (relatively speaking) culturally homogeneous countries of Europe, this cultural disruption is a point of conflict. How they deal with this probably will determine the success of how integration happens. Too many immigrants too quickly, and you get domestic population backlash. It will be sort of a tightrope governments have to walk - too few immigrants and you end up with a demographic time-bomb as the population ages (see: Japan), too many and you get domestic population backlash (see: nationalistic right-wing parties).

As a nation that has generally had high levels of immigration, Canada is better prepared than most countries for the future. Especially since we've increased the diversity in our immigration sources (and government policies have helped encourage acceptance of this), so it's not something 'new' to us. It will help us as we have sub-replacement fertility as well.

Our challenge is how to prevent alienation, especially in the second and third generations. Will the children of immigrants see themselves as Canadians, or as a marginalized group X that lives in Canada? I think we've done a good job so far.
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  #22  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 4:44 PM
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As a nation that has generally had high levels of immigration, Canada is better prepared than most countries for the future. Especially since we've increased the diversity in our immigration sources (and government policies have helped encourage acceptance of this), so it's not something 'new' to us. It will help us as we have sub-replacement fertility as well.

Our challenge is how to prevent alienation, especially in the second and third generations. Will the children of immigrants see themselves as Canadians, or as a marginalized group X that lives in Canada? I think we've done a good job so far.
For lack of a better term (and I don't mean this sarcastically), Canada's approach at this point seems to be the "free for all". Basically there are no expectations beyond paying your taxes and not killing anyone. OK, it's a bit more than that, but Canada is extremely user-friendly for a person from virtually any culture in the world to settle into.

I don't know if that means that we've found the magical solution that everyone is looking for, or if we're simply on a different evolutionary timeline.
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  #23  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 4:49 PM
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Demographics.

Many European nations are coming to grips with large-scale immigration from outside their traditional regions. This is a new thing in their experience, whereas prior, most of the increase in the population of Europe was due to high birth rates. Now, most European countries have sub-replacement fertility rates (I think France might be an exception).

These new immigrants bring with them their own culture. In the (relatively speaking) culturally homogeneous countries of Europe, this cultural disruption is a point of conflict. How they deal with this probably will determine the success of how integration happens. Too many immigrants too quickly, and you get domestic population backlash. It will be sort of a tightrope governments have to walk - too few immigrants and you end up with a demographic time-bomb as the population ages (see: Japan), too many and you get domestic population backlash (see: nationalistic right-wing parties).
.
Many European countries (especially those in the west) have dealt with migratory waves in the past, but I'd be interesting in knowing how the contemporary waves compare with the older ones in terms of sheer numbers and also their composition.
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  #24  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 5:24 PM
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For lack of a better term (and I don't mean this sarcastically), Canada's approach at this point seems to be the "free for all". Basically there are no expectations beyond paying your taxes and not killing anyone. OK, it's a bit more than that, but Canada is extremely user-friendly for a person from virtually any culture in the world to settle into.

I don't know if that means that we've found the magical solution that everyone is looking for, or if we're simply on a different evolutionary timeline.
I've thought about it and can't really come up with a better solution.

I'm not sure if 'free for all' is the right term though - there is some societal expectation that you will respect the beliefs of others, attempt to learn one of the official languages and support yourself without recourse to public funds. The points based immigration method helps on this count - eliminates those who probably wouldn't be a good fit for us. Our immigration policy should be for our benefit mostly, not the benefit of those who want to immigrate, aside from refugees.

I don't think an overly paternalistic 'making a round peg fit in a square hole' push will accomplish much - probably more backlash than anything.

In my experience most 2nd and 3rd generation Canadians are mostly 'Canadianized'. I know that's anecdotal, but our system seems to work remarkably well.
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  #25  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 5:27 PM
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Many European countries (especially those in the west) have dealt with migratory waves in the past, but I'd be interesting in knowing how the contemporary waves compare with the older ones in terms of sheer numbers and also their composition.
As far as I know (that's a pretty limited base though), it has mostly been intra-European immigration until relatively recently. A Swede in Denmark or an Irishman in the UK nobody would bat an eye at.

