PDA

View Full Version : The difference between Canadians and Americans



Harry Miller
06-15-2006, 09:55 AM
Sorry about the word "progressive" but try to get past it.

MONT-TREMBLANT, QUE.—"Father knows best" isn't just an old TV show any more — it's where Canada and the U.S. beg to differ, according to Environics pollster Michael Adams.

And the difference between Canadian and American attitudes toward big daddy may reveal something larger about how to rebuild the centre-left of the political spectrum in Canada — a task now under way at a big, "progressive politics" conference at the Mont-Tremblant resort.

The conference also drew former U.S. vice-president Al Gore to talk last night about Canada-U.S. attitudinal divides on the environment.

One of Adams' most stunning illustrations of Canada-U.S. differences to the conference was on the question of family dynamics —— specifically the idea of the father as head of the family.

In Canada, that notion has been slowly eroding since 1992. In the United States, it's been growing.

In 1992, 26 per cent of Canadians said they agreed with the statement: "The father of the family must be the master of his own house." In 2005, only 18 per cent of Canadians agree with that notion, according to Adams' numbers.

By contrast, 42 per cent of Americans agreed with that statement in 1992. But by 2005, more than half of Americans — 52 per cent — said that dad must be the boss at home.

http://www.thestar.com/NASApp/cs/ContentServer?pagename=thestar/Layout/Article_Type1&c=Article&cid=1150321812620&call_pageid=968332188492&col=968793972154&t=TS_Home

P.I. Stazzer-Newt
06-15-2006, 09:59 AM
What does SWMBO think?

Harry Miller
06-15-2006, 10:06 AM
well she hasn't been agitating to move south.

TomF
06-15-2006, 10:10 AM
Actually, that wee little fact is really interesting. Thanks Harry.

Rick Starr
06-15-2006, 10:12 AM
I call BS on the article and the premise. One minute there's an argument for family values based on the erosion of the family unit, next minute there's a parallel argument based on pro-patriarchal poll? Not surprised that Gore finds his way into the middle of another self-emasculating argument, though.

TomF
06-15-2006, 10:23 AM
I call BS on the article and the premise. One minute there's an argument for family values based on the erosion of the family unit, next minute there's a parallel argument based on pro-patriarchal poll? Not surprised that Gore finds his way into the middle of another self-emasculating argument, though.Call away. The survey had nothing to do with Gore, though some results were discussed at an event where he was an attendee. And the Fatherhood issue is only a proxy indication of different approaches to authority. That's the real meat.

Environics is one of Canada's leading polling firms. A news release on the specific publication is here http://erg.environics.net/news/default.asp?aID=572

To be honest, it looks fascinating. Goes a long ways to describe differences in political culture. I'll probably buy a copy of the book.

t

Rick Starr
06-15-2006, 10:29 AM
...Except that it doesn't fit with what I or anyone else I know observes in America. After so many years of pondering polls which show results that do not represent any semblance of the reality I observe, I am highly skeptical.

TomF
06-15-2006, 10:33 AM
Here's a quote from the Environics article ... sounds quite a lot like what I've heard here in the Bilge:
One of the most surprising research findings in Canada and the United States is that Americans, with their traditions of individualism, distrust of government, and personal freedom, are now actually more deferential to authority than Canadians, with our traditions of group rights, institutional accommodation, and larger, more socialist government. Research indicates that Americans – particularly Republicans – are more likely to favour hierarchical organization of businesses, traditional father-led families, and the belief that younger people should automatically defer to older people.

One’s orientation to authority is highly predictive of other beliefs and behaviours. For example, if you asked a group of people whether an organization works better when there is a strict hierarchy, as in the military, and divided those people into two groups according to their responses, you would likely be left with two groups holding distinct and coherent views on such concepts as duty, religion, patriotism, propriety, family, and multiculturalism. Obviously, there would be some diversity within each group. But each group would be much more coherent in its values than it would have been had you used another question to create the initial split.

