It's a little weird that the final days of the Sochi Winter Olympics will be spent with Americans and Canadians wanting to murder each other because of hockey, but so be it. If, however, you plan to get into a fight with a nearby northern neighbor, you, as a patriotic U.S. citizen, should at least understand the deep-seated and historically valid reasons that you should hate them.
Canadians got the British to burn down the White House.
This is the big one. In the wake of Thursday's women's gold medal game, it was mentioned liberally on Twitter that Canada "burned down the White House," a claim used to salt wounds or as a rallying cry, depending on who was tweeting it.
Here's what happened. Britain wasn't terribly excited about the outcome of the Revolutionary War in the late 18th century, given that it lost a lucrative colony thanks to some no-good American patriots. (And the French, who they were still going to war with all the time.) The British kept bothering the newly United States and we them until, in 1812, we declared war. The British were in Britain, which was far away, but they still controlled Canada, which was close. So in addition to naval battles, the Americans started bothering the Canadians. The Canadians complained to the British.
By 1814, Britain was done fighting Napoleon and sent troops to fight in America. American defenses weren't very strong, and a force of several thousand Brits basically just walked into D.C. burning things. Including the White House.
Now, Canadians like to say that they burned down the White House, that it was a squadron of brave Canadians that, marching alongside their British allies/bosses came into D.C. and burned down the executive mansion using moose dung or something. That's not true. (See this and this.) Here's how one eager Canadian explains the argument: "our military did burn the white house, because our military at the time was the British Army!"
Ha ha ha cooool.
We went to war with the French part of Canada.
We're kind of cheating on this one, to be honest. The French and Indian War (using "Indian" in the pre-1970 sense of "Native American") was a proxy war between the British and French that involved French colonists in Canada battling British colonists in America and Canada. (And also some Native Americans that sided with the French Canadians.)
The British sort of won. It's not really an exciting example.
Canada didn't want American companies stealing their business.
In 1911, a trade pact between the United States and Canada met with fierce opposition in that country because business interests worried that American monopolies would step in and squeeze out local businesses. Which, to be fair, was completely warranted. The United States hadn't yet enacted its antitrust laws, and American companies were doing exactly what the Canadians feared in the United States itself.
However. They also illustrated our evil monopolies as looking like pigs. That's not acceptable.
Canada tried to steal various parts of America.
After the United States bought Alaska from Russia (thanks so much, Russia), we got into a typical neighbor boundary dispute over where, exactly, Alaska stopped and Canada began. It was the little southern tail of Alaska that was under contention, mostly because prospectors found gold there.
Ultimately, an international tribunal sort of split the difference and everyone was mad, but really who cares about that anymore. We have so many other outstanding disputes with them. The biggest emerging dispute is likely to be over control of routes through the increasingly-ice-free Arctic Ocean, where no one spent much time resolving what the rules were because ships couldn't get through in the pre-global-warming era.
Then there's this boundary dispute:
Update: Our colleagues at National Journal add this to the mix: a dispute over an island with birds on it. Or, rather: An island with birds on it that should by rights be part of the legal domain of these United States of America.
Canada refuses to play as much American music as it should.
Remember when Canada called us pigs because of our unfair corporate practices? The government of Canada mandates that radio stations in the country play a certain percentage of music from Canadians. This is mostly because American culture is so great and so cool that there was no other way for Canadian stars like Nickelback and Celine Dion to get any airplay. So 35 percent of what stations play has to be Canadian. Who's the pig, exactly?
That's not freedom. That's not what America is about. And so: We must win at hockey.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.