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We are familiar with Colin Woodard’s map of the American nations:


Especially their divisions in the United States. Now, for completeness sake, here they are for Canada (based on a map from Wikipedia):

Canadian Nations Many of the nations that make up the United States continue into Canada. In many ways, Canada is essentially the U.S. without Greater Appalachia and the Deep South (and Tidewater).

Newfoundland is its own nation, as it was founded as one of the earliest English colonies in North America. And indeed, Newfoundland has been considerably independent. In fact, it was its own dominion in the British Empire separate from Canada, and almost became a separate country before being joined with Canada. Today, this is visible in the oddity of “Newfoundland Time“, a time zone offset from Atlantic Time in the Maritimes by 30 minutes (ahead). Newfoundland greets the new year before anywhere in North America.

Most of the European-derived nations hug the U.S. border, being situated south of the vast “First Nation”. This is because despite its size, Canada is sparsely populated:


Most of its people are concentrated in two bands, along the eastern Great Lakes/St. Lawrence River and in the Prairie Provinces.

Canada’s much more Left-leaning political nature vis-a-vis the United States should be hardly surprising.

(Republished from JayMan's Blog by permission of author or representative)
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  1. I find it odd that in the second map ” by ethnicity” there are no blue squares ( for French) in the province of Quebec where aproximately 6 million people speak French ( their maternal tongue ) and have French names and French ancestors ( such as me )

    It is the largest population of people of French descent in North America,

    There is a strong separatist movement in Quebec and close to half the population of Francophones wishes to separate from the rest of English Canada ( as it is often called here )
    but all of them answered ” Canadian” instead of ” French” on the census?

    What am I missing here?

    • Replies: @Anonymous
    , @Anonymous
  2. The map is broadly correct. However there are two problems I see. The area north of Lake Superior is it’s own culture, not at all like Southern Ontario, which it is grouped with. The same thing with the mountainous interior of British Columbia, which is not continuous with prairie culture.

  3. The could be better at separating Inuit from Amerindian in the North too.

  4. Canada would be much more right wing, with the Conservative party actually quite dominant, if not for Quebec. Vote splitting on the right has also been a problem in the past. The three Westernmost, and most prosperous, provinces have been governed for a while now by very libertarian political parties. Even fruity British Columbia.

  5. JayMan says: • Website
    @The Man Who Was . . .

    @The Man Who Was…

    Well, those western provinces are part of the Far West, which in the States is pretty libertarian Right.

    But as for the Right-leaning nature of Canada in general, it’s hard to compare across national lines. I mean, what does “conservative” mean in Canada, compared to what it means in the U.S.?

    • Replies: @Canadian Friend
  6. @The Man Who Was . . .

    Canada and the U.S. would pretty much be identical in politics if not for a. Quebec and b. the South. Conservative means pretty much the same thing as it does in the U.S., except with single payer healthcare for everyone.

    • Replies: @JayMan
  7. JayMan says: • Website
    @The Man Who Was . . .

    @The Man Who Was . . .


    In what ways is the Lake Superior area different from southern Ontario? Is the lake area more like the Prairie provinces (hence be part of the Far West) or is it more like the U.S. on the other side of the lake (hence be part of Yankeedom)?

    Where did the settlers to the lake area come from? Did they come from southern Ontario? Or was it settled primarily by new immigrants?

    As for the interior of British Columbia, how is it different from the Prairie provinces? Is it more like the coast?

    Thanks for the info!

  8. JayMan says: • Website
    @The Man Who Was . . .

    @The Man Who Was . . .:

    That’s what I gather, for the most part. Of course, those facts make for a large effective difference between the two countries.

  9. @The Man Who Was . . .

    Both are pretty rough, isolated places and still have a frontier like atmosphere, with lots of transients. Very lumberjack-y. Not at all like the placid, settled farming cultures on the Canadian prairies.

  10. @The Man Who Was . . .

    And not at all like the Left Coast cultures either.