Research shows that the divide between red (Bush/Republican) and blue (Kerry/Democrat) America is heavily bound up in attitudes about authority. Environics social values research show that Bush voters are vastly more deferential to authority than Kerry supporters. They are also more religious and more attached to the idea of the traditional family. These three trends among Bush supporters reinforce one another heavily: a deferential person is more likely to accept without question the dictates of religious leaders (usually negative about homosexuality, as Pew research affirms empirically). Such a person is more likely to believe in the traditional father-led family, not only because that’s what the authority figure at church advocates, but also because such a family structure offers a clear source of authority within the home. The religious leader and the strict father believe in and reinforce each other’s legitimacy and importance in their respective domains.

Milo Christensen
06-15-2006, 10:46 AM
This is one of the more thought provoking threads to come along in quite awhile. More pondering necessary.

Quick question - Does this perceived change in the %age in America and the difference in Canada have to do with the different demographics of our populations - especially America's aging baby boomers? I know that my attitude towards fathers in the house has changed as I see more extremely undisciplined youth come out of one parent households. That may or may not be real and it may just be me getting older.

Rick Starr
06-15-2006, 10:47 AM
That last paragraph is pretty loaded, which is why I smell a rat.

Note the date. At a time when Americans legitimately felt the need for strong leadership, Kerry offered nothing besides obeisance to a corrupt and imperious UN.

TomF
06-15-2006, 11:50 AM
That last paragraph is pretty loaded, which is why I smell a rat.

Note the date. At a time when Americans legitimately felt the need for strong leadership, Kerry offered nothing besides obeisance to a corrupt and imperious UN.What rat do you smell?

Environics is Canada's equivalent to Gallup. You'll find that their quantitative methodology is as sound as any pollster on the planet. They're not likely to have been making up their results.

Reg Bibby, who interpreted some of the data, has been winning awards for his quantitative social research since the early 1980s, and is the Grand Old Man of this stuff. Professor at the University of Lethbridge. He's not likely to have been making up his results either.

So what rat do you smell? You feel, perhaps, that they've got it backwards? That perhaps Ian McColgin, Keith, or Norman would be more likely to unquestioningly follow a President or a Military Chain of Command than, say, Alan Hyde or High C?

geeman
06-15-2006, 11:58 AM
I still think the report was slanted to the Canadian side.I stated earlier I know of no families (normal) that live that way .

Meerkat
06-15-2006, 12:05 PM
The difference between Americans and Canadians is simple: Latitude and Attitude. ;)

TomF
06-15-2006, 12:19 PM
Well, geeman and Rick, there are lots of things which are true, which are outside our own personal experience.

My province has about a 25% illiteracy rate, yet none of my circle of friends is illiterate. Less than 15% of New Brunswick's adult population has a university degree, but probably 85% of the adults I socialize with have at least one.

Besides, if we're just describing differences, not putting value statements on them, how is one "side" of the thing skewed? Is it bad to favour a clear chain of command and accountability? Is it bad to invest duty and respect in, say, the office of the President ... whoever the incumbent is? Is it bad to support a traditional family model where men head the household, while women provide the nurturing that holds things together? I've heard various people speak approvingly of all of that stuff here in the bilge.

And though I haven't hired a grad student to comb through our various threads and "code" responses, I'd lay good money that the ratio of the approaches to authority represented in the article would in fact show more Canadians sounding like Blue US citizens, and fewer Canadians sounding like Red US citizens. Reflecting differences in our respective approaches to authority.

geeman
06-15-2006, 12:25 PM
OK,,I know personally a lot of people from back in the hills that still have no electricity or running water today,I know a lot of college grads with education in this area also.I know of No one in either that believes or says they believe Man is King Of home and hearth, other then the few I noted that talk the talk, but knowing their wives dont walk the walk.

Grouchy_Old_Coot
06-15-2006, 12:29 PM
I still think the report was slanted to the Canadian side.I stated earlier I know of no families (normal) that live that way .

Geeman - Which way? And what is normal?

Where I sit 95% of the families are as "nuclear" as it gets. "Dad - the breadwinner, Mom - the homemaker and two over-achieving children. And Dad is still the head of the household." No, they are not all Ward & June perfect, but in most hometowns the old fashion family values still thrive.

It's just that "Ward & June" don't make headline news and in most big cities are judged by their "cover" and not by the "content of their heart".

