Author Topic: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"  (Read 7916 times)

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Offline Tassie Dave

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #45 on: February 07, 2019, 02:00:50 PM »
Actually I think Sweden and Australia have rather similar values. Both are stable democracies with largely post-Christian (Protestant) secularized populations. Sure there are differences. But values-wise, they have much more in common with each other than any of them has with Russia or China.

Having similar societal values doesn't mean "being the same".

Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I would have described Australia as closer to Britain, but since the 80s we have become more Americanised.

I'd describe Australians as somewhere between Canadians and Americans.

Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #46 on: February 07, 2019, 02:11:12 PM »
Norway is an ancient monoculture that deeply resents being invaded by foreign refugees, and an immensely egalitarian society that invites in huge numbers of refugees because they need help and people are people.

Norway has not even been independent for most of the past millenium. And Norway is an ammalgamation of previous tribes and petty kingdoms that inhabited the area, as is Sweden.

Canada is a young multiculture that struggles to properly respect the large number of immigrants that go there.

I guess.

The US is a xenophobic cultural steamroller that crushes or appropriates any non-white-male culture while remaining ignorant of the effects of priviledge or even the concept of priviledge.

The very concept of "cultural appropriation" is scarcely recognized outside of the US. The same goes for "white priviledge". The rest of the world doesn't really think in American racial terms. Europe in particular is divided more by ethnicity rather than American notions of race. You are super-imposing your domestic views on a part of the world that functions differently.

The US is also one of the world's least racist countries.

(Maybe I should stop? I know that destroying the popular but demonstrably false narratives that people here hold doesn't really win me any friends here...)
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #47 on: February 07, 2019, 02:14:02 PM »
Growing up in the 60s and 70s, I would have described Australia as closer to Britain, but since the 80s we have become more Americanised.

That's not unique to Australia. American popular culture has been very influential worldwide since the end of WW2, maybe especially so since the end of the Cold War.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #48 on: February 07, 2019, 07:15:17 PM »
I got pretty hot-and-heavy editing together my response. If I've messed up the relationship among quoted text please forgive.

(Maybe I should stop? I know that destroying the popular but demonstrably false narratives that people here hold doesn't really win me any friends here...)

No, you shouldn't stop. Different perspectives on culture fascinate me. I'll assess the evidence you provide. If I see gaps, flaws, or hidden assumptions I'll point them out.

From my perspective the interpretations you share minimize some things that are important and emphasize some things that are not. The result is that you sound dismissive of differences between cultures. I don't think you are being dismissive - I'm saying that's how it sounds to me at first.

Norway is an ancient monoculture that deeply resents being invaded by foreign refugees, and an immensely egalitarian society that invites in huge numbers of refugees because they need help and people are people.

Norway has not even been independent for most of the past millenium. And Norway is an ammalgamation of previous tribes and petty kingdoms that inhabited the area, as is Sweden.

This is not a fair or meaningful comparison. Canada has existed in something like it's modern form for maybe 200 years? The US for maybe 300? Go much further back than that and the entire concept of a country starts to get a bit squishy compared to how we think today. While those Norse tribes certainly had differences, those were very small compared to the kinds of differences you find between next door neighbours across much of Canada.

In addition, Norway today is no longer just the descendents of those tribes. The large influx of Muslim refugees has reached a tipping point - at least in the cities - where the brown citizens are visibly everywhere. This has set up a profound cognitive dissonance in many Norwegians. It isn't a question of skin colour. It is a crisis of identity. What does it mean to be Norwegian when a sizable minority do not have nordic roots? My Norwegian family are universally disgusted by how the French deal with their Muslim population while also feeling profoundly uncomfortable with what real integration means for Norwegian culture. My child's mother is Norwegian. She married a black Guaynese woman (1st gen Canadian as a child). She had a kid with a straight mixed Brit/Indian/Afghan/Trinidadian man. A year or so ago she said, "The most common boy's baby name in Norway this year is Mohamad. Isn't that sad?" Definitely not a racist person - but she sees some of the cultural changes in Norway as a loss of what she grew up with. She is right about that, and it makes her sad.

The very concept of "cultural appropriation" is scarcely recognized outside of the US. The same goes for "white priviledge".

Close.

Cultural appropriation is not recognized outside the US because it is the first time and place in history that usurping a culture is seen as morally wrong. In part this is because white america didn't just remix aspects of black america and latino america... White america actively surpressed and isolated those cultures while doing that remixing, and then largely denied any remixing had taken place.

I think cultural appropriation is often an overblown opportunity to be offended, especially when it presumes that culture and creativity are a zero sum or even negative sum game. As noted above, in the US it has been that kind of game in the past and present. From a practical point of view I worry that minority cultures grasp at the appearance of control over their narratives and histories, without gaining actual control over those things - because they are not controllable in the sense they want. IMO healthier approach would be more like a creative commons attribution license: if you're taking on parts of a culture that is not your own, acknowledge and celebrate those influences and sources.

Oh, and on "white privilege' - there are places where the dominant culture is immensely privileged compared to the subordinate cultures. Saudi Arabia comes to mind. The difference is that they don't give a rat's ass about what anyone else thinks about their position at the top of the food chain. America's minorities have voices, and some of the dominant culture listen to them.

The US is a xenophobic cultural steamroller that crushes or appropriates any non-white-male culture while remaining ignorant of the effects of priviledge or even the concept of priviledge.

The rest of the world doesn't really think in American racial terms. Europe in particular is divided more by ethnicity rather than American notions of race. You are super-imposing your domestic views on a part of the world that functions differently.

I didn't actually use 'race' in my descripition of the US because I'm Canadian and don't think in American terms of race. Their concept of race is barely sensible within their borders. It's almost meaningless outside them. At the same time I can understand how they use the term and what it means to them.

It isn't just Europe that is divided by ethnicity. Most of the world is like that. Places where ethnic boundaries were violated (by empire building, for example) have a lot of internal conflict.

The US is also one of the world's least racist countries.

I haven't had time to go through the source for those stats, so I can't comment. I have immediate questions about the questions though. The way they were asked could bias the results dramatically. The US and Canada are also more culturally diverse than most other places, but not in homogeneous ways. I look forward to exploring the paper.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #49 on: February 09, 2019, 09:25:26 AM »
I got pretty hot-and-heavy editing together my response. If I've messed up the relationship among quoted text please forgive.

(Maybe I should stop? I know that destroying the popular but demonstrably false narratives that people here hold doesn't really win me any friends here...)

No, you shouldn't stop. Different perspectives on culture fascinate me. I'll assess the evidence you provide. If I see gaps, flaws, or hidden assumptions I'll point them out.

From my perspective the interpretations you share minimize some things that are important and emphasize some things that are not. The result is that you sound dismissive of differences between cultures. I don't think you are being dismissive - I'm saying that's how it sounds to me at first.

That's I think a proper take. Exchange of ideas.

Norway is an ancient monoculture that deeply resents being invaded by foreign refugees, and an immensely egalitarian society that invites in huge numbers of refugees because they need help and people are people.

Norway has not even been independent for most of the past millenium. And Norway is an ammalgamation of previous tribes and petty kingdoms that inhabited the area, as is Sweden.

This is not a fair or meaningful comparison. Canada has existed in something like it's modern form for maybe 200 years? The US for maybe 300? Go much further back than that and the entire concept of a country starts to get a bit squishy compared to how we think today. While those Norse tribes certainly had differences, those were very small compared to the kinds of differences you find between next door neighbours across much of Canada.

In addition, Norway today is no longer just the descendents of those tribes. The large influx of Muslim refugees has reached a tipping point - at least in the cities - where the brown citizens are visibly everywhere. This has set up a profound cognitive dissonance in many Norwegians. It isn't a question of skin colour. It is a crisis of identity. What does it mean to be Norwegian when a sizable minority do not have nordic roots? My Norwegian family are universally disgusted by how the French deal with their Muslim population while also feeling profoundly uncomfortable with what real integration means for Norwegian culture. My child's mother is Norwegian. She married a black Guaynese woman (1st gen Canadian as a child). She had a kid with a straight mixed Brit/Indian/Afghan/Trinidadian man. A year or so ago she said, "The most common boy's baby name in Norway this year is Mohamad. Isn't that sad?" Definitely not a racist person - but she sees some of the cultural changes in Norway as a loss of what she grew up with. She is right about that, and it makes her sad.

My main objection, which actually a lot of Americans seem to hold, is that the Nordic countries until a few decades where more or less completely isolated cultures almost untocuhed by foreign influences. This narrative is incorrect. The Nordic region has been part of the Western European culturaol hemisphere since Christianization in the Middle Ages, and even before that thee were contacts with the European continent. They aren't really any more isolated than the rest of Western Europe. The only exception in the Nordics would be Iceland, but even there the story is more complicated.

I never, ever think about "what it means to be Swedish". I'm not a nationalist in the first place. I know that Norway as a country is more culturally conservative than we are, but it sounds like a rural thing, to the extent that people do it. If I may ask, where in Norway does your Norwegian family live?

