On this Canada Day, 2015, I would like to say something not often heard south of the 49th Parallel: I love Canada. And all things Canadian.
Well, most things Canadian. Wolverines seem like real jerks. Them I could do without. You all can have Ted Cruz back. Maybe keep your oil sands to yourselves. Poutine is just a case of carsickness waiting to happen.
Such is this imperfect universe that all things, even the glorious nation of Canada, have their flaws. But those do not detract from the splendor of Jagged Little Pill, Tim Hortons, free healthcare, abolitionists, Colin Mochrie, Margaret Atwood…
Here in the United States, our northern neighbor doesn’t get nearly as much credit as it’s due—for a number of reasons, all of which generally boil down to a bad case of Yankee hubris.
“Canada is America’s hat,” we say. Yes! And what a wonderful hat it is! Made of the finest beaver’s fur, smelling of pine and maple syrup—it keeps our big, inflated head warm and toasty.
We gripe, “Canadians apologize too much!” So what? Saying sorry is nice. People appreciate it. Only in America are common courtesy and empathy for your fellow man signs of weakness.
And, really, what business do Americans have crapping on Canadians? They consistently beat us at pretty much everything—except ice hockey. (Sorry, not sorry.) Major Canadian cities routinely place at the top of most quality-of-life indices: Vancouver, Toronto, Ottawa, and Montreal all placed in Mercer’s top 25; San Francisco, the highest ranked US city, was 27th.
Canadian banks withstood the 2008 recession longer than those of any other industrialized nation. Medical expenditures per capita are almost half of what they are in the United States, and the care is measurably better.
Toronto is a beacon of successful multiculturalism, with half of its population born outside of Canada, and just as many speaking a mother tongue other than English or French. And guess what, Donald Trump? There were only 21 homicides in Toronto in 2014, according to city police. For comparison, there are roughly the same number of people in Toronto as Chicago (around 2.7 million), which reported 433 homicides in the same year, according to The Chicago Tribune.
College-bound Americans are flocking to McGill, the University of Toronto, the University of British Columbia, and other Canadian schools for world-class educations at a fraction of the Ivy League price tag.
Since 1988, Canada is one of the few countries in the world with no legal restrictions on a woman’s right to choose. It was the fourth country in the world to legalize gay marriage nationwide, almost a decade before the United States.
Nearly half of the land acreage is forested—161 million hectares, or 43% of the world’s certified, sustainably-managed forests. And their whales have horns. Like majestic sea-unicorns. That alone should put Canada at the tippy-top of the Human Development Index. Everything else is just gravy. (On anything but poutine.)
And with that, happy You Day, Canada. You’ve earned it.
With love and admiration,
A happy neighbo(u)r
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