I know our government has its share of faults and some days it seems Greed in King, but overall, I still feel the US is a pretty damn sweet place to call home. 10million illegal immigrants can’t be wrong!:D

Popeye
06-15-2006, 12:34 PM
:rolleyes::D

geeman
06-15-2006, 12:35 PM
In my experience I know of few families now days that can afford to have a one bread winner family.Sure there ARE families still that dad is the main breadwinner,but I dont think the AVERAGE family any longer has dad going to work in the morning while mom stays home.They are around but I think income dictates that both work much of the time.in a large number of American households.Plus ,because dad brings home the bacon in those families doesnt suggest to me that he's the boss in the modern family,as a rule now days.

pcford
06-15-2006, 01:36 PM
One at a time Canadians are ok.....Get a bunch of them in a room at the same time and they look kinda funny.

Popeye
06-15-2006, 01:47 PM
what has 4 legs and a money belt?

Harry Miller
06-15-2006, 01:55 PM
Hey! Me and Bruce Taylor look funny even when we're alone.
However, I think the research is looking at who makes the big decisions. rather than who is the master and who is the slave. Examples of big decisions:
- where do we live
- what house do we buy
- where do we send our kids to school
- what (if any) church do we attend
Michael Adams is a pretty serious researcher and he has been asking these questions for a long time. I guess you could argue that people are lying to him but to what purpose?

geeman
06-15-2006, 02:00 PM
Harry ,they are all decisions that most people I know make together ,as opposed to daddy making them.They are a perfect example of what I and others were talking about.Not one of those decisions would I consider making without Wifes input.

geeman
06-15-2006, 02:12 PM
Maybe theres is more culture difference then I thought.

Harry Miller
06-15-2006, 02:33 PM
Harry ,they are all decisions that most people I know make together ,as opposed to daddy making them.They are a perfect example of what I and others were talking about.Not one of those decisions would I consider making without Wifes input.


Oh you mean you get some input.

Bruce Taylor
06-15-2006, 02:59 PM
We sound funny, too.

S/V Laura Ellen
06-15-2006, 03:21 PM
I can't unswer until I run the question past my wife. She said that she is too busy right now to respond to silly questions from those "wooden boat" people.:D

Texas Boater
06-15-2006, 08:21 PM
In my experience I know of few families now days that can afford to have a one bread winner family.Sure there ARE families still that dad is the main breadwinner,but I dont think the AVERAGE family any longer has dad going to work in the morning while mom stays home.They are around but I think income dictates that both work much of the time.in a large number of American households.Plus ,because dad brings home the bacon in those families doesnt suggest to me that he's the boss in the modern family,as a rule now days.

Geeman - If that is true, then how sad! Yes there are a growing number of families that think they need two or more incomes so that they can afford the new 3000+ sq ft home I the perfect urbanite neighborhood, which requires that they drive their new H2 an hour each way to work, which means there’s never enough time to eat at home and still get their pampered children off to piano, dance, t-ball, etc. Those are choices they made. Not everyone in American makes those same choices. And I agree with Grouchy Old Coot.:D

Life is full of choices. When my wife and I started our family we both decided that one of us would stay home and raise the children. Neither one of us ever thought of daycare as a choice. My wife won and I became the sole breadwinner. Over they years we made sacrifices but never did we fill like we were destitute or poor. Now the children are all getting ready to graduate and my wife has gone back into the formal work force and we seem to always be looking for both money and time to spare. Two incomes have not improved our lives at all. The increased income has only increased our spending and destroyed our family time.:eek:

I have lived in major cities and rural towns and you may be correct that “city folk” can easily get caught up in chasing the Benjamins. But it is also true that there are still a lot of country folk (and city folk as well) that have not fallen into this trap. ;)

I have no idea where “Grouchy Old Coot” lives, but down here in “backwards-Texas” where salaries are high, the cost of living is low and a person’s “word” is still worth more than his possessions – there are still a lot of single family incomes. And Papa is still head of the house hold.:o