The very concept of "cultural appropriation" is scarcely recognized outside of the US. The same goes for "white priviledge".

Close.

Cultural appropriation is not recognized outside the US because it is the first time and place in history that usurping a culture is seen as morally wrong. In part this is because white america didn't just remix aspects of black america and latino america... White america actively surpressed and isolated those cultures while doing that remixing, and then largely denied any remixing had taken place.

I think cultural appropriation is often an overblown opportunity to be offended, especially when it presumes that culture and creativity are a zero sum or even negative sum game. As noted above, in the US it has been that kind of game in the past and present. From a practical point of view I worry that minority cultures grasp at the appearance of control over their narratives and histories, without gaining actual control over those things - because they are not controllable in the sense they want. IMO healthier approach would be more like a creative commons attribution license: if you're taking on parts of a culture that is not your own, acknowledge and celebrate those influences and sources.

By my impression, it's mostly a thing that (white) college kids get worked up about, taking offense on behalf of others.

Oh, and on "white privilege' - there are places where the dominant culture is immensely privileged compared to the subordinate cultures. Saudi Arabia comes to mind. The difference is that they don't give a rat's ass about what anyone else thinks about their position at the top of the food chain. America's minorities have voices, and some of the dominant culture listen to them.

But being white (or black) isn't a culture.

The US is a xenophobic cultural steamroller that crushes or appropriates any non-white-male culture while remaining ignorant of the effects of priviledge or even the concept of priviledge.

The rest of the world doesn't really think in American racial terms. Europe in particular is divided more by ethnicity rather than American notions of race. You are super-imposing your domestic views on a part of the world that functions differently.

I didn't actually use 'race' in my descripition of the US because I'm Canadian and don't think in American terms of race. Their concept of race is barely sensible within their borders. It's almost meaningless outside them. At the same time I can understand how they use the term and what it means to them.

It isn't just Europe that is divided by ethnicity. Most of the world is like that. Places where ethnic boundaries were violated (by empire building, for example) have a lot of internal conflict.

Fair enough, I agree.

The US is also one of the world's least racist countries.

I haven't had time to go through the source for those stats, so I can't comment. I have immediate questions about the questions though. The way they were asked could bias the results dramatically. The US and Canada are also more culturally diverse than most other places, but not in homogeneous ways. I look forward to exploring the paper.

Hmm, wouldn't an American or Canadian racist resent living next door to someone of another race? Could it manifest itself in some other way?
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #50 on: February 09, 2019, 10:28:11 AM »
My point was merely that most people in the U.S. see Canada as being just like us, while most Canadians are offended by the idea. And there are very real and significant differences even though we share a cultural background.

What people are offended by is irrelevant to the truth of anything.

And yes, they are not copies. But on a global measure in comparison to many other countries, they are closely aligned when it comes to societal values.

Both supporters and detractors seem to view the US as very uniquely different compared to all other countries. But various surveys of societal values across the world don't support that notion.

See also the below chart. The US and Canada are close to each other, as are the other English-speaking countries.



Cool graphic. Thanks for that. While the U.S. and Canada are closer to each other than they are to many distant parts of the world, the graphic places them pretty far apart to my eye.
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #51 on: February 09, 2019, 01:21:01 PM »
I'm short on time, so just one bit for now.

(click to show/hide)
My main objection, which actually a lot of Americans seem to hold, is that the Nordic countries until a few decades where more or less completely isolated cultures almost untocuhed by foreign influences. This narrative is incorrect. The Nordic region has been part of the Western European culturaol hemisphere since Christianization in the Middle Ages, and even before that thee were contacts with the European continent. They aren't really any more isolated than the rest of Western Europe. The only exception in the Nordics would be Iceland, but even there the story is more complicated.

I never, ever think about "what it means to be Swedish". I'm not a nationalist in the first place. I know that Norway as a country is more culturally conservative than we are, but it sounds like a rural thing, to the extent that people do it. If I may ask, where in Norway does your Norwegian family live?

While people may claim that Northern Europe was isolated, that is not what I claim. I'm saying that there is a culture that has thousands of years of fairly continuous cultural evolution. Normal cross-cultural interactions were minor influences from trade or major transformations from conquest. That is the global norm, and in the last few centuries borders were defined around those cultural groups (in Europe, at least).

