Last week, the Toronto Globe and Mail reported that Conservative leader Andrew Scheer is a dual citizen of both the United States and Canada. Scheer’s father, James, was an American who emigrated to Canada. Scheer’s office stated that Scheer intended to give up his American citizenship when he became Conservative leader, in May 2017. He didn’t. But, apparently, he did submit the paperwork in August of this year and it is currently in process with the American government.
I cannot freaking stand Andrew Scheer. He is another cut and paste conservative post-truth politician. He continually lies, manipulates the truth and whines endlessly about the Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau. He has no actual policy for the 43rd general election in Canada, on 21 October. It’s just endless negativity. To be fair, I wouldn’t like Scheer if he weren’t all this, as I despise the Conservative Party of Canada, which was our government from 2006-2015. During the reign of then Prime Minister Stephen Harper, the Conservatives attempted to turn back time in Canada, back to the 1950s.
But. This idea that Scheer’s American citizenship matters? Frankly, it doesn’t. But this is a perfect opportunity for social media warriors to go on the offensive (and, again, few things in Canada are as offensive as Scheer and the CPC) and attack, mock, and denigrate Scheer for his American citizenship. It’s got to the point where my Twitter feed is awash with Canadian progressives, lefties, and liberals all mocking Scheer, and using this as a means to attack him (as opposed to, say, the lie that he was going to renounce the citizenship in 2017). It’s got to the point where the BBC is asking ‘Could An American be Canada’s next prime minister?’ For real.
This is, quite simply, Canadian anti-Americanism coming to the fore again. Back in the 1990s, the Canadian Football League, our venerable 3-down football league, asked in an ad, ‘WHAT’S THE DEFINITION OF CANADIAN? NOT AMERICAN!’ This, despite the fact around half of the players in the league are American. But this is the nature of Canadian anti-Americanism. It’s puerile and childish. It’s also knee-jerk. It manifests in my friends back home asking me how I can live in the US. It manifests in my wife, who is American, being yelled at by Canadians for actions of the US government in Montréal. And it manifests in the basic idea that if it’s American, it must be bad.
There is something very sad and depressing about a segment of the Canadian population identifying what makes Canada a unique and sovereign nation is simply the fact that we’re not the United States. Canada is a lot more than just a negative space in response to the US. It is a generally tolerant place, it is welcoming, and it is a gentler place than most. We have universal healthcare. Our beer is good. Our mountains are high, and our forests are vast. We own 25% of of the world’s fresh water. And we invented hockey. Do I need to say more?
Surely, in 2019, we can do something more than just draw out the tired, old tropes of anti-Americanism in this election?