"To put the world right in order, we must first put the nation in order; to put the nation in order, we must first put the family in order; to put the family in order, we must first cultivate our personal life; we must first set our hearts right". -- Confucius

geeman
06-16-2006, 04:43 AM
Texas Boater,,What you are describing is what I would consider Middle to upper middle class families.Most of the people in THIS area dont make what most would consider a "middle class income"Most people in this area dont drive new or newer cars,nor live in 3000+ sq foot houses.Most in this area have to make their living in fairly low paying jobs ,and struggle to make ends meet to get even basic needs met at the end of the month.Most people I know of lets say "middle age" dont have college degrees,a lot dont even have high school degrees.Mom and dad worked the only jobs available which were seasonal,both, to put food on the table and the very basics.As you stated,thats how it is in YOUR area.I stated how it is in mine.Apparently you had choices that IN THIS AREA are a dream to most people.These are not the people "caught in the trap of keeping up" These are people that simply do what they MUST do to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.YOu stated " I have no idea where “Grouchy Old Coot” lives, but down here in “backwards-Texas” where salaries are high, the cost of living is low and a person’s “word” is still worth more than his possessions – there are still a lot of single family incomes. And Papa is still head of the house hold."In my area the income is low and the cost of living is high.Thats just the way it is,they both work because they HAVE TO,its not about the new car,big house,or the extras,its about the basics.Paying the rent/food/and keeping the electricity on and keeping decent tires on whatever they can afford to drive.Its great when there are "choices" ,these people have very few.My wife and I both work,the kids are long grown and gone.My income wouldnt cover our basics either,we both work because WE HAVE TO.BTW, wife makes more money then I do,doesnt bother me a bit,we both contribute equally to the household.Us and most people I know are not trying to impress anybody,we're just trying to get by.Your perspective is from your area,mine is from my area.

S/V Laura Ellen
06-16-2006, 06:04 AM
Almost 30% of us are either single or delusional?:D

mmd
06-16-2006, 06:53 AM
"We sound funny, too." - Bruce Taylor

D'lard t'underin' jay-sus, b'ye! Wot d'hell are ye talkin' 'bout? Dat Dingo feller dere, now he soun's funny. We's soundin' jus' foin, t'ank you very much!

Andrew Craig-Bennett
06-16-2006, 07:12 AM
The traditional way of establishing who "wears the trousers" (interesting little phrase, that!;) ) in England is to inspect the kitchen garden.

If the parsley is flourishing, the wife does.

On a fractionally more serious note, it is quite possible for a society to combine extremely "macho" male attitudes with women as the head of the family in practice. The Philippines is an excellent example. Women do almost everything; the men strut around and imitate the true loves of their lives - their fighting cocks.

JimD
06-16-2006, 10:31 AM
The reasons for the difference are deeply rooted in history. Whereas Canadians, like Brits, have answered the call to arms of both kings and queens you'll never see a poster exclaiming Auntie Samanta Wants You!

Grouchy_Old_Coot
06-16-2006, 02:02 PM
The traditional way of establishing who "wears the trousers" (interesting little phrase, that!;) ) in England is to inspect the kitchen garden.

If the parsley is flourishing, the wife does.

On a fractionally more serious note, it is quite possible for a society to combine extremely "macho" male attitudes with women as the head of the family in practice. The Philippines is an excellent example. Women do almost everything; the men strut around and imitate the true loves of their lives - their fighting cocks.

I think we may be mixing “poe-taters and toe-maters”!:confused:

Just because in a specific family the "father" is considered head of the household, does not necessitate that he be a “dominating macho” or the mother be subservient in any way.

Ever successful TEAM has to have one final leader – the tie breaker. Otherwise, there will be times when no progress is made - stalemates. There has to be a person that leads with charity, kindness, honesty and yes at times authority. Mom and Dad can (and should) share in the task of running the household as a TEAM, but that does not mean there shouldn’t be a leader. :) Maybe, just maybe this concept that all members of a family should have equal leadership roles and no one person should have the final say is why so many American families become dysfunctional and often end in divorce – just a thought.;)

And yes I know I have probably offended 50% of you out there that are in the difficult position of running a family by yourself. I do not mean this to be insulting – BUT the discussion I believe is about, in a nuclear family with a Mother and Father who is in charge and why is it different in Canada vs. the US. Actually I am not sure how single parents do it, my wife and I have always had a strong partnership in raising our children and it has been a tough job, just keeping them on the “right path”.

