The stars of the Canadian series “The Border”

Are Canadian TV shows really anti-American? That seemed to be a concern in the wake of the recent WikiLeaks revelations. According to a January, 2008 dispatch from the American Embassy in Ottawa, made public this week, U.S. officials perceived an anti-American bias in some CBC melodramas.
This had to rankle Canadian comedians, many of whom have spent their entire careers bashing Americans. Despite concerted efforts, not even Rick Mercer, the Canadian behind those “Taking to Americans” specials—which mocked how many Americans, including senior White House officials, are completely oblivious about Canada—got so much as an Orange Alert memo from an American official.

The Border was, however, one of the shows singled out in the WikiLeaks report. Characters on that CBC drama about a Canadian border security unit did give voice to some anti-American sentiment. A character who represented an American Homeland Security officer was the cause of tension in early episodes.
While Canadian cop shows like Flashpoint, and Rookie Blue went on to enjoy big U.S. network co-production deals, The Border struggled to land any sort of U.S. distribution, finally settling for a spot on the under-the-radar U.S. cable channel ION. This may have influenced CBC’s decision last spring not to renew the series after three seasons. (Scheduling it opposite Grey’s Anatomy on killer Thursday nights didn’t help, either.)
Still, this doesn’t explain how a Canadian (Kiefer Sutherland) was allowed to run wild as a human killing machine as U.S. anti-terrorism agent Jack Bauer on 24 for eight seasons, or how Canadian producers and directors and actors had their trigger fingers all over that show.
It seems it is Canadian shows that are feared, not Canadian talent. TV Feeds My Family has learned that there are more WikiLeaks revelations to come about Canadian TV shows red flagged by U.S. interests. Among the shows causing the most suspicion:

  • The Beachcombers. American officials feared Bruno Gerussi (right) was sneaking softwood lumber into the United States.
  • Canadian Idol. The utter failure of any Canadian Idol winner to have a career through the fantasy of pop idolatry was seen as a threat to the whole American way of life.
  • Hockey Night in Canada. A bias toward U.S. franchises by NHL president Gary Bettman means the Toronto Maple Leafs will never again win a Stanley Cup…wait, this was on WikiLEAFS.
  • The Friendly Giant. U.S. State Department said to be on high alert since there was no telling if the giant would remain friendly.
  • Holmes on Holmes. Canadian contractor Mike Holmes was distrusted as someone likely to undermine American society through his constant use of superior Robertson screwdrivers.
  • 22 Minutes. Odd title seen as some sort of subversive plot to sneak metric system into America.
  • Curling. Fear that exposure to this non-violent winter sport could wipe out the NFL, NBA, Extreme Wrestling and half of Las Vegas.
  • Suzuki: no Tea Party
  • The Nature of Things. Leaked memo–“This guy Suzuki makes Al Gore look like Dick Cheney.”
  • George Stroumboulopoulos Tonight. Too many vowels seen as threat to Wheel of Fortune—a show on the U.S. Homeland Security department’s most protected list.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation. use of actual age appropriate actors playing high school students feared too bizarre for Americans raised on 90210, Glee.
  • Trailer Park Boys. Constant consumption of Canadian beer seen as a threat to watered down American beer; plus Bubbles misuse of shopping carts could cause panic at American Walmarts.
  • The Royal Canadian Air Farce. Suspected by U.S. war department of harbouring the last remaining Avro Arrow.
  • Corner Gas. There was concern in the U.S. State Department that some of this gas was being exported at a discount from that dirty Alberta Tars Sands project
  • Being Erica. Americans quickly turned off by inconsistent plotlines, a general dragginess and gimmicky, extraneous characters—wait, those were Canadians.


  1. Unfortunately, one of the best kept secrets is Canadian humor, especially when it’s pointed at America! I say this as an American who was first exposed to Canadian digs at my homeland while watching Due South. Wish U.S. networks imported some of Canada’s comedies as well as its dramas. Thanks for a great column!

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