Eastern European immigration is harder to quantify due to the Cold War.
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  #26  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 6:05 PM
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I agree with wave46 that the Canadian model is hardly a free for all. In the past we used to select based on cultural criteria, mostly allowing European (Christian) immigrants to the point of even putting a head tax on Chinese. This changed after WW2 and even more after the 60's to where we now use the points system which selects for motivated and educated immigrants.

Both of these methods are relatively effective at ensuring that those who arrive fit in well and tend to integrate, although for different reasons. The immigrants we get today are the adaptable and open minded, hard working subset of their respective populations - this is the common culture of Canada. I posit that the countries that are NOT doing well at this are the ones that allow people with low economic prospects as well as very different cultural backgrounds to immigrate en masse. Often this is publically justified as helping those in need, or people that are owed due to the host country's colonial past.
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  #27  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 6:18 PM
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I've heard him and others say that. That Canada somehow is the "New America". I can see their point but OTOH it's also true that people like John Ralston Saul tend to have an extremely romanticized view of Canada.

It may just be that Canada is at a different stage in its evolution when compared to the U.S. (All of which may indeed make Canada a more relaxed and pleasant place to be than the U.S. is at the present time, it's true.)

If Canada as they believe is a kind of post-national state, my sense is that we're more in a post-national phase than we are permanently post-national - for good.

To use a metallurgical term, I believe that nations tend to be "alloys" that follow more or less inexorable paths. Canada's alloy is soft at the moment due to the stage that it's at. The U.S. alloy was softer at one point as well, but today it is visibly harder than the Canadian one.
Regarding a loosely defined identity based on "civic nationalism" or a "proposition nation" eventually evolving into a more culturally unified nation, do we have enough examples from history either way to show if it's likely? Couldn't or aren't there also examples of evolution in the other direction, where ethnic nation-states or strongly culturally unified states become more pluralistic, if not "proposition nations".

From my understanding "proposition nations", or at least self-conceptions of one's own country being one have been really uncommon in history and fairly new. I suppose that the US, Canada, and other New World nations are said to be them, but in all these cases, it never started out that way as settlers or colonists (eg. those whose identity were white Anglo-Protestant, French Catholic, or to be Spanish-speaking Catholic for Latin America etc.) still for a rather long time sought to exclude those that don't fit and include only certain demographics. The civic identity came later. A real country which set up shop as "propositional" with no assumptions coming from the cultural, religious or ethnic roots of the first settlers hasn't existed. Maybe if humanity colonizes space and sets up colonies on other worlds "from scratch", perhaps!

Also, regarding the metallurgical metaphor, isn't that what the melting pot analogy was kind of about, as originally used, more than a century back? Though it seems like discussions of cultural assimilation have gradually shifted away from metallurgical metaphor into culinary metaphor (people today are more likely to visualize a fondue or stew than a crucible for smelting metals), also with cultural mosaic and tossed salad too!

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For lack of a better term (and I don't mean this sarcastically), Canada's approach at this point seems to be the "free for all". Basically there are no expectations beyond paying your taxes and not killing anyone. OK, it's a bit more than that, but Canada is extremely user-friendly for a person from virtually any culture in the world to settle into.

I don't know if that means that we've found the magical solution that everyone is looking for, or if we're simply on a different evolutionary timeline.
No, it's not really a "free for all". There of course still are cultural assumptions and expectations made about how "Canadians" should act. Even very simple everyday actions viewed on the street like how socially accepted it is for you to talk really loud etc., or how much to tip at a restaurant, or if guests should take off shoes when visiting your house, show examples of shared norms. It's just that Canadians, unlike Americans or Europeans seem to less explicitly say "do this, or else you're not a part of us!" out loud. But, peer pressure and social norms still hold, even if it may be thought of often as assimilating into "western" norms rather than Canadian norms specifically.

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In my experience most 2nd and 3rd generation Canadians are mostly 'Canadianized'. I know that's anecdotal, but our system seems to work remarkably well.
Even the immigrant generation has no problem identifying with Canada. There was that study a while back showing that averaged as a whole immigrants actually identified with Canada more than the native-born.

"Immigrants were more likely than non-immigrants to have a very strong sense of belonging to Canada (67 per cent, compared with 62 per cent)"

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/...y-on-belonging

Granted that's just survey reported data so people's responses might be affected by wanting to tell the survey-giver what they want to hear.

