US Presidents' Quotes About Canada

Our ties to our neighbors to the north have been deep and long-running

Canadian and United States flags on blue sky
Chris Cheadle / Getty Images

The ties between Canada and the United States are deep, although cultural and political differences sometimes lead to tensions. A shared border across 5,000 miles of land and three oceans and the world's largest trading relationship provides a strong motivation to maintain good relations. Here is a sampling of what U.S. Presidents have said about Canada over the years.

John Adams

The Unanimous Voice of the Continent is "Canada must be ours; Quebec must be taken."
- 1776 (While serving as a delegate to the Continental Congress)

Thomas Jefferson

The acquisition of Canada this year, as far as the neighborhood of Quebec, will be a mere matter of marching, and will give us experience for the attack of Halifax the next, and the final expulsion of England from the American continent.
- 1812 (In a letter to Colonel William Duane)

Franklin Roosevelt

...when I have been in Canada, I have never heard a Canadian refer to an American as a "foreigner." He is just an "American." And, in the same way, in the United States, Canadians are not "foreigners," they are "Canadians." That simple little distinction illustrates to me better than anything else the relationship between our two countries.
- 1936 (During a visit to Quebec City)

Harry S. Truman

Canadian-American relations for many years did not develop spontaneously. The example of accord provided by our two countries did not come about merely through the happy circumstance of geography. It is compounded of one part proximity and nine parts good will and common sense.
- 1947 (Address to Canadian Parliament)

Dwight Eisenhower

Our forms of government -- though both cast in the democratic pattern -- are greatly different. Indeed, sometimes it appears that many of our misunderstandings spring from an imperfect knowledge on the part of both of us of the dissimilarities in our forms of government.
- 1958 (Address to Canadian Parliament)

John F. Kennedy

Geography has made us neighbors. History has made us friends. Economics has made us partners. And necessity has made us allies. Those whom nature hath so joined together, let no man put asunder. What unites us is far greater than what divides us.
- 1961 (Address to Canadian Parliament)

Ronald Reagan

We are happy to be your neighbor. We want to remain your friend. We are determined to be your partner and we are intent on working closely with you in a spirit of co-operation.
- 1981 (Address to Canadian Parliament)

Bill Clinton

Canada has shown the world how to balance freedom with compassion and tradition with innovation, in your efforts to provide health care to all your citizens, to treat your senior citizens with the dignity and respect they deserve, to take on tough issues like the move afoot to outlaw automatic weapons designed for killing and not for hunting....
- 1995 (Address to Canadian House of Commons)

George W. Bush

I view the relationship with Canada as a vital relationship for the United States. The relationship, of course, is defined government-to-government. It's also defined people-to-people, and there's a lot of people in my country who respect Canada and have great relations with Canadians, and we intend to keep it that way.
- 2006 (In Cancun, Mexico after meeting with Stephen Harper)