I suspect the reason you never think about what it means to be Swedish is a direct result of being part of a dominant monoculture. Most people don't think about what it means to be part of their in-group at all, but especially if their group is dominant. I bet it's really easy for you to point out what not-Swedish looks like though - as you did with Norwegians. (That is part of privilege. Not [category] privilege. Just privilege. It is really hard to see from the inside.)

The family is my daughter's aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc., mostly in Oslo, Brekstad, and Stokkøya.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #52 on: February 10, 2019, 02:11:00 PM »
My point was merely that most people in the U.S. see Canada as being just like us, while most Canadians are offended by the idea. And there are very real and significant differences even though we share a cultural background.

What people are offended by is irrelevant to the truth of anything.

And yes, they are not copies. But on a global measure in comparison to many other countries, they are closely aligned when it comes to societal values.

Both supporters and detractors seem to view the US as very uniquely different compared to all other countries. But various surveys of societal values across the world don't support that notion.

See also the below chart. The US and Canada are close to each other, as are the other English-speaking countries.



Cool graphic. Thanks for that. While the U.S. and Canada are closer to each other than they are to many distant parts of the world, the graphic places them pretty far apart to my eye.

There is certainly a distance between them, but compared to the world as a whole, they are pretty close to each other.

This probably is more obvious if you live in it, compared to if you are not. I could point to many differences between Norway and Sweden, but they wouldn't really be much of differences to outsiders.
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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #53 on: February 10, 2019, 03:33:11 PM »
While people may claim that Northern Europe was isolated, that is not what I claim. I'm saying that there is a culture that has thousands of years of fairly continuous cultural evolution. Normal cross-cultural interactions were minor influences from trade or major transformations from conquest.

Christianization was a very major event in history in this part of the world. And the Nordic countries were all part of the major European wars, for example the 30 Years War and had allies and enemies in Continental Europe, and they even had some minor colonies in the New World and Africa and elsewhere, so they were part of the colonial enterprise along with the rest of Europe, though these colonies were small and mostly shortlived. For example there is New Sweden, the Swedish Gold Coast, Saint Barthélemy, the Danish Gold Coast, and the Danish West Indies.

Really, it seems hard to think that the Nordic countries were any more isolated than the rest of Western Europe.

That is the global norm, and in the last few centuries borders were defined around those cultural groups (in Europe, at least).

I think the nation-state is fairly recent, relatively speaking. For example, the Austro-Hungarian Empire had many different nationalities and religions among their subjects. Spain is still a country with local languages and cultural traditions, despite having been one country for centuries. The Ottoman Empire was also heterogenous.

I suspect the reason you never think about what it means to be Swedish is a direct result of being part of a dominant monoculture. Most people don't think about what it means to be part of their in-group at all, but especially if their group is dominant. I bet it's really easy for you to point out what not-Swedish looks like though - as you did with Norwegians. (That is part of privilege. Not [category] privilege. Just privilege. It is really hard to see from the inside.)

It's not just that. I mean, I am not a nationalist. I think that while the background of a person can certainly be interesting and important, it is much more interesting and important to know what values and views a person has. The former can't be chosen, the latter can.

If anyone think I am wrong in my estimation, then please tell that, and explain why.

The family is my daughter's aunts, uncles, cousins, grandparents, etc., mostly in Oslo, Brekstad, and Stokkøya.

Hmm, apart from Oslo then, sparsely populated places. Maybe it's a reason. I don't know. But as I wrote before, Norway is more nationalistic, or culturally conservative, probably for historical reasons, compared to us, so it might be a reason.
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Offline daniel1948

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #54 on: February 10, 2019, 04:27:49 PM »
My point was merely that most people in the U.S. see Canada as being just like us, while most Canadians are offended by the idea. And there are very real and significant differences even though we share a cultural background.

What people are offended by is irrelevant to the truth of anything.

And yes, they are not copies. But on a global measure in comparison to many other countries, they are closely aligned when it comes to societal values.

Both supporters and detractors seem to view the US as very uniquely different compared to all other countries. But various surveys of societal values across the world don't support that notion.

See also the below chart. The US and Canada are close to each other, as are the other English-speaking countries.



Cool graphic. Thanks for that. While the U.S. and Canada are closer to each other than they are to many distant parts of the world, the graphic places them pretty far apart to my eye.

There is certainly a distance between them, but compared to the world as a whole, they are pretty close to each other.

This probably is more obvious if you live in it, compared to if you are not. I could point to many differences between Norway and Sweden, but they wouldn't really be much of differences to outsiders.

Canadians see the differences and feel strongly about them. U.S.-ers don’t. That’s a generalization, but it’s a fairly reliable one. I see the differences because I’ve spent so many summers there, but I’m sure I don’t see as many or as significant differences as Canadians see.