And I would say the reason my Americans are different from Canadians in the respect is due to our short but separate histories. Remember, the US was settled by arrogant, strong spirited male-LEADERS that were not happy with the status quo of either the “homeland” or the new colonies. What sort of person would force their family to travel across an dangerous ocean or a vast wasteland just he could get more land (or money)? This arrogance is inner bread in every American, whether we like it or not. That’s why we have “Founding Fathers” and “Uncle Sam” and not “Her Majesty”. (And Hillary doesn’t count because she could probably beat old Bush in a one-on-one any day!):D


:o And one more thing….don’t confuse poor choices made in your past (dropping out of school early, teenage pregnancy, spending beyond your means, getting cross-ways with the law, whatever..) with the “unavoidable ramifications” of those choices. If I had become a father at 16, dropped out of school so I could support my family on a minimum wage job, over spent trying to imitate a more affluent lifestyle, gotten divorced because of the family unrest and now had to work two jobs just to pay for my “new” family and child support – I really can’t blame the current global economic environment or the government. I have always felt that the main place where we as citizens fail our children is not clearly defining the possible outcomes of their choices and being fully involved in the choices they do make. Blah, Blah, Blah – I’ll shut up now.:eek:

Keith Wilson
06-16-2006, 02:07 PM
Every successful team has to have one final leader . . .Unexamined dubious assumptions, exhibit A.

Meerkat
06-16-2006, 02:09 PM
Texas Boater,,What you are describing is what I would consider Middle to upper middle class families.Most of the people in THIS area dont make what most would consider a "middle class income"Most people in this area dont drive new or newer cars,nor live in 3000+ sq foot houses.Most in this area have to make their living in fairly low paying jobs ,and struggle to make ends meet to get even basic needs met at the end of the month.Most people I know of lets say "middle age" dont have college degrees,a lot dont even have high school degrees.Mom and dad worked the only jobs available which were seasonal,both, to put food on the table and the very basics.As you stated,thats how it is in YOUR area.I stated how it is in mine.Apparently you had choices that IN THIS AREA are a dream to most people.These are not the people "caught in the trap of keeping up" These are people that simply do what they MUST do to keep food on the table and a roof over their heads.YOu stated " I have no idea where “Grouchy Old Coot” lives, but down here in “backwards-Texas” where salaries are high, the cost of living is low and a person’s “word” is still worth more than his possessions – there are still a lot of single family incomes. And Papa is still head of the house hold."In my area the income is low and the cost of living is high.Thats just the way it is,they both work because they HAVE TO,its not about the new car,big house,or the extras,its about the basics.Paying the rent/food/and keeping the electricity on and keeping decent tires on whatever they can afford to drive.Its great when there are "choices" ,these people have very few.My wife and I both work,the kids are long grown and gone.My income wouldnt cover our basics either,we both work because WE HAVE TO.BTW, wife makes more money then I do,doesnt bother me a bit,we both contribute equally to the household.Us and most people I know are not trying to impress anybody,we're just trying to get by.Your perspective is from your area,mine is from my area.The stress of having both work - got to keep that boat supported! ;) :p

Grouchy_Old_Coot
06-16-2006, 02:11 PM
The stress of having both work - got to keep that boat supported! ;) :p

Touché








I would argue that no one reading this forum could be destitute – for they obviously own both a boat and a computer!

Bruce Taylor
06-16-2006, 02:41 PM
Remember, the US was settled by arrogant, strong spirited male-LEADERS that were not happy with the status quo of either the “homeland” or the new colonies.

And who do you imagine settled Canada? A pretty rugged bunch, I assure you.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
06-16-2006, 09:17 PM
No No No Bruce. America is the best. You need to understand that.

Bruce Taylor
06-16-2006, 09:34 PM
The coot must think we just happened to grow here, like crabgrass, or a big fungus. :D

I have ancestors from half a dozen countries (including the U.S.) Some of them endured unimaginable hardships to make a new life in an unforgiving land.

Peter Malcolm Jardine
06-16-2006, 09:38 PM
We're just on the sidelines. We don't even know where the real race is being run.