They’d be insufferable if they weren’t so nice


An international survey has found that Canada is the country with the best reputation in the world, out of 55. The US is…22nd. I can’t imagine why.

Well, maybe I can. I suspect that having a high standard of living isn’t so impressive when everyone can see we’re busily demolishing its foundation, and that we use our wealth to bully the world.

Also, when they surveyed Americans on what is the most admirable country in the world, we ranked ourselves at #6 — and we probably got that high in our own estimation largely because of the blinkered fanatics who bleat about American exceptionalism all the time, and are our own major obstacle to actually correcting our flaws.


  1. specialffrog says

    I can’t help but think that our Prime Minister will be disappointed with that survey. He’s tried to hard to ruin Canada’s international reputation and it apparently isn’t working.

  2. tulse says

    It’s all the more impressive that we do so well even with the handicap of Harper as PM.

  3. Usernames! (ᵔᴥᵔ) says

    we use our wealth military to bully the world


    Also, we talk out our ass about freedom and laws, yet—like shit-flinging simians—continue to run our unlawful Cuban Torture Dungeon, bomb innocent people and hoggle SO HARD over our desire to attack other countries just because.

  4. Snoof says

    Usernames @3:

    The US is perfectly capable of bullying without actually bringing military action into it. Just ask any of its “trade partners”.

  5. says

    I feel this odd compulsion to clear my throat loudly, in such a fashion that it sounds something like ‘bitumen’ and then ‘residential schools’. But maybe this, too, is just very Canadian of me or something.

    Re Harper, meh. Does it buy us anything much that he’s never actually won the popular vote, and has generally benefited from a rather divided spectrum of opposition to his left? ‘Course, there’s an awful lot of room to his left… And it’s fairly typical for first past the post systems with as many parties, this tendency. And I’m not sure how much it really gets us when nearly 40% of voters did give him the nod, last time.

    (/Yeah, I really do dislike him, and only the more, the more we’ve got to know him. Control freak, blandly dismissive of and destructive to democratic practice, something of a shill for big bitumen, clear fondness for muzzling/dismissing/discouraging research that’s at all contrary to his immediate political purposes, I could go on. I’ll miss him about as much as smallpox, should I actually outlive his reign, but right now am only hoping enough of those 40% have begun to regret their previous decision sufficiently to elect someone at least a little less retrograde.)

  6. Larry says


    1) Doesn’t start wars based upon multiple lies
    2) Terrance and Philip
    3) Pretty damn good maple syrup
    4) Beavers on currency

  7. congenital cynic says

    I have to echo my compatriots who have expressed shame over our PM Harper. I hope we see the end of him in the coming fall election. He’s done more to damage this country than any PM or government in the history of the country. He’s been a brilliant – if misguided – strategist. Incrementally dismantling environmental protections, publicly funded science, collection of census data on which to ground sound public policy decisions, etc., etc.. He’s a hard core ideologically driven fundamentalist xtian (even put a YEC in the position of minister of science and technology) who knows that he can’t take huge steps without inciting a negative response (majority of the population doesn’t support him), but has executed his incrementalist agenda with little resistance. But I think the populace is tired of this now, and will finally get on board to toss him out this time around.

    And beavers. Ya gotta love beavers.

  8. HappyHead says

    Another Canadian ashamed of Harper here – my own work has suffered directly from his de-funding of science, research, and education across the country, and I have to turn off the radio to stop snarling every time the conservative party starts playing their attack-ads where they make up stuff about the liberals based on partial sound-bytes. Our conservative party REALLY wants to be the Republicans of the north, but when they tried to pass their “It’s okay to lie blatantly on TV and call it news!” bill, they fortunately got shut down. (And actually had the gall to complain that it would interfere with their ability to campaign for office!)

    Still, they keep trying…

  9. birgerjohansson says

    Denmark and Finland deserve better ratings. Note that Finland is rated below Australia.
    I know the finns have a reputation for getting plastered and pugnacious, and they have black flies in summer, but they have zero crocodiles! Surely that is worth something?
    (I am pretty sure they have beavers, but the bears are puny compared to grizzlies)

  10. nomadiq says

    So Australia ranked number one in self image. No surprise there. We still think we are the “lucky country” and we somehow deserve it. Why? No one really bothers to ask.

