Tuesday, August 14, 2012

A Canadian perspective.

Our little half-Canadian. August 2012.    

My in-laws have a group Facebook page for their very large extended family.  A place for them to write memories, share pictures, and give updates on what they are doing.  Each month, someone volunteers to do an update.  Birthdays.  Interesting facts.  Or a story they remember from that month while growing up.  This month, I volunteered to do the update.  Actually, my husband did but since he doesn't have a Facebook account, he did it through mine.  And it was so good, I decided to share it.  Maybe it will offend some of you hard-core Americans or maybe it will help give you a different perspective from someone who grew up Canadian but is now an American.  I certainly found it interesting.  Here you go:


Is it August already?  Goodness, it seems like just last week we were wearing jackets and snow boots and looking forward to leaves on trees. 

We are especially happy to give this month's update since it coincides with our visit to this fine country.  It's been more than a year since we last saw Alberta, but this time we are three.  We've enjoyed watching Alice meet this big family.  She has many more names and faces to learn, but she will pick them up quickly.

As of August 2012 there are fewer than 3 months before the next US presidential election.  We are political junkies generally but we are even more interested in the next election now that we are parents.   It's funny how what used to be purely political entertainment, not more meaningful than the Oilers vs. the Flames hockey game, now keeps us up at night.  Since most of you readers are Canadian, allow us to remind you how great you and your children have it.
  1. You have a Parliamentary system of government.  Your Prime Minister is the leader of the country and also the leader of the party that creates the nation's laws.  He can set the agenda for the nation and where legislation is required, he can set the agenda for Parliament.  When Americans vote in presidential elections, they think they are voting for the leader of the country.  In practice, it doesn't really work that way, and that's why the US government cannot get anything important done.
  2. You have sensible controls over money in politics.  Democracy works best when the people's voices can be heard. In America, the presidential race is a giant popularity contest and popularity is measured by dollars raised from millionaires and billionaires.  We love President Obama and we want to see him in office for another 4 years. But we're not sure we would donate to his campaign.  The whole campaign finance model is just unfair and wasteful.
  3. You live in a country that values basic health and has woven those values into the main institutions of a modern society: tax, governance, and a single-payer health care system. Even if you fear losing your job in this fragile economy, you don't fear losing your job and then losing your life or going bankrupt because of unpaid medical bills.  Or, even if your job is secure but you always wanted to strike out on your own and start your own business, you don't hesitate out of fear of losing health insurance and getting too sick to support yourself.  Many Americans fear higher taxes.  They don't realize that their health care system is one gigantic tax on innovation and entrepreneurship and in fact causes 67% of all personal bankruptcies.
We just spent a week with family and a long weekend by ourselves in Canmore.  We were reminded of all the obvious reasons to love this country: wide open spaces, physical beauty, and great people.  But when we are in Boston and we wear our Canada t-shirts down to the local cafe on a weekend morning, we're not just thinking of your mountain streams and your funny accents.  

You live in a great country and we love being here.



  1. Yes! Hooray for Canada! My husband and I joke weekly (well, now that we have kids it has become more than a joke) about moving there. This post makes us love Canada even more! (and the last, with the gorgeous pictures, of course)

    Lovely post.

  2. Well said. I wish we were more like our neighboring country. Glad you had a good time on your trip. I can't believe how big Alice is- so super cute!

  3. Just got to love your husbands witty comments. So glad you've been having such a good time. The pictures you have posted from Canada, Alice and your family are wonderful. Miss them. xo

  4. I don't consider myself democrat or republican (and dread even voting this year, but I will do it because you are supposed to, right?)

    I agree with a lot of what he wrote! It was very well written.

  5. My husband would move back to Canada tomorrow if I'd say yes. More for the skiing/mountain biking than the political system, though maybe if Tony Abbott (catholic, speedo wearing, anti-feminist, lying slimeball) wins the next election.
    The Australian political system is the same as Canada. We also have a government funded healthcare system (I didn't pay anything to have Lulu - no hospital bills & we stayed in 7 days!) and social security. We're pretty lucky to live here.


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