Opinion: Thankful to be a Canadian

I recently had a conversation with an American woman that got me thinking about the perks of being a Canadian. 

We met over breakfast on a cruise ship. Once she found out I wasn’t from her country she started asking some interesting questions. But first off she shared that her friend who was still sleeping off the previous night’s entertainment wanted to come and live in Canada. 

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What’s the difference? my new lady friend asked. Is it because you’re so much smaller that you get along better with each other? I had to think about that. I guess the best part about being fewer people in a larger country is that there’s somewhere to go if you really get tired of each other. 

She had really enjoyed being in Victoria the day before and likened all Canadians to the pleasant tour guides and shopkeepers. You’re all so polite, she enthused. Well, I thought, you’ve never been on an airplane with a welder coming from Cape Breton to work at the Site C dam by Fort St. John. I’ve heard cussing in my time but he topped all. But I suppose you could say he was polite; he did call me ma’am. 

We talked further about the differences in our homelands. I opined that our gun laws are much stricter and that has made the incidence of mass shootings less prevalent. I had the upper hand in that conversation because she was utterly unfamiliar with our laws. She was under the impression that all of us packed pistols too. When the subject came around to the horrible slaughter at the high school in Florida last year, she agreed that tougher laws might have made a difference. Why would anyone need an automatic firearm? she wondered. Why indeed? 

Next up we talked about health care. She had had surgery on her face in the past as I did this summer. When I told her that all costs associated with my particular health care had been paid for, she was surprised. Universal health care was a strange concept to her and I could tell she wasn’t sold on the fairness of it. “I just don’t know,” she said. She’s from California and is concerned with the advent of even more taxes. 

We talked some more about the lack of pensions for many people in the States. She worries about her son-in-law, who is set to retire from the armed forces at age 51. She wonders how he will provide for his family. 

Overall our conversation made me thankful I’m a Canadian. Next week when I vote I will look carefully for the candidate who promises to keep my country such a wonderful place to live. I hope you do the same.

 

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