    To quote the Boonies:

    “This country is fucked! But it’s the best country in the world!!!”

  11. says

    Gilliel re Oka, yeah, that too…

    (/… and see also Ipperwash, if you haven’t already. And substance abuse levels in northern/isolated communities. The residential schools are (thankfully) gone, but funding of education has been widely identified as pretty awful among exactly the same demographic, to this day. Etc.)

  12. sambarge says

    I wish, as a Canadian, that I could take some pride in this but I take it as evidence that the world isn’t paying attention to what my country has been doing. I’d also love to blame Harper (he’s certainly made it worse) but it pre-dates him.*

    *Although getting rid of his government in October is a good idea, the fact that so many people are relying on the Liberals, as if the NDP weren’t the Official Opposition or something, is disheartening. The Liberals are equally guilty for the oppressive government policies that led to things like the Indian Residential Schools program.

  13. ck, the Irate Lump says

    Northern and isolated communities also tend to be lacking important things like clean running water, and reliable power. Most of theses communities are First Nations communities, which is often why the conditions were never improved or allowed to degrade.

  14. says

    I wonder what the dead and missing First Nations women think of Canada’s placing.

    Especially with Harper refusing to be a complete fucking asshole over the issue.

    Yet, in the very words of the prime minister: “… it isn’t really high on our radar, to be honest.”

    And when he weakly tried to defend the efforts of his government, the Harper distinctly removed himself completely from the equation.

    “Our ministers will continue to dialogue with those who are concerned about this,” he said.

    The prime minister continually says his government is making new laws, taking action and wants to ensure everyone is afforded the same protections.

    Yet there is no evidence whatsoever that these new laws (applicable only to First Nations on reserve) have made any difference in the face of this crisis.

    The Conservative government seems to be committed to making Canadians believe the violence is attributed only to First Nation men, on reserves. Minister of Aboriginal Affairs Bernard Valcourt recently made a comment in this regard, but in doing so, put his finger squarely on the problem.

    “Obviously, there’s a lack of respect for women and girls on reserves,” he said. “So you know, if the guys grow up believing that women have no rights, that is how they are treated.”

    The next election can’t come fast enough.

  15. says

    sambarge @14

    *Although getting rid of his government in October is a good idea, the fact that so many people are relying on the Liberals, as if the NDP weren’t the Official Opposition or something, is disheartening. The Liberals are equally guilty for the oppressive government policies that led to things like the Indian Residential Schools program.

    I’m not voting Liberal because Trudeau has proven to be too far to the right for my taste on many issues and I suspect he’ll be just like Obama when it comes to security vs. privacy and decency, but blaming any current party for the residential schools is – to put it bluntly – bullshit. It’s exactly like the Republicans who like to claim Lincoln and are trying to foist racism today on the Democrats because of their pre-civil rights days.

  16. ceesays says

    I’m actually pissed off that Canada rated so high. We absolutely do NOT deserve it.

    I’m actually not going to declare a party alignment. I live in Alberta and this is a region where it makes sense to vote strategically. I despise my MP – he is a do-nothing backbencher who has served for decades and he sends the most asinine flyers about how great he is. a Mailbox would be better.

    I agree that we cannot foist the blame on any one political party for the multiple systems of genocide enacted against First Nations people. There is no way to other that particular monster. Everyone was a part of it. But I would surely like to know who is staunchly supporting the rights of First Nations people and listening to them, and I want a serious, this really matters investigation into the literal thousands of missing and murdered First Nations women across Canada.

    We have a chance to pull ourselves back from the brink but it depends heavily on this upcoming federal election – and glowing reports on the Alberta Government. If Canada’s wealthiest province is seen as “still prosperous” under an NDP government, that will swing many, many votes.

