Canadian commenters rallied to the defense of their single-payer health-care system at this site on my previous post.
At least half the 1400 comments came from Canadians furious at the way their cherished health-care system is being trashed by the American right. And, as I wrote, we Americans who've used the "socialistic" Canadian health system know it works quite well.
But we can learn a lot more from our more progressive "upstairs" neighbors about socialism and international matters.
How many Americans know what's on the back of a Canadian $10 bill?
A. A female U.N. peacekeeper with binoculars.
Think we'll see anything like that in the U.S. soon, where the looneytoons at Fox News and their followers are ever on the lookout for the U.N.'s black helicopters?
Canada takes its international obligations seriously. It's lost a lot of soldiers in Afghanistan the past decade. Also, much has been made of feckless Louisiana GOP governor Bobby Jindal's Indian ancestry as a sign of racial progress.
But a decade ago, British Columbia elected Punjab-born Ujjal Dev Singh Dosanjhh as its Premier (B.C.'s equivalent of a governor).
And, on top of that, he was -- brace yourselves - a socialist! And the province is still functioning!
His socialist NDP party has been a major political party in Canada for decades.
Living in Canada, as my wife and I did, is an experience that permanently changes most American expats.
You learn that a bit of socialism, properly applied, benefits everyone -- and makes for a better society. (Another: It's sure as hell nice to live in a safe place without handguns. But we'll save that for another day). Ironically, it got harder this month to enter the U.S. from Canada. Passports or enhanced I.D. are now required. That's absurd. If anything, it should be the other way around. After all, WE'RE the loud, gun-owning types living downstairs who could know or care less about their neighbors. We're the ones who drive bigger vehicles -- and who don't have medical insurance.
Socialism Run Amok!
When my wife and I first moved to Montreal, this then-Republican thought it was dangerous socialism when the province of Manitoba took over - socialized -- the auto-insurance business.
The result: Province-wide no-fault insurance that cost every Manitoban exactly $49. (Socialism! The horror!) Yes, taxes in Canada are higher, but so are government services.
Closing out today's Canada 101, a few more interesting things you may not know about our decent and respectable northern neighbors:
- There is no income tax deduction in Canada for home-mortgage interest. And amazingly, somehow Canadians still manage to buy homes.
- There are no full-ride athletic scholarships handed out by Canadian universities (And few if any of the felony arrests that typically festoon U.S. sports pages).
- And the best for last: There hasn't been a single bank failure in Canada this past year. Canada probably has the world's most stable banking system. No sub-prime shenanigans up north.
So, government-run health care is only one thing we Americans can learn from Canada and its "left-leaning" political leaders.
Finally, on most issues, even Canada's ruling Conservative Party is to the left of our own Democratic Party. That tells you a lot.