(SNN) Much was made in the media during the 2015 federal election regarding Canada's reputation abroad. The concern was that if Canada did this or that, foreign-policy-wise, all the cool countries would think terrible things of us and we might look bad On The World Stage. Horrors! However, if we went with the other parties' foreign policy stances, our national peers would think something else, usually negative.
Whether it be on matters of climate change, combatting terrorism, managing refugees, the TPP, or a myriad of other foreign issues, to some individuals, how we're perceived by everyone else is almost as important as the details of the actual issue.
In truth, though, the painful reality appears to be that when it comes to international profile, Canada lacks one almost entirely. If we were a country music star, we'd be Ferlin Husky.
We are ignored by the international press almost universally other than quirky stories we seem to sometimes get some ink about. ("Look at these crazy Canucks" sort of thing)
The Hindustani Times, for example, thought that the story of the Toronto yoga instructor putting a halt to the free classes she was offering because of fears about cultural appropriation. Considering that this appropriation, according to even the most ardent anti-appropriation zealots, can only happen when one culture is dominant over another, it amused the author of one article that a Canadian might think our culture would dominate India's.
The well-regarded Guardian paper in Britain mentions Canada occasionally. We are lumped in with US news so our share is minuscule. They did report on Trudeau meeting the Queen a bit. Mind you they print every move she makes. Canada would kill for that kind of attention. Well, maybe not kill, but write a nasty letter and forget to send it.
Japan's largest circulation paper with an English edition, Asahi Shimbun, did mention Canada a number of times recently. It was almost always in relation to reports regarding the TPP. Canada was mentioned in sentences like, "also involved were Canada and Mexico," at the end of the story.
We fare a little better with American papers. They at least noticed we had a change of government recently, for example. Papers such as the Washington Post and the New York Times even had occasional commentary about what a young, good looking leader we have. One suggested Trudeau will get along better with Obama than Harper did. Not that Obama will change his views on our relationship such as approve any pipelines any time soon or any other substantial shift. Still, I'm sure he will think of us more often now, with Trudeau at the helm. Maybe as often as the Hindustani Times. Or The Guardian, Or the Asahi Shimbun.
Canadians are probably well-served by being under the radar for the rest of the world. We're like that non-threatening nerd in high school nobody paid much attention to but left alone because he had big, tough older brothers. Beware, however, those that would seek to use our reputation among the other nations as an argument to further their political goals. The other nations don't give a rat's patootie about Canada's position on anything. For good or bad, what happens in Canada, stays in Canada.
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