Another example, immigrants were actually more excited about "Canada 150" than the native-born too.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-...rs-not-so-much
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  #28  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 6:32 PM
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I remember during the US election there was a (condescending) piece on how some large percentage of Trump supporters never lived outside their state. That was interesting to me because I never thought there would be an expectation that you'd leave your state/province. Obviously people in Canada move to other places for better opportunities or what not, like to Calgary during its boom time or whatever, but overall it seems like most people live, grow up and die in the same metropolitan area, regardless of how "non-Trump voter demographic" they are.
It's notable that, on the other hand unlike the label "Real America" which small towns in the US, often in the "heartland" like to claim and unlike the criticism leveled against big, bustling cities like NYC, LA, SF, or sometimes the coasts more broadly, that their residents are out of touch with "Real America", there's no equivalent in Canada.

It seems like it'd be odd to imagine smaller, more rural areas or earlier settled regions, or one part of Canada as a whole claiming to be more "Real Canada" and then saying those big cities or other areas are out of touch with the country. Do small town Ontarians claim to be more real and authentically Canadian than Toronto? Do people in Quebec or the Atlantic provinces whose families have been there for generations longer than say Calgarians or British Columbians make the claim that those with deep roots are the real Canucks?

In my view, it's arrogant for some parts of countries or cities and regions within a country, to claim to speak for the country as a whole and it seems many people agree, so "Real America" sounds rather crass, and also it is often used mockingly or ironically, which then makes both the coasts and "heartland" defensive about who gets to be seen as typical "America".
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  #29  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 7:30 PM
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I don't know if it will make everyone happy, but I should clarify what I meant by "free for all".

Canada's immigration system when it comes a) to selecting the people who are admitted is most definitely not a "free for all". I agree with most of you that it's probably close to being a global gold standard on this front.

Once people get here though, I do think that b) it's as close to a "free for all" as you're gonna find anywhere in the world (where rule of law exists, anyway).

Depending on your point of view, b) may be a good or a bad thing. I think both sides can be argued.

There is also likely some truth to the idea that the excellent filter we have in a) leads to b) having a smaller impact than it might have otherwise.
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  #30  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 7:41 PM
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As far as I know (that's a pretty limited base though), it has mostly been intra-European immigration until relatively recently. A Swede in Denmark or an Irishman in the UK nobody would bat an eye at.

Eastern European immigration is harder to quantify due to the Cold War.
Yes and no. In France and the UK at least it hasn't been primarily the case for a pretty long time.
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  #31  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:00 PM
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Once people get here though, I do think that b) it's as close to a "free for all" as you're gonna find anywhere in the world (where rule of law exists, anyway).
Aside from the rule of law which is taken as given of course, I suppose the question of whether the reason it's seen as being a "free for all" is due to (relative) lack of social pressure, rather than legal pressure?

So, in Canada, the US or all other immigrant-receiving countries, the newcomers all have legal pressures to assimilate (eg. requirements for citizenship, obeying laws of new countries), but Canada is lower in social pressure or social barriers to assimilate even if selective in policy or legal barriers to entry, while the other countries have both stronger social and legal pressures to fit in?
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  #32  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:08 PM
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Aside from the rule of law which is taken as given of course, I suppose the question of whether the reason it's seen as being a "free for all" is due to (relative) lack of social pressure, rather than legal pressure?

So, in Canada, the US or all other immigrant-receiving countries, the newcomers all have legal pressures to assimilate (eg. requirements for citizenship, obeying laws of new countries), but Canada is lower in social pressure or social barriers to assimilate even if selective in policy or legal barriers to entry, while the other countries have both stronger social and legal pressures to fit in?
IMO it's definitely more a question of social pressure (or lack thereof). Though the state and various public institutions often play a role in the level of social pressure.

The legal framework is relatively similar in most of the countries we're talking about.
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  #33  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:12 PM
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It seems like it'd be odd to imagine smaller, more rural areas or earlier settled regions, or one part of Canada as a whole claiming to be more "Real Canada" and then saying those big cities or other areas are out of touch with the country. Do small town Ontarians claim to be more real and authentically Canadian than Toronto? Do people in Quebec or the Atlantic provinces whose families have been there for generations longer than say Calgarians or British Columbians make the claim that those with deep roots are the real Canucks?

