George Graham

America Could Do Worse Than Copy “Socialist” Canada

I remember Canada before it became “socialist.” I recall squat brick buildings, a stultifying Anglophile culture, old-fashioned trolley cars and beer parlors where men had to sit in one room and “ladies and escorts” in another. The Canadian economy was dominated by America, and the people who controlled the Canadian media were cowed by the English tradition.

They were so impressed by “the mother country” that nobody with an “ethnic” accent could host a television show. A Scottish friend, the late (talented) Gordon Donaldson had to leave one of the networks after some viewers complained that he pronounced “moon” (during coverage of the moon landings) as “mun.” The complaint was that “mun” was a dirty word in some European language.

Fast-forward to today – after decades of Canadian “socialism.” This is how Maclean’s Magazine, the undisputed flagship of Canada’s print media, sums up the current state of affairs on a recent cover:

We’re wealthier and healthier (than Americans), we work less and live longer. And we’re way more, um. romantic.

In its thorough Canadian way, the magazine examines statistics from such sources as census reports, polls, surveys, scientific studies, policy papers and consumer databases. And it quotes page after page of its findings to show that Canadians are generally better off than Americans in just about every facet of life.

“We looked at who lives longer, who works more, who spends more time with friends, who travels more and who has more sex,” the magazine explained. “After digging through the data, here’s what we found: The staid, underpaid Canadian is dead. Believe it or not, we now have more wealth than Americans, even though we work shorter hours. We drink more often, but we live longer and have fewer diseases… Canadians are “living it up,” while Americans toil away, working longer hours to pay their mounting bills.”

StewartO.K. Maclean’s is Canadian, and you might wonder if the magazine is biased. So let me refer you to a former schoolmate, Jamaican Butch Stewart (photo at left). In an interview with Butch (published today), here’s what Jamaica’s Daily Gleaner had to say about Canada:

With the global economy in a tailspin, Canada’s relatively sane economy has produced the company’s (Sandals resorts) fastest-growing market… “Everywhere you go, there seems to be this doom and gloom, but Canada seems to be doing well,” Stewart says. “It shows you the effect of a strong economy. We are seeing a lot more well-heeled Canadians at our resorts.” Only five years ago, Canada accounted for seven per cent of the company’s revenues. Today, it’s closer to 17.5 per cent, thanks to a Canadian dollar near par with the U.S. greenback.

Tell that to politicians who claim a government health-care system would endanger the lives of Americans and who incessantly warn voters about the twin bogeymen of “liberalism” and “socialism.” Compared with America, Canada has embraced both – and Canada is prospering while America is wilting.

About the author

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com