Canada is a mouse sleeping with an elephant: That’s how former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau once described his country’s relationship with the United States.
“No matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast … one is affected by every twitch and grunt,” Trudeau the elder said.
Right now, Canada is feeling those twitches.
According to a recent study by YouGov, 22 percent of Canadians view the United States as unfriendly (18%) or an enemy (4%), while 68 percent view it as a friend (29%) or ally (39%).
Canadian women (27%) are especially likely to view the United States as unfriendly or an enemy compared to Canadian men (18%).
Contentious free-trade negotiations, less-than-warm interactions between Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Donald Trump, and differing COVID-19 responses may be contributing to Canada’s feelings towards their southern neighbours.
Americans, however, don’t feel the same way. According to separate trended Economist/YouGov data — which is weighted to be politically representative of the US adults — just seven percent of Americans view Canada as unfriendly (5%) or an enemy (2%), while the vast majority (85%) view Canada as friendly (32%) or an ally (53%).
This coming July 1 will be the first Canada Day the first ever the country’s border with the United States will be closed to regular movement. The two countries, longstanding allies and trading partners, agreed on the border closure back in March 2020 to help stem the tide of COVID-19.
Canadians are more likely to see France (86%), the United Kingdom (86%), Mexico (79%), Germany (77%) and Japan (73%) to be friends or allies than the US. Canadians are less likely to have warm feelings towards South Korea (60%), Isreal (52%), Russia (30%), Iran (16%), North Korea (12%) and China (34%).
Canada’s diplomatic ties with China have been fraying since the arrest of Huawei Technologies executive Meng Wanzhou on an extradition warrant from the United States. Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor were arrested by Chinese officials days later and have been in jail ever since, accused of breaking national-security laws.
A third (33%) view China as unfriendly, while 13 percent view it as an enemy. A third of Canadians view the country as either friendly (29%) or an ally (5%).