In my view, it's arrogant for some parts of countries or cities and regions within a country, to claim to speak for the country as a whole and it seems many people agree, so "Real America" sounds rather crass, and also it is often used mockingly or ironically, which then makes both the coasts and "heartland" defensive about who gets to be seen as typical "America".

I think you might be surprised at how many people make that distinction in Canada and feel that the larger cities (usually the one closest to them) don't represent the "real X". It may not always be framed in those terms but even in a diverse province like Ontario you don't have to go very far outside of Toronto to meet people who'll tell you quite bluntly that Toronto doesn't represent "them" or "their home" or whatever term you want to use.

This may or may not have a racial or ethno-cultural dimension, depending on who you talk to. But in more than a few cases it does.
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  #34  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:34 PM
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IMO it's definitely more a question of social pressure (or lack thereof). Though the state and various public institutions often play a role in the level of social pressure.

The legal framework is relatively similar in most of the countries we're talking about.
Curious in light of the fact that Americans have a long-standing tradition of being thought of as (by self-conception as well as by others in other societies) the most "individualistic" society.

Canada is thought of as a more "collectivist" society.

But that then contrasts with a narrative of Canada being more "individualistic" when it comes to social norms or pressure, and the US being more eager to, as a society, get individuals to assimilate or fit a social norm.
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  #35  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:39 PM
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Regarding a loosely defined identity based on "civic nationalism" or a "proposition nation" eventually evolving into a more culturally unified nation, do we have enough examples from history either way to show if it's likely? Couldn't or aren't there also examples of evolution in the other direction, where ethnic nation-states or strongly culturally unified states become more pluralistic, if not "proposition nations".

From my understanding "proposition nations", or at least self-conceptions of one's own country being one have been really uncommon in history and fairly new. I suppose that the US, Canada, and other New World nations are said to be them, but in all these cases, it never started out that way as settlers or colonists (eg. those whose identity were white Anglo-Protestant, French Catholic, or to be Spanish-speaking Catholic for Latin America etc.) still for a rather long time sought to exclude those that don't fit and include only certain demographics. The civic identity came later. A real country which set up shop as "propositional" with no assumptions coming from the cultural, religious or ethnic roots of the first settlers hasn't existed. Maybe if humanity colonizes space and sets up colonies on other worlds "from scratch", perhaps!

Also, regarding the metallurgical metaphor, isn't that what the melting pot analogy was kind of about, as originally used, more than a century back? Though it seems like discussions of cultural assimilation have gradually shifted away from metallurgical metaphor into culinary metaphor (people today are more likely to visualize a fondue or stew than a crucible for smelting metals), also with cultural mosaic and tossed salad too!
This is why I hate using labels. We often end up spending too much time discussing what the label means as opposed to actual concepts. When everyone knows what we're talking about - regardless of label.

Getting back to the topic at hand, certainly there are tons of countries out there that aren't fairly strictly the homeland of a particular ethnic group like Iceland and Japan.

Even a country like France hasn't been the exclusive preserve of M. and Mme Dupont for several centuries now.

So to answer your question: my belief is that even countries that start off diverse, or at one point become diverse, tend to eventually become unified into a single whole. The main exceptions are when you have regionally concentrated minorities (as in Canada, Switzerland and Belgium) or groups that have been deliberately kept apart from the majority (African-Americans for a long time).
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  #36  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:40 PM
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Curious in light of the fact that Americans have a long-standing tradition of being thought of as (by self-conception as well as by others in other societies) the most "individualistic" society.

Canada is thought of as a more "collectivist" society.

But that then contrasts with a narrative of Canada being more "individualistic" when it comes to social norms or pressure, and the US being more eager to, as a society, get individuals to assimilate or fit a social norm.
I've gradually been coming around to the idea that Canada may be quite a bit more individualistic than the U.S.

But again, it may just be about the stage where Canada is in its socio-cultural evolution though.

The U.S. is a more mature society than Canada is, even if we often view the U.S. as behaving immaturely.
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  #37  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:51 PM
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Even the immigrant generation has no problem identifying with Canada. There was that study a while back showing that averaged as a whole immigrants actually identified with Canada more than the native-born.

