Being born and raised in Vancouver, and having visited both sides of the US many times, I can honestly break it down like the following :
Friendliness : Americans. While many may not be the brightest tools in the shed in regards to the world around them, I haven't really found any one person there "pretentious". In general, I find people in Canada less approachable.
Cleanliness : Hands down, Canada. I guess living in Vancouver has me somewhat biased, but taking a similar city like Seattle in comparison; Vancouver has it beat - hands down.
Security/Safety : Again, Canada. Even though Americans per se are friendlier, I feel much more secure in Canada. I don't sit in my house having to think about the possibility of a bomb dropping on my head - because we simply don't go around the world trying to stir up the shit. Look at Iraq (it's become a cliche now) - but wouldn't it have been easier solving problems at home first? And everyone constantly pigeon holes East-Hastings as being a horrifying and filthy place. Sure, it ain't a pretty part of town - but I could still walk through it without fearing for my life. I can't say the same thing about the entire neighbourhood of Inglewood/Compton. Here, you can make a wrong turn, and get out with no big fuss. Try taking a wrong turn into the LA
ghetto, and then tell me you don't feel the least bit uncomfortable.
When it boils down to it, no country is perfect. Every country wastes gov't money - that's what the gov't is for. If a country didn't waste money, you were probably dreaming.
So, in short, even though we pay higher-taxes here, the quality of life (for me anyway) is so far superior, that it is worth it in the end. That doesn't mean I hate the US, or would never visit again (even though I dislike the Bush administration). The US is nice, in it's own unique way - that much can be said!