  11. @JayMan

    It is not that much different.

    Conservatives in Canada want less immigration from third world countries, less strict gun laws ( we had a gun registry created by liberals that our present conservative government got rid of ), less leniency towards criminals. less taxes, less regulations, less “socialism” et cetera…

    they are for personal responsibiilty and don’t like the idea of a nanny state that “hovers” above you all the time,

    we don’t have affirmative action but we do have some programs that favor people based on their ethnicity and Canadian conservative believe people should be hired/promoted based on competence not based on race ( or gender as women also benefit from such programs )

    another example, just as conservatives in the US want PBS to get less money from tax payers, conservatives in Canada want the government to give less of our tax dollar to CBC ( our state media which is in many ways similar to PBS )

    Most conservatives in Canada complain abortions are too easy to get, they oppose gay marriage, would like to be able to use words such as ” Merry Christmas ” and are fed up with all other religions getting accomodations and the rules bent for them while Christians are always the bad guy who must make concessions et cetera…

    oh yeah and we ( I am a Canadian and do vote conservative ) want a bigger stronger military and we would like our borders better protected ( ships from everywhere sail in our waters up north without permission but we have the equivalent of a row boat to “scare them away” )

    There are differences between USA’s and Canada’s conservatives but they are not that big.

    If I can put it this way; it is more a difference of degrees than anything. The issues are mostly the same ones in both nations. And our solutions to them also tend to differ in degree more than anything. We may come up with a softer approach to fix a problem ( example ; we don’t have the death penalty but conservatives want dangerous criminals to get longer sentences and never get parole) but the problems/issues are pretty much the same as in the USA.

  12. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    With French Canadians, you see the changing definitions of “left” and “right.” Quebec separatism has always been a left-wing movement, despite being nationalist, because it opposed the economic power of the rich, who in Quebec were the British and the Jews, over Quebec’s economy. However, they were defeated, by mainly the official British and Jewish left opposed to separation, and the votes of (most of) the Jews, the first nations, and the immigrants, provided the narrow majority that defeated separation at the polls.

  13. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website
    @Canadian Friend

    Too shocked by the sight of an American taking an interest in Canada to add my thoughts, other than to say that the 3 prairie provinces only contain ~17% of Canada’s population and that the Conservative Party of Canada is significantly more popular with immigrants than non-immigrants, as is Rob Ford.

    • Replies: @JayMan
  14. JayMan says: • Website

    @Neil Edmondson:

    Interesting. I keep wondering about how conservative are these Canadian conservatives.

    Yes, the Prairie provinces aren’t populated. This is consistent with them leaning right…

    Thanks for the input!

  15. Sisyphean says:

    An English speaking country with low unskilled immigration and no bitter confederate left overs. Doesn’t sound so bad to me.

    ~S (proud Yankee son of a bitch)

  16. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    About 55% of BC should be left coast. The Kootenays, the Okanagan, Smithers, Prince Rupert are all pretty socially liberal. The northeast of BC: Dawson Creek to Fort Nelson is ‘Far West’. The Caribou regions – Prince George, 100 Mile House, Williams Lake is a toss up as to how it’s labelled. Williams Lake loves their cowboys, but they also had the first gay rodeo… The cultural suspender continues its vertical division in the Yukon – Watson Lake is ‘far west’, but Whitehorse and up to Dawson City are ‘far left’.

    Because the census divisions are so large in northern Canada, the lines of leading ethnicity are misleading – especially regarding the division between First Nation and Inuit territory.

  17. Anthony says:

    Fascinating that Canadians of deep English *and* French descent give “Canadian” as their ethnicity! And it’s way more popular than “American” is in the United States.

    (Looking up at wik, I find this pdf about the issue. It seems we have the Toronto Sun to blame/credit for this.)

    • Replies: @JayMan
    , @Michel
  18. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:

    Canadian friend, youre mistaken if you think there was never much difference between Canadian and American Conservatism. The two have developed rather differently.

