Like many Americans, I’ve been entertaining thoughts of emigrating to Canada. Lynne and I just got back from a vacation with stays in Niagara Falls, Toronto, and Vancouver, and I’ve paid many visits to other Canadian locales. I ♥ Canada and its people! Here are just a few reasons I might like to live there:
- Diversity and tolerance. Canada could hardly be more multicultural. Its doors have long been open to refugees and other immigrants (although the welcome mat is showing wear these days), and people from all over live there in apparent harmony. Canada was a decade ahead of the US in legalizing same-sex marriage. The Canadian flag and the gay rainