In a lot of ways, nations are like people. They embody many of our best qualities--access to a wealth of resources specific to themselves, the twitchy compulsion to use those resources in new and unfathomable ways and a relentless drive to find meaning in their philosophies or rewrite them when they can't. They also embody many, many more of our worst--the desire to gobble up everything in sight and leave the steaming cultural doo-doo on other people's doorways, an attraction to petty squabbles that result in huffy standoffish relationships and more hypocrisy than SchrÃ¶dinger's cat as it manically explains its zeal for life to you, or not (as the case may be).
The oddest human characteristic countries display, though, is crisis of identity. During medieval times, Britain and France, pimply teen lovers, just couldn't figure out who got what, resulting in extensive mixture of languages and interbred hillbilly kings with little-to-no-wits and an abundant sense of entitlement to prove it. Japan's concern about their identity within the larger context of east Asia led them to become one of the most xenophobic nations to ever have existed. It's no surprise, then, that Canada has found its own identity crisis to compete.
Britain's fattest baby, always having been philosophically or proximally linked to the seat of the current empire, has a healthy body of policy modified, borrowed, or straight-up cribbed from other nations, but never has this fact seemed as offensive as it has recently. In the past year, the moves towards adopting American environmental and intellectual property laws are beginning to highlight the failure of Canadians to think independently and develop distinctly Canadian policy. There are many things we are given to worry about because of our physical situation. With more coast than most, we have problems aplenty if the global warming "myth" turns out not to be and, considering we have more high-speed Internet connections per capita than anywhere else in the world, ought we not to have well thought-out information ownership laws? The question thus becomes: what drives us to assume the stance of our bumbling big brother USA when they clearly have less cause to worry about these issues and hence less need to develop profound policy?
The most disconcerting attempt at an answer is that we define ourselves too much as "not Americans." Even though it seems like a reasonable political stance, this still implies we define ourselves in deference to our gas-guzzling neighbors to the south, which implies our politics will eventually become intertwined with theirs out of necessity.
Consider this a call to arms. The next time somebody asks you to define yourself, try doing so without mentioning the United States. In the terms of the nation-man, it is time for Canada to grow beyond the adolescent dependent it has always been, stop worshipping its older brother and become the adult nation that lustily tongues the world's balls and Generally Makes Everyone Feel Better About Themselves. Who knows what world-shaping ideas we could come up with then? At the very least, we won't have to feel the acid monkey semen of American laws oozing uncomfortably down our throats anymore.