Q&A | Michael J. Fox on his Canadian pride and why he speaks out

Film, TV star among latest winners of Governor General's Performing Arts Awards

Michael J. Fox may hold dual Canadian-American citizenship now, but says, “My reference for everything is my Canadian background.”

Fox is one of the newest laureates of the Governor General’s Performing Arts Awards.

The Emmy-winning actor — whose popular TV and film credits include Family Ties, the Back to the Future trilogy, Spin CityRescue Me and The Good Wife — spoke with CBC’s Eli Glasner following Thursday morning’s awards announcement.

Fox shared his thoughts on a variety of topics, from his memorable Oscar night, why he continues to speak out on issues like immigration and how being Canadian sets artists apart.

Q: I’ve got to start by congratulating you on the Oscars bit [with fellow Canadian actor Seth Rogen].

A: Yeah, that was fun. We had a moment when he acknowledged me from Burnaby [B.C., where he attended high school], him from Kerrisdale. What were we doing there?

Q: Where were you when the show ended?

A: We were in the green room in the back and we decided to leave to get a head start because traffic is just crazy around the Oscars and we wanted to get to the after party. So we thought we’d head out and get a jump on the traffic. When we got in the car, my son texted me and said “What just happened?” and I didn’t know.

And he texted me back and said “That was incredible.” So we turned on YouTube and we saw it. It was amazing.

Q: CBC covered a protest rally [on Oscar weekend] where you talked about being a proud American, so how does it feel to get this Canadian honour after settling in the U.S, for so long?

A: Well, I believe my comments were that it took me 10 years to get my American citizenship and I was actually stupid enough to be pissed about that, because it was a lot. Then I compared it to the experience of refugees that are coming to the States, and they have an infinitely more horrific journey to that first step towards citizenship.