They hate us, they really hate us

It used to be that Americans were welcomed around the world but thanks to Trump’s utter incompetence in dealing with the pandemic, even neighboring Canadians, notorious for their politeness, are angrily telling Americans that they are not wanted there.

And as the pandemic has continued to spread across the US, so have tensions between American drivers and Canadian residents.

While non-essential travel is forbidden, commercial drivers delivering goods and people who work across the border in essential services are permitted to cross.

People with American licence plates have reported being harassed and having their vehicles vandalised, even if they have every right to be on the Canadian side.

Mr Saunders, an immigration lawyer who has many clients who cross the border regularly in order to work, says many people are afraid.

“They’re all scared of driving their cars in the lower mainland because of vandalism, dirty looks and just getting treated as some ‘horrible American’,” he told the BBC.

One of his clients, an architect who was allowed to practise in Canada during the shutdown, says he was told to “go back home” because of his car.

Ontario Provincial Police say a Canadian in the town of Huntsville filed a complaint after two men allegedly accosted him over his Florida licence plate.

“Most recently this weekend, there was a gentleman up towards Huntsville getting gas in his vehicle, and two gentlemen approached him and said, ‘you’re American go home.’ And he said, ‘I’m Canadian. I live here.’ And they literally said, no, we don’t believe you show us your passport,” Phil Harding, the mayor of nearby Kuskoka Lakes, told CP24.

“It just becomes a little bit aggressive, and they fear for their lives a little bit.”

Well done, Donald! You have succeeded in making even Canadians rude towards Americans.


  1. Matt G says

    I spent a year in West Germany when I finished high school (‘85/‘86). Even then, Americans telling people they were Canadian was a thing.

  2. says

    Yeah, but back then people just thought US Americans were arrogant idiots lacking basic education (and no American I ever met abroad did anything to change that perception), but now people think you are plague fascists.

  3. sonofrojblake says

    people just thought US Americans were arrogant idiots lacking basic education (and no American I ever met abroad did anything to change that perception

    What’s even more staggering about this is that those arrogant, uneducated idiots not changing the perception were the best the nation had to offer, part of the about 16% who’ve even got a passport at all. If the people with the wit to travel are that bad, imagine what the overwhelming majority must be like.

    now people think you are arrogant, uneducated idiot plague fascists


  4. springa73 says

    Looks like xenophobia is a thing everywhere.

    Being nasty to people because you don’t like the policies of the government of the country they happen to be from is inexcusable bullsh*t.

  5. sonofrojblake says

    Well yes, if it’s government policy you disagree with, that’s true. That’s the same wheeze some Jews and others use to paint any comment on the policies of Israel as anti-Semitism.

    Whereas being nasty to people because they’re from the country with the flat-out worst infection rate in the world, and at a time when they should be staying home they’re out and about without a mask during a literal lethal pandemic is…?

  6. sonofrojblake says

    Analogy: being scared of spiders in the UK is a phobia -- an irrational fear. You won’t come to much if any harm from a spider in the UK.
    Being scared of spiders in Australia is just common sense and a good way to not get killed.
    “Xenophobia” is an irrational fear and to be discouraged. I don’t see xenophobia here.

  7. springa73 says

    … Bigotry.

    People from countries that are suffering disproportionately from a pandemic should be pitied and helped, not shunned. The only reason to treat them badly is if you have pre existing prejudice.

  8. springa73 says

    I don’t see anything indicating that the Americans who are being harassed are in Canada illegally or aren’t taking proper Covid precautions.

  9. says

    This isn’t xenophobia. This is a result of murricans lying: “we’re transiting to alaska!” with zero intention of doing so. Multiple violators have been caught, so now “transiting” drivers have a time limit and face up to a C$75,000 fine if they break it.

    Canadian media isn’t like the US media (i.e. you might actually hear facts, and hear about what goes on in other countries) so people are aware of what’s going on in 1812 losing side. Canadians know many murricans say “hoax” and “freedumb”. Wanting to keep out the selfish and ignorant is more than reasonable.

    If those in the low(er) 48 want to go to alaska, they can fly there. The border should be completely closed to non-essential traffic.

  10. springa73 says

    A policy of closing the border to most traffic is sensible under the circumstances. Harassing individuals who are following all the rules is just bigotry.

  11. Jean says

    It’s not bigotry it’s self-preservation. It may be too aggressive but when you see the behaviour of a significant proportion of the US population, I find it understandable if not justified.