  17. sambarge says

    I’m not blaming any current party for the Residential Schools, but I’m not forgetting what parties were in power when they were being funded by Canadian tax dollars. I’m not forgetting that the Liberal Party was in power for the majority of the 20th century and, if you want to track how parties have changed, are more right-wing now than they were 40 yrs ago. When I vote, I can rely on what the parties say they are going to do and what they’ve done in the past – like the way the Liberals run from the left but rule from the right. I’m not forgetting one of those very important sources of information.

    But thanks for the warning. I’ll make sure I contextualize their historic actions. Good thing I got that graduate degree in Canadian History. I might be able to pull that off.

  18. says

    Sambarge, I will bow to your superior knowledge of Canadian history. My point had nothing to do with that. My point is that to blame any party today for the actions of that party 40 years ago is ridiculous, and I’m sure even someone with a graduate degree in Canadian history can see that. It’s the same party that brought marriage equality to Canada and refused to get involved in Bush’s folly in Iraq, both much more recent history.

  19. ceesays says

    I hope that voters refuse to be taken in by the antics of the Liberal Party. they’re no better than the tories these days. I hope people are paying attention.

  20. frog says

    I hate to be That Asshole, and maybe it’s because I can’t figure out which scripts to let through on the website PZ linked to, but I can’t find the list he is referencing. All I’m getting is an article about Canada in particular. I would like to see the complete list, and Google isn’t finding it either. Can someone help and post a direct link to the list? Thank you.

  21. says

    Russia had the largest gap between their self-image and how they are perceived by other nations. Russian citizens scored their country as the third-most reputable country in the world, but other nations ranked them 52nd out of 55 countries, ahead of only Pakistan, Iran, and Iraq.


    Every day I find myself thanking my lucky stars that I don’t live in that festering sewer of a country anymore. And the Supreme Soviet for yanking my citizenship for “treason” when I was 12; had I still been Russian, I’d be embarrassed to show my face in public.

  22. shala says

    Our reputation is so good that two local social assistance offices told me to essentially fuck off, in two different counties.

    Our reputation is so good that I am poor-shamed by even the police for not owning a telephone or cell phone. By the police.

    Our reputation is so good that my mother, who had cancer 3 times in her life and died from it, received no disability from the Canadian government despite being mentally impaired as well. Our reputation is so good that when I attempted to raise funds after the fact to support my family after the death, I raised a whole $20.

    Our reputation is so good that when my former landlord bullied me out of my damage deposit, I was free to go fuck myself as you need to pay a board to investigate rent injustices because capitalism.

    Our reputation is so good that aboriginals in Canada are, by almost every indicator, treated worse than African-American citizens. Try even contemplating how fucking nightmarish that is after Ferguson and Baltimore. (Source:

    Our reputation is so good that starlight tours in my country have happened even recently. Our reputation is so good that you may have just had to google WTF a starlight tour is and how fucking monstrous that is because I can only find examples of it happening in Canada.

    Our reputation is so good that when I even tried to google other problems with Canada to try relying on shit that hasn’t personally happened to myself or associates, all I come up with are joke first world problem lists. Apparently we have no problems here worthy of discussing except internally.

    To top this all off, I am white and male. Despite the above, I get the least amount of bullshit from the government compared to PoC here. Our reputation fucking stinks.

  23. Numenaster says

    I have tried the ketchup-flavored chips, brought by Canadian guests to an Oregon-based convention. They were…nice. But I still prefer Cheez-Its.

  24. Olli Pehkonen says

    The self assessment is only available for some of the countries. USA is 9th in external perception among countries for which there is a self assessment available. Not as stark a contrast as 22 to 6. Still the points differential is massive: 57 to 77. Canada and Australia are the only top12 countries where the survey was conducted.

  25. NitricAcid says

    Judging by the comments here, Canadians certainly aren’t completely blinded by jingoism…

  26. bachfiend says

    Australia ranks number 5. The world can’t be taking any notice of what the current Australian government is doing. Unfortunately with the acquiescence of the population.

  27. Lofty says


    Unfortunately with the acquiescence of the population.

    Well, around half the population. The other half fights on.

  28. Eric O says

    Echoing a few other comments, I too am surprised that we’ve maintained our good reputation after nine years of Harper. Yay, I guess?

