This Magazine

Progressive politics, ideas & culture


Welcome to Canada: The Great White Waste of Time?

This Magazine Staff

Call me nationalist. Call me sentimental. Call me angry-as-hell! Reading articles like this one at the Weekly Standard (the feature story of the issue), gets my Canadian pride burning.

I’m not a historian, a pollster, or an expert on all things Canada, U.S., or elsewhere … but I have traveled our fair country from coast-to-coast. I have also crisscrossed the U.S., thanks to a short-lived career as a photographer’s assistant on tour with Iron Maiden and Styx (which is now lead by Canadian singer Larry Gowan). And one thing I can say with some personal conviction is that Canada is the place that I’d choose to live, over and over again.
If you’ve ever been to Washington, D.C., (the home of the Weekly Standard), you’ve likely seen the imbalance that is so common in the U.S. Just one example is the enormous new convention centres in the downtown area — sparkling examples of wealth and opulence — and just a few short blocks away people are living in abject poverty. This scene repeats itself over-and-over in the U.S., from Detroit, to Michigan, and across many of the Southern states.
Sure, it pains me to think of my friends and family having to wait three or more hours in our overcrowded hospital waiting rooms. And it irks me to recall some of the environmental damage that Canada has played a big part in. But the arbitrary statistics that Matt Labash uses in his article paint a very narrow picture of Canada’s place in the world, and completely avoids the fact that, though the waits are long, most Canadians have access to both basic health care and advanced medical procedures. And while we’ve done our share of the damage, we are also producing some of the world’s most efficient vehicles.
Mr. Labash: I assure you, spending my early years in northern Quebec, not once did I feel like a simple reflection of what is not American.
Last year I invested a lot of my time and energy working on the campaign and other voter-education initiatives in the U.S. leading up to the November 2nd election. My feeling at the end of 2004 was that it was time to bring my attention and energy back to Canada and the issues that we face as Canadians. I’d like to see Canada improve its record on many of Mr. Ladbash’s points — including better health care, more incentives for renewable energy, and broader representation in our political system — and I’m even more up for the task knowing that we’ve got such a head start.
So the question is: where do we begin?

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