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    Scintillating sayings about Canada and the U.S. elephant

    The mouse and elephant metaphor, coined by Prime Minister Pierre Elliott Trudeau, is probably the best-known quotation about the relationship between the two countries that share most of North America, but others have made some pretty sharp observations as well.

    MISSIONARY POSITION. Canada as a separate but dominated country has done as well under the U.S. as women, worldwide, have done under men; about the only position they’ve ever adopted toward us, country to country, has been the missionary position, and we were not on the top. Margaret Atwood (1939- ), Quoted in If You Love this Country: Facts and Feelings on Free Trade 1987).

    LIVING NEXT TO YOU [the United States] is in some ways like sleeping with an elephant; no matter how friendly and even-tempered is the beast, if I may call it that, one is affected by every twitch and grunt. Even a friendly nuzzling can sometimes lead to frightening consequences. Pierre Trudeau (1919-2000). Speech, Washington, May 25, 1969.

    CANADA is a very nice place, and we intend to keep it that way. John Pierpont Morgan (1837-1913), U.S. financier. Quoted  by Andrew Malcolm in The Canadians (1985).

    OUR FRIEND. The United States is our friend whether we like it or not. Robert Norman Thompson (1914-97), leader of the Social Credit Party 1961-67. House of Commons, Debates, January 31, 1963.

    WHAT CLINTON KNOWS. Whatever President Clinton knows about Canada, he learned from reading his briefing papers the night before. Gordon Ritchie, Canadian public servant and trade official. Maclean’s, February 15, 1993.

    IF AMERICANS ACQUIRE, Canadians use. Americans mythologize, Canadians pragmatize. Americans celebrate hubris, Canadian celebrate tenacity. Advertising executive Fritz Kuhn, senior vice-president, Leo Burnet Company, Toronto. Canadian Speeches, June 1998.

    WE LIKE THE AMERICANS we know, but we do not like the United States.  Anonymous.  Quoted in Canada and her Great Neighbor, ed. H.F. Angus (1938).

    AMERICANS don’t even know we’re a sovereign country here. They think we’re a Guatemala or something. Alvin Hamilton (1912-2004 ), Canadian Conservative politician.  March 6, 1963.

    IF EVER A CANADIAN wants to go to a better place all he has to do is come down to this country. But if an American wants to go to a better place, he has to die first. Anonymous.  Quoted by J. R. Kidd in a speech, Buffalo, November 5, 1959.

    I HAVE NO FEAR that the people of Upper Canada would ever desire to become the fag-end of the neighbouring republic. George Brown (1818-80), Scottish born newspaper publisher and politician. November 10, 1859, at Reform Convention, Toronto.

    WHILE AMERICANS are benevolently ignorant about Canada, most Canadians seem malevolently informed about the United States. Merrill Denison (1893-1975), Canadian playwright, author and historian. Saturday Review, June 7, 1952. Canada,United States,Margaret Atwood,Pierre Trudeau,Bill Clinton

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