(Courtesy of blogspot.com)
I chose to look at how Americans and Canadians perceive one another, how the general values are different, how the university systems are different between the two countries, how both the health-care and welfare systems differ, and how the federal governments are different.
I wont bore you with all the minor details, but I will point out the main facts that I assessed in my comparison.
According to our class text, Canadians perceive Americans to be both fat and amazing at the same time. Living among Canadians an American may receive some prejudice for unrelated American problems. Canadians view their powerful southern neighbors to be extreme in most aspects, where as they see themselves as moderates. Americans on the other hand, generally don't think at all about Canadians. On the fringe of America's mind, Canada is simply thought of as a Winter wonderland filled with french lumberjacks and maple syrup.
The general values of each countries are noticeably different. Americans tend to be more conservative, while Canadians are more liberal. While a minority opinion in both countries, 10% more Americans believe both that men are superior than women in all cases, and non-white immigrants are ruining the quality of their nation.
The university systems in Canada are unlike the commercialized and nationally famous universities in America. Instead they are all the same cookie-cutter public universities that provide no real incentive to choose one over the other. In America the universities are filled with frats and fun; an environment for people to move away from home and experience new things while learning social skills. In Canada they are apparently continuations of High Schools (That cost much much less than American colleges).
As for health-care and welfare, the author indicated that Americans care much less for their indignant and less-fortunate. We all know about universal health-care and all, (I definitely wont be dealing with this as a simple paragraph in one blog entry -- If I talk about it, it's going to be an entire post) So I wont be going into that much more. Essentially it was observed that Canadians love the poor and Americans love to line their pockets with the tears of those less fortunate.
As for the federal governments, the book merely noted that irony in both of the nation's current power systems. Both countries initially set out to be the opposite of what they are now. The US wanted strong states and a weak federal government, where as the Canadians wanted a strong fed and weak provinces. Unfortunately for the respective founding fathers, neither ended up how they wanted.
As you can probably tell from the change in my demeanor on the seriousness during this post, I felt the analysis provided by this book was a bit one sided. I wasn't entirely upset, nor did I start to wave my American flag around my living room. I simply noticed how a Canadian author was offering backhanded compliments or faux compliment sandwiches to point out the presumed failures of the American government. I recommend this book as an interesting understanding of a Canadian's perspective on comparative politics, but I suggest its contents be taken with a grain of salt.