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America settled the west because settling the west was its Manifest Destiny. The teeming American masses yearned to breathe fresh air and discover the wonders of smoking meats with mesquite. Canada, on the other hand, settled the west because it was a sound business move, diversifying its portfolio and assuring it would forever have hinterlands eastern politicians could ignore, piss off, pillage and from which would spring an inconsequential political party that would miraculously come to power and shape the country, ironically, in the image of the U.S. itself.
Finally, and perhaps most importantly, America knew it was bound for glory. America strode into the future with a spring in its step and a certainty not unlike that enjoyed by missionaries bringing the word of God to the Godless. America set the bar, raised the standards and had enough faith in its role as the Only Remaining Superpower, that it was comfortable sending its least qualified citizens off to the nation's capital to run things... into the ground.
Canada was just as certain of its future and therefore built all its major cities within 100 miles - converted in the late 20 th century to approximately 160 kilometres - of the U.S.-Canada border. After all, if we weren't so close and so dependent on our good friends to the south, how could we keep close tabs on what we're not and provide pointers on running a sound banking system instead of a cheap, Vegas casino?
Happy Canada Day, eh?