  12. Allison says

    I haven’t gone outside the US in a few years, but I never had much trouble with anti-Americanism when I went to Europe. Most of the people I met had no trouble distinguishing between me and the policies of the government that supposedly represents me.

    FWIW, I generally tried to learn something of the language wherever I went, at least if I was going to be there for more than a day or so, and would at least start off trying to speak to people in the local language (well, the national language — I never tried to speak Bavarian, even in Munich.) Even when the other person would give up and ask me to speak English, I had the impression that it mattered a lot that I tried.

    Aside from the measures imposed in the hopes of not catching our epidemic, I can’t help wonder how much of the hostility visitors from the US get is due to how they act. I didn’t seek out contact with USA-ans abroad, but I could frequently hear them — for some reason, USA-ans’ voices seem a lot louder than the people around them. I’ve found pretty much everywhere that how people respond to you mostly comes from how you treat them. (As for the rest: there are jerks everywhere.)

  13. jrkrideau says

    @ 9 Intransitive
    I live in Eastern Ontario. I noticed an Alaskan licence plate today and wondered it it was a wandering US “tourist” who missed the turn to Washington state. I told myself not to be silly but is the first time I ever remember seeing an Alaskan plate. I wonder if the police might be checking them?

    I had a visceral reaction to a New York licence plate a couple of weeks ago til I told myself it is probably just someone who has not had a chance to change plates or perhaps a US soldier on secondment.

    The border should be completely closed to non-essential traffic.

    Here, here. Besides I think there is a ferry from Seattle.

  14. jrkrideau says

    @ 11 springa73
    Harassing individuals who are following all the rules is just bigotry.

    The problem comes from the fact a small but noticeable number of American, motorists and boaters are not following the rules. They are flagrantly flaunting the rules and annoying the hell out of the locals thus the spill-over.

  15. Who Cares says

    The problem is that a few to many US citizens ignore the rules imposed on them due to COVID-19 when outside the US. Add in the idiots in the US screaming HOAX! making the news twice an hour. The result is an image of a country filled with people actively trying to get infected and trying to infect others. And the resultant adverse reaction of the general public that doesn’t want to get infected.

    And it is bad enough that there are two major groups out here wearing masks in public (even though it isn’t mandatory, yet). One are the Asians, the other US citizens. First group was/is easy to recognize, second I found out by accident by talking to some of the people the local tech companies have imported. They feel the need to make it clear that they are not in the group of US idiots by going above and beyond what is considered needed by our version of the CDC to contain the virus.

  16. mailliw says

    I don’t hate US Americans. You have a terrible government -- but unlike some other countries -- you have the possibility of changing that in November.

    I am really missing the incredible US musicians who won’t be playing live for us this year.

    The US musicians who have played in the jazz club here in Munich have been unfailingly liberal in their politics. Guitarist Jeff Parker dedicated a tune to the president -- title “Go Away”. Also a special mention to David Krakauer -- we need some more radical funk-klezmer crossover and we need it soon!

    There are Covidioten who ignore the mask and social distancing rules in Germany too.

  17. blf says

    I’m a dual-national living in France. One passport is USAlien, and the other another European country (not France), and I’ve also lived in yet other European countries. For assorted reasons, I speak with a “N.American”-ish accent peppered with idioms I’ve picked up from the various places I’ve live. My accent alone (ignoring the “foreign” idioms) is apparently hard to place — USAliens tend to guess “British”, Brits “Canadian”, Canadians are politely confused, and the French cringe at my Français (so do I!).

    At the moment, the only explicit anti-USAlienism directed at me that I can recall were a few incidents in England. (There have been some distinctly unfriendly remarks about my Français.) On the flip side, as others have noted, people seem to usually distinguish between the antics of the federal “government” and me as a person.

    Perhaps in part because I’ve been living in this village for yonks now (and the French generally like USAliens anyway (despite the borish behaviour mentioned by others, which I do agree seems to stand out for some reason — not just the voices / volume — despite the States not having a monopoly on jerks)), there is no hostility (directed at me) that I’ve noticed. Even the comments about my Français aren’t overtly hostile, despite a few being rather crude and rude.

  18. mnb0 says

    @17 mailliw: “You have a terrible government — but unlike some other countries — you have the possibility of changing that in November.”
    No, they don’t have that possibility. They have the possibility of changing a terrible government into a somewhat less terrible government.

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