  29. congenital cynic says

    To those who have mentioned other Canadian badness, we acknowledge that, it’s just that one doesn’t want to write massive essays in the comments. We are painfully aware of the bad things done pre-Harper, in addition to his multi-faceted scourge. He’s just something we can take care of in October, so the current curse is all top of mind.

    @16 Tabby

    Especially with Harper refusing to be a complete fucking asshole over the issue.

    This issue of missing and murdered aboriginal women is epidemic in this country, and the PM’s refusal to address it is shameful. I’m an older white male and have no idea about sociology, but it’s as clear as a bell to anyone that this is an issue that is unique to this social group. More than 1200 cases in recent years, and our prick of a PM says it doesn’t need to be addressed. He’s in denial about this as much as he is about evolution and climate change. We need him gone, we need a PR or blended PR election system, and we need a lot of the policies of the last nine years reversed.

    The one thing that surprised me last week was that when I watched some of the stuff on Shark Week there was nothing about Harper. Those cold dead eyes on the expressionless face are more frightening than the open maw of a hungry Mako. Chilling.

  30. shouldbeworking says

    As a Canadian, I’m pleased that we placed so high, but I would rate New Zealanders higher than Canadians. I’m currently on holiday in NZ and everywhere I go, the people are friendly, cheerful and helpful (plus forgiving) to someone who is used to driving on the the wrong side of the road.

    And to all my American cousins, sorry about that…

  31. danielag1 says

    Yes we should revive the Rhinoceros Party. One of their candidates was asked if he was for the environment. He said, “No.I’m against the environment. It takes up too much room and costs too much to maintain.” We also have our own version of Fox news in Canada : The Toronto Sun.

  32. Anders Kehlet says

    #9 birgerjohansson – Nope. Denmark does not deserve a better rating. In the last election we handed over power to our local right-wing populist party (i.e. the racists). They got about a fifth of the total vote, making it the second-largest party in the country. ¬_¬

  33. Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened says

    @ Usernames! #3

    Your military is dependant on your wealth. Of the top 10 countries by military expenditure (according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies), the US spends more on it’s military than the other 9 combined (though interestingly, it does not spend the highest % of GDP… that prize goes to our erstwhile allies, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia). Without the wealth, you would not have the military with which to bully people. You bully people directly with your military, indirectly with your wealth.

  34. Menyambal says

    # 41, Anders. Sorry to hear about the racists. This American has always admired Denmark. When I hear other Americans blatting about how America is the best country, I always think, “No, Denmark is.”

    By American standards, though, that isn’t very many racists. And with a multi-party government, they aren’t in control. You see them, and you might be able to stop them.

    Best wishes.

  35. zaledalen says

    I think your media and your fundies and gun fondlers give America a bad rap. Oh, and statistcs. My wife and I did a tour from Minneapolis down through Colorado to New Mexico and back up through your national parks for our honeymoon six years ago. Everywhere we went we were met with friendly pleasant people. Nobody bad mouthed Obama. Even the young Mormon cop who stopped us under the pretext that we were speeding when reallly he wanted to check for importing Canadian drugs was a pleasure to talk to. The Chinese call America “Meiguo”, which translates as “beautiful country”, and it truly is. Full of beautiful, inteligent people with assholes getting all the attention.

    As for Harper, and in addition to dismantling environmental protection, distroying public science archives, and muzzling scientists, if selling our sovereignty out to China (of all countries) with a trade deal that calls for dispute arbitration behind closed doors outside of our borders that we’re locked into for 32 years, doesn’t arouse the ire of the population, there’s no hope for us. Some worry about the left splitting the vote. Fuck that. The only politician we have that I trust is Elizabeth May, so I’m voting Green.

  36. says

    danielag1 @40
    Sun Media. The Toronto Sun is just one of its gross appendages. The Edmonton Sun is another (though one think I enjoy is looking at the front page when I pass it by to see see if it’s actual news or not on any given day).

  37. plainenglish says

    I intend to vote for the Not-Harper party in my region. Which is to say, I do not care if Trudeau wins or not, only that somebody else take the PM chair. Harper is a plague that must be eradicated.