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Group Maintenance and Ethnic Commitment

From: The Encyclopedia of Canada's Peoples/Americans/J.m. Bumsted

As has already been noted, Americans in Canada are not very self-conscious about their identity, and many have learned over time to keep to themselves any American enthusiasms they might have. What dominates American ethnicity in Canada is the powerful omnipresence of the United States in Canadian society and culture, rendering the need for an ethnic lobby or press unnecessary in order to maintain an American presence. Americans who wish to sojourn in Canada can do so with ease, sacrificing very little in the process of living “abroad.” At the same time, the relatively low involvement of naturalized ex-Americans in Canadian politics probably suggests a process of prudence meeting subtle discrimination. The rates of naturalization of American immigrants have usually compared favourably with those of other immigrant groups, except between 1961 and 1981, and rates of transience have often been greatly exaggerated. Overstatements of American transiency have occurred partly because they ideally suited Canadian preconceptions, and partly because of inadequate statistical information and analysis. We have in the past overestimated the proportion of American-born among immigrants from the United States, and we have also failed to compare American figures with those of other foreign nationals in Canada. In any event, it is difficult to think of another group in Canada in the particular and peculiar situation of Americans.