I don't ... (irreverent appearances on this blog notwithstanding)
Most Canadians cannot abide George W Bush and his administration. Most Canadians did not believe the lies that Bush told to get America into the Iraq war. Most Canadians applauded the Liberal stand against joining the invasion of Iraq. In that most Americans did not vote for Bush in either election and most Americans have come to realize that they were duped, most Canadians agree with most Americans about Bush and his administration.
Given the inhumanity and debacle of the Iraq war, most Canadians were absolutely correct in applauding the Liberal stand against joining the invasion of Iraq. Given that Al Qaeda now flourishes in Iraq where it did not flourish under Saddam Hussein, and given that insurgency and anti-American sentiment is escalating, Canadians were correct in thinking that Bush was committing an egregious error in invading Iraq. (Call it what you will, an invasion is an invasion is an invasion.)
Canadians appear to have short memories on this, as though keeping us out of an unjust and futile war pales in comparison to the antics of some party-hangers-on. Had we been so unfortunate as to have had Stevie Blunder as a PM back when Chrétien declared us a "sovereign nation", then we too would be losing Some Mothers' Sons and Daughters in Iraq as we now lose our soldiers in Afghanistan. (Yes, I believe that we should leave Afghanistan to its own people too.)
Janice Stein claims that most Canadians "cannot tell the difference" between the Bush administration and Americans. I believe that we can, in that we recognize the difference between the individual American and the national USian hubris. I believe that most Canadians recognize that the political administration elected (or not elected) by any nation is distinct from an individual within that nation.
However, Canadians do personally object to the vocal America-the-greatest arrogance of some Americans. We have long despised the way some Americans have treated slaves and their descendants – we were the last whistle stop on the underground railroad, after all. We were not happy about a nation that imposed illegal tariffs on our softwood lumber, and then refused to pay the legal compensation ordered by the NAFTA panel. We were not happy with a nation that closed its borders to our beef while hiding its own several cases of Mad Cow.
Has anti-American dislike of some aspects of America risen only since Bush took office? My personal observation has been that many Canadians have long disliked the American political ethos – we were simply too polite to say so loudly. However, anti-USian sentiment has risen dramatically since Giorgio Dubaya Borgio took office. (By "took" office, I indicate that I believe that the outcome of both elections that placed such an incompetent in power were rigged. First, by the deliberate mis-aligned printing of ballots in brother Jed Bush's home state, and next, by tampering with electronic ballots in the swing states.)
Do we define ourselves in terms of not being American? No. Most of us hold "Canadian" values because of the intrinsic merit of certain moral principles. As a friend said, "we prefer to spend our money on social programs rather than bombs". (Obviously, we also suffer our share of rednecks, bigots, and self-serving individuals.) We compare much of the American ethos with Canadian values, and find the American political and social scene desperately wanting in some areas. We thus declare ourselves proud that we do not share the more egregious aspects of the American Weltenschauung. In other words, we decry some American attitudes in terms of their not being the more liberal attitudes that typify Canadian values.