Here's the hard truth: no one puts down Canadians with quite as much glee as Canadians themselves. This can range from Canadians who think they are being charmingly self-deprecating to conservatives who hate Canada for not being more American. Plus Canadians in one part of the country love to put down Canadians in other parts (and then use the inevitable backlash as a justification for their initial prejudice).
Americans could learn a lot from Canada -- but they don't have a clue. And they don't want to. When I first moved to northern Washington state and began covering Canada for Dow Jones' U.S. business site MarketWatch.com, I spoke at a local Rotary Club. The members were mostly college graduates and business leaders. I gave a quiz about Canada to the Rotarians, who share a Rotary district with B.C. I asked: What's the capital of Canada? Maybe half the members knew. OK, who is Canada's Prime Minister? Even fewer hands went up. Many Americans don't just have their heads up their butts; they also seem to enjoy the view.