"Immigrants were more likely than non-immigrants to have a very strong sense of belonging to Canada (67 per cent, compared with 62 per cent)"

http://nationalpost.com/news/canada/...y-on-belonging

Granted that's just survey reported data so people's responses might be affected by wanting to tell the survey-giver what they want to hear.

Another example, immigrants were actually more excited about "Canada 150" than the native-born too.

http://ottawacitizen.com/news/local-...rs-not-so-much
This is no doubt true, but I'm not sure how big of an achievement that is.

It's about as user-friendly and non-committal a label you could possibly hope for.

Everyone is going to be in favour of free beer, you know.
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  #38  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 8:59 PM
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Yes and no. In France and the UK at least it hasn't been primarily the case for a pretty long time.
The UK was still upwards of 99% white British as late as the 60s.
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  #39  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 9:07 PM
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Canada has no universal "Real American" for the right-wing to latch on to. Even if each region's equivalent of a "Real American" were to somehow exterminate everyone around them who is different, Canada would still have to be a multicultural, multiethnic, multilingual federation. That's much less applicable in the United States, where a xenophobic hick in Alaska has a lot more in common with one from Oklahoma than a xenophobic hick from Kelowna would have in common with one from Levis or Conception Bay South. Even beyond the fundamental culture, the surface trimmings - the songs, symbols, flags, whatever else - the Alaskan and Oklahoman "Real American" would likely be on the same page. Meanwhile, here... a xenophobic nationalist in St. John's would probably prefer someone from any race or religion on the planet over the xenophobic nationalist from Quebec or British Columbia.

That's an advantage of our huge size, very divided regions, and lack of a strong, universal, deeply-penetrating national identity. And I think it's one of the core reasons why multiculturalism works in Canada, thus far. We are, by nature, used to compromise and, at minimum, we are perfectly alright with a country consisting of distinct regions.

But Canada still has growing pains. We're fine with regions, but that's only especially true when those regions (though different) are, within themselves, largely homogeneous. Multiculturalism is still a slow but steady trickle almost everywhere except our largest cities, and people can have some unease as a result of a mosaic of cultures being present within their region. Most of us are fine with it, I suspect, especially the younger generation. But there's still some skittishness there. And always will be, it's human nature. We're just fortunate enough to have the multiregional thing under our belts, which predisposes us to also being fine with granular, street-by-street multiculturalism.
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  #40  
Old Posted Sep 21, 2017, 9:31 PM
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It's notable that, on the other hand unlike the label "Real America" which small towns in the US, often in the "heartland" like to claim and unlike the criticism leveled against big, bustling cities like NYC, LA, SF, or sometimes the coasts more broadly, that their residents are out of touch with "Real America", there's no equivalent in Canada.

It seems like it'd be odd to imagine smaller, more rural areas or earlier settled regions, or one part of Canada as a whole claiming to be more "Real Canada" and then saying those big cities or other areas are out of touch with the country. Do small town Ontarians claim to be more real and authentically Canadian than Toronto? Do people in Quebec or the Atlantic provinces whose families have been there for generations longer than say Calgarians or British Columbians make the claim that those with deep roots are the real Canucks?

In my view, it's arrogant for some parts of countries or cities and regions within a country, to claim to speak for the country as a whole and it seems many people agree, so "Real America" sounds rather crass, and also it is often used mockingly or ironically, which then makes both the coasts and "heartland" defensive about who gets to be seen as typical "America".
New York City is 6% of the population of the US. Toronto is 17% the population of Canada.
California is 10% of the US population. Ontario is 38% of the Canadian population.

The reality is that a Canadian is much more likely to live in one of the big metropolises. It's the "normal." The prospect of living in Toronto is a lot less foreign to Canadians than it would be for Americans living in New York City I think.

Though most Americans still live in large urban areas, it's easier to feel more detached from their metropolises than it is in Canada. Though they are much more dispersed, most media still comes out of New York or LA. Sure most media in Canada comes from Toronto, but considering how much of our population is centered there, I think it's less isolating.

Then again, the "real Canada" thing exists, just in a different way. The "centre of the universe" moniker is one that highlights this.
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