    Canadian Conservatism is an uneasy melding of an older British Tory type (brought here in large part by the United Empire Loyalists) found in Ontario and the Maritimes, and a more freewheeling individualist type from Alberta and parts of BC. The exemplars of the western type would be the Reform party wing of our Conservative party.

    The Reform party attracted everyone from Alberta oil tycoons, ranchers, low church fundie Protestants, evangelical gigachurches, far right white power groups (Heritage Front, Ernst Zundel), libertarians and old disgruntled BC Socreds like Jack weisgerber.

    The Tories were historically split between Blue (mercantilist, free market favouring) like Mulroney, and Red Tories (communitarian, Anglican, and monarchist) like John A. MacDonald and Dief the Chief.

    Now, to say that the Consrvatives are in favour of reducing the “nanny” state, lower taxes and reducing immigration is not borne out in reality. Reducing the “nanny state”? hardly. Bank mergers were prevented, consumer protection on credit card agreements was introduced ( a true laissez faire party would let consumers suffer from their inability to control their spending – “let the market sort them out….”) long gun registry finally being repealed but at a glacial pace.

    As for immigration… Harper and Kenney threw the gate open wide for immigrants. Because they are largely entrepreneurial but socially conservative. Exactly like so many of their traditional supporters. It virtually guarantees an increasing voter base of CPC supporters.

    Lower taxes? Yes, for larger corporations and substantially at that. But for individual tax payers, tax rates have hardly moved since Paul Martin’s tenure.

    In closing, Canadian conservatism has had rather different roots than Conservatism in America. Only in the last twenty to thirty years has It moved closer to its aMerican second cousin.

    • Replies: @Richard
  19. JayMan says: • Website


    Yup, it’s a drag. But what can you do? Besides, self-reported ancestry is only of limited usefulness anyways.

  20. Michel says:

    “Fascinating that Canadians of deep English *and* French descent give “Canadian” as their ethnicity! ”

    It is false, It would be in deed fascinating if that was true.

    Dont get full, French descent (mostly Québécois) use the term french canadians, not canadians ! As a Québécois I only encounter a few of my compatriots who counsider themself canadian before and foremost.

  21. Richard says:
    @The Man Who Was . . .

    Indeed. Without the South, the Democrats would dominate politics in the US, and without Quebec, the Conservatives would generally be the leading party in Canada. If you look at their position on issues, the center of the American Democratic party and the center of the Canadian Conservative party aren’t very far apart.

    Canadian Conservatives may be in favor of lower taxes and cutting social spending, but lower taxes and cutting social spending compared to what is in Canada now, not lower taxes and cutting social spending compared to what is in the US now.

    There is really no equivalent of the Tea Party in Canada.

  22. Richard says:

    In fact, the center of the Canadian Conservative Party seems closer to its American cousin, the Democratic party (also pro-immigration and consumer protection) than to the Repulicans (currently dominated by the Tea Party wing that really doesn’t have an analogue of any political significance in Canada).

  23. Anonymous • Disclaimer says:
    @Canadian Friend

    Typically the French speaking portions of Quebec will identify themselves as Canadien et Canadienne, referring more to the ethno-cultural group, rather than the federal nation. From the “French Canadian” wikipedia page: “Canadiens” redirects here.

  24. Anonymous • Disclaimer says: • Website

    Matthew Naylor is correct. On the Canadian census, respondents can volunteer as many choices for ethnicity as they like. If one says “French Canadian,” that will be coded as both French and Canadian. If one says “Haitian Canadian,” that will be coded as both Haitian and Canadian. In Quebec, among Francophones, the single word “Canadien” is shorthand for Quebecois, or French Canadian. Obviously, for Quebec, there are far more who said Canadian/Canadien in all its forms than anything else.

    The coding of your map needs more nuance to account for this.

    I discuss this in my book Canadian Politics: Riding by Riding.

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