Interesting article - I've been meaning to work into the blog some thoughts on Canada for a while so this seems a good start.
I'm not going to be able to summarise all of the points I want to make but for any Aussies reading this let me just say this...if you are coming to the USA make sure you make it to Canada as well.
Every Canadian I have met, pretty much we as Aussies, have an instant rapport with them in 10 mins or less, I have no idea what it is about them that can be so different to Americans but I haven't met a Canadian yet I didn't like.
The next thing I need to get across is ...it's really big and most of the people only live on the edge of the border near the USA (sounds like a rather largish island I know with a desert in the middle of it).
The other thing (and I forget the exact number but I got it from the Canadian trade commissioner) is that about 60% of their GDP is reliant on the USA...so if a big border went up between the two countries they would be screwed.
Another interesting thing I saw on tv recently was that with oil prices being as high as it has been lately, all of a sudden I keep hearing about Canada having the black sands of Alberta (basically similar production process to getting oil from shale - lots of it, just expensive to extract). The weird part was all of a sudden Canada doesn't need any external oil, they have these massive 30 year reserves and until last year I had never heard about it - it's the weirdest thing, like one day waking up and finding a basement full of money when you didn't even know your house had a basement.
And lastly there was a segment on 60 minutes about a Canadian city right on the border (i forget which) but they were talking about border control with the USA but there was an interview that stuck in my mind about a black American family (mum/dad/2.3 kids) who were at an amusement park where basically they were talking about how they always came up to Canada every few weeks (I think it was about a 2 hour drive from their house) they were commenting on the reason they kept doing this was that as a black family they seemed to have a lot less issues in Canada and just accepted for who they are :)
Like I said weird how many similarities as to why Aussies and Canadians are similar.