There are a number of stereotypes when it comes to our country, but the one I encounter the most is that Canadians are nice to a fault. That we apologize for everything and always defer to everyone else. Some even say that it indicates we have no spine.
There are certainly more important things to worry about than being perceived as overly nice. In fact, isn’t politeness a desirable quality? It certainly is, though in apparent accordance with our deferential nature, not all Canadians see that as a positive thing when it is pointed out.
In fact, given the common brashness of some Americans (particularly given the current climate and president), I think our comparatively mild demeanour is certainly something to be cherished. That familiar American “We are the Best!” mantra cannot help but instill an inferiority complex in its neighbours, but it shouldn’t, particularly given the terribly misguided course that country is currently on.
Cynical folks might say that our politeness is really more the result of a defense mechanism. After all, if you are around people that you must spend time with (or wish to spend as little time as possible with), it’s a wiser strategy to be nice than brash.
However, I think that politeness is the default position for many Canucks I know. Maybe it is a natural result of having to survive brutal winters that run for half of the year (or more); if you help your neighbour, they are more likely to be there for you in your own time of need, right?
So, to answer the question posed in our title…there is no scientific proof that Canadians are as nice as everyone seems to think, but there is quite a bit of anecdotal evidence to back that up. That is good enough for me, but I fully respect your differing opinion. Because I’m Canadian and I’m not always right.