Oh, hey, USA.
Freedom sounds really great, but…
It’s not us, it’s you.
You might recall that thirteen British North American colonies declared their independence from Great Britain in 1776. If you can count, you’ll know that the number of colonies they held on the continent was a little more than that. Why didn’t they join up with their spicier southern cohorts? Did they hate freedom?
First, let’s look at the Canadians (those who lived in what’s now Ontario and Canadian). You’d expect them to have no love lost for the British, given that they were conquered by them in 1760. And you’re right, they didn’t much like them. Nevertheless, the Quebec Act of 1774 (one of the ‘Intolerable Acts’ cited by the Americans as a reason for rebelling) did them a solid by guaranteeing the rights of the Roman Catholic Church in the area and allowing the continued use of French Civil Law. (As opposed to replacing it with British Common Law. Even today, Civil Law is in use in Quebec and three of the nine justices of the Supreme Court of Canada must be from Quebec on account of that.)
They had no such guarantee from the Americans. In fact, given the prevalent anti-Catholic sentiment down in the American colonies, they had every expectation of having it worse if they threw their lot in with them. Plus, you know, invading and attacking a place is NOT going to get them on your side, no matter how pathetic you look dying of disease as you lay siege in the snow.
Thus, Quebec declared: “Fuck everyone. They can freeze to death for all we care.”
What of Nova Scotia? (Then encompassing New Brunswick as well.) They were mostly of British stock, right? (Given that most of the Acadians had been kicked out a couple of generations prior.) And they had a lot of the same grievances as the American colonies. Why didn’t they join in?
For starters, a giant fucking Royal Navy base in Halifax had a little something to do with it. That led to the colony becoming an attractive destination for Loyalist refugees, diminishing the will to rebel accordingly.
(Also, as I had been told by a history professor of mine, there was a popular doomsday religious revival going on in the area at the time. Why rebel when the world’s going to end, amirite?)
Newfoundland? They fucking hated the Americans for their privateering activities on their turf, along with their taking their damned fish. They were poor enough as it was; ffs, leave us alone, you assholes.
So yeah, they had some pretty decent reasons. All of which led to the glorious nation of Canada that exists today, where we pat ourselves on the back for not being quite as fucked up as our southern neighbor. Well, ain’t that damning with faint praise.