As you say, compared to the world as a whole, we have many similarities. And yet we are very different. To someone in Siberia, I am sure North Kihei and South Kihei (in Maui, Hawaii) would seem identical. And yet to me, they have decidedly different character.
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Offline jt512

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #55 on: February 10, 2019, 04:48:47 PM »
Can anyone knowledgeable summarize what Canadians think about the US?  I grew up in Detroit, so I had frequent interactions with Canadians, but that was decades ago. I‘m wondering what the current perception is?


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Offline daniel1948

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #56 on: February 10, 2019, 07:03:37 PM »
Canada rightly prides itself on being a multicultural nation, as contrasted to the U.S. “melting pot.” Therefore I’m sure there are many different views of U.S.-ers among Canadians.

My recent experience of Canada and Canadians is from hiking in southeastern British Columbia for the past dozen years or so. The Canadians I encounter generally like U.S.-ers while being disgusted with the baboon in the White House and the ridiculous electoral college system that so often gives the office to the person rejected by the voters.

(I generally try to avoid using the word “American” to refer to a citizen of the U.S. since the North American continent includes Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S., and the Central and South American continents include a bunch of other countries as well. Mexicans have a suitable word, “Estadounidense,” though they seldom use it, “Americano” being more common.)
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Offline brilligtove

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #57 on: February 10, 2019, 11:11:22 PM »
Quetz, it seems we mostly agree on this part of the conversation: Northern Europe was not isolated, had a strong and relatively continuous cultural development, and drew nation-lines around bits in the last few centuries.

On the rural/urban thing in Norway - all of them are disgusted by the French approach to Muslim immigration. I mean, after drinking a bunch at a party I had rural Norwegians quite angrily loud about the way the French put their muslims in slums, and so on. Also, "why is Mohammad such a popular name here now?" Cognitive dissonance is still running strong - but from what I've seen they are making some progress.

There is certainly a distance between them, but compared to the world as a whole, they are pretty close to each other.

As a Swede at the very top right of the map it may be hard to get a sense of what it's like in the mushy middle. The relative difference between Canada and the US is the same as Uruguay and Croatia on that diagram. This makes me think the axis chosen should not be linear. I think the apparently large space between Sweden and Norway is magnified, and the apparently small space between Vietnam and Portugal is compressed. I feel like it should be plotted on an inverse-logarithmic scale, where the first step on the X and Y axis is halved for the next step, and so on. Visually, that would put Canada and the US much closer together, and places like South Africa and India much further apart.

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Offline Quetzalcoatl

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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #58 on: February 12, 2019, 03:09:38 PM »
Canada rightly prides itself on being a multicultural nation, as contrasted to the U.S. “melting pot.” Therefore I’m sure there are many different views of U.S.-ers among Canadians.

My recent experience of Canada and Canadians is from hiking in southeastern British Columbia for the past dozen years or so. The Canadians I encounter generally like U.S.-ers while being disgusted with the baboon in the White House and the ridiculous electoral college system that so often gives the office to the person rejected by the voters.

(I generally try to avoid using the word “American” to refer to a citizen of the U.S. since the North American continent includes Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S., and the Central and South American continents include a bunch of other countries as well. Mexicans have a suitable word, “Estadounidense,” though they seldom use it, “Americano” being more common.)

If I may ask, what is the difference between "multicultural" and "melting pot", both in theory and in practice? To my eyes at least, both the US and Canada are two countries that have succeeded well in integration of immigrants, at least compared to many European countries. And I think the general view over here is that both the US and Canada are much better than us at doing so.

Please correct me if I'm wrong, as always. But from what I know and have read, it seems to be the case.
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Re: "Canada ranked #1 country in the world for Quality of Life"
« Reply #59 on: February 12, 2019, 03:15:55 PM »
Well, there's a different model for success for the two countries (whether either one actually meets the model is a different discussion).

The US model is that immigrants are welcomed, and in a generation or two turn into Americans.

The Canadian model is that immigrants are welcomed, and the equilibrium between all the various immigrants and all the previous Canadians is constantly shifting to a new definition of what "Canadian" means.  They change some, the rest of us change some (just by relative size they change more than we do), and a new normal is attained.

Like I said, it is very much up for debate whether this actually happens, or how successfully, but that's sort of what the target is.

It's kind of like two bell curves, with the same mean, but one is wider than the other.
« Last Edit: February 12, 2019, 03:18:09 PM by amysrevenge »
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