Four out of 10 Americans support annexing Canada, poll suggests Yahoo

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Four out of 10 Americans support annexing Canada, poll suggests
Yahoo ^ | Sunday October 13, 2002 | MICHELLE MACAFEE 

Should Canada become the 51st American state? Four out of 10 Americans answered "sure" in a recent poll conducted by Leger Marketing of Montreal.

While 38 per cent of respondents said they would be "in favor of Canada being annexed to the United States," 49 per cent disagreed. Another 13 per cent said they did not know or refused to answer.

But those who follow Canada-U.S. relations closely said Canadians should not panic.

"I wouldn't worry about the army coming," said Christopher Sands, director of the Canada Project for the Center for Strategic and International Studies in Washington, D.C.

"I don't think there's any manifest-destiny thinking much in the United States anymore. People don't want to just acquire territory."

Sands said he was somewhat puzzled by the "high minority" of Americans who said Canada should be annexed. However, he speculated the responses were an indication of goodwill and welcome towards Canadians should the government ever decide on its own that it wants to join the United States.

Canadians are no longer the strangers to Americans they once were, added Sands. So Americans are now more accepting of the cultural and political differences between the two countries than they were in the past and they aren't in a rush to launch a takeover of their neighbors to the north.

Harold Waller, who teaches U.S. politics at McGill University in Montreal, said Canadians should view the poll result as more of a curiosity than a real window on how Americans see us.

"I doubt if the average American knows enough about Canada to make a reasoned assessment, what the pros and cons might be," said Waller. "There's really an abysmal level of ignorance about Canada in the United States so I don't know what conclusions you can reach."

Waller said Americans likely didn't express overwhelming enthusiasm for annexation because they didn't see any obvious advantage to them.

From a historical perspective, there hasn't been a real push by Americans for annexation since the 19th century, he added.

Leger interviewed 1,000 Americans between Sept. 19 and Sept. 29 for the poll provided to The Canadian Press. The margin of error is plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

Leger also compared these results to a similar survey of 1,508 Canadians in early September 2001.

On the question of annexation by the United States, 19.9 per cent of Canadians said at that time that they would be in favor, while 76.5 per cent rejected the proposition. Another 3.6 per cent said they didn't know or refused to answer.

For this year's survey, the pollsters also asked Americans if they would be "in favor of Canada adopting the U.S. dollar as its national currency."

Fifty-eight per cent of respondents said "yes," while 28 per cent said "no" and 15 per cent said they didn't know or refused to answer.

In last year's poll, 39.9 per cent of Canadians said they'd be in favor of the switch, while 55.1 per cent were opposed and five per cent said they didn't know or refused to answer.

Sands said the wording of that question could have been interpreted by Americans as Canadians asking for permission to adopt the U.S. dollar after already deciding it was the best move for Canada.

"I'm sure the average American doesn't think, 'Gee those low Canadian dollars give them an export advantage,'" said Sands. "I don't think it's about imposition. I think it's about 'Well, yeah, we don't mind.'"

Waller said it wouldn't make a difference to the average American if Canada started using the U.S. dollar, noting Panama already uses the currency.

"I can't imagine the average American having a clue about the Canadian dollar, or what it means, or what its value is, or how it fluctuates."

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