It’s Canada Day, which means that a week after demonstrating our pride in same-sex “marriage”, fisting, and surgical castration in the service of self-identified gender, we can now be proud of just being Canadian. Or can we? For the past fifty years or so, Canadian patriotism has been indistinguishable from a rankly condescending posture of superiority to AmeriKKKa. When animadverting on Americans as flag-waving jingoists, Canadians become positively jingoistic. I recently heard a national celebrity boasting about how “modest” we Canadians are, apparently unaware that this rather shopworn hymn of praise is self-refuting: i.e., lauding oneself for modesty is immodest.
I was reminded of Canadians’ insufferable smugness yet again when, in the presence of a group of my students, I evinced the longstanding avidity of Mrs. P and me to escape our world-class city and buy one of the magnificent Federal houses we have seen for sale in Virginia, South Carolina, and Maryland, for one third of the price of our Toronto residence. The shrieks of horror were spontaneous and universal. Didn’t I know how unpleasant life is in the States? Didn’t I know that I’d no longer enjoy “free health care”?
I am aware that, for progressives, socialized medicine—like unrestricted abortion—is a sacrament. But it’s hard not to respond to the solecism that it’s “free”, and the concomitant stretchers that in America everyone is beggared by the cost of private health insurance, without which they are turned away to die quietly on hospitals steps.
Let’s leave aside that wait times to see a specialist in Canada are sometimes fatal; that it’s always advisable to bring your pillow from home if you have to visit the emergency department; and that hospital corridors are so full of gurneys that one is put in mind of the make-shift facilities erected on the sites of Civil War battlefields.
These are just some of the symptoms of our terminally morbid system of “free” healthcare. Beyond them, it remains incumbent on the remnant of the sane to educate Canada’s patriots on a few other simple facts.
- No one is refused medical care in America because they can’t afford (or don’t choose to purchase) private insurance. Those who fall within the rather generously defined category of the poor receive Medicaid (74 million, or nearly 20% of the population) in conjunction with the panoply of their other welfare benefits; the elderly (44 million, or roughly 15%) universally qualify for Medicare. Another 1% are entitled to medical care as military veterans. Most working Americans have their health insurance provided by their employers, which covers very nearly half of the U.S. population (49%). That leaves approximately 7% of self-employed Americans who must purchase insurance out of pocket. But I can’t even feel sorry for them because…
- Their expenditures are more than offset by the fact that, relative to Canada, the U.S. standard of living is on average higher, while the cost of living is lower. (Surely Canadian patriots have noticed this whenever they cross the border to go shopping for cheap American goods and fill up their cars with cheap American gasoline.) Groceries, fuel, electronics, automobiles, and especially houses all cost significantly less in the U.S. than in Canada. And on top of that—or rather, not on top of that—Americans don’t pay federal sales tax on every product they buy or service they contract for.
Of course, in the past decade or so Canadian patriotism has “progressed” beyond mere anti-Americanism. As Justin Trudeau has just explained it, Canada Day is a celebration of the “uniquely” Canadian “values” of “multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion”. Perhaps I am temperamentally unpatriotic, but “Give me diversity or give me death” doesn’t quite do it for me.
Over the centuries, citizens have gone to war in defence of their countries’ “values”. But would anyone lay down his life for such vacuous abstractions as “multiculturalism, diversity, and inclusion”? In any case, as we all know, “multiculturalism” (as it is currently exhorted by the State) means separatism, tribalism, and the cynical exploitation of identify politics. And “diversity and inclusion” are most accurately defined as “ideological uniformity and exclusion” (viz., their Orwellian opposites.) It is thus hardly “inclusive” for the Prime Minister, as head of the entire country, to insist that on Canada Day citizens make obeisance to progressive dogmas to which at least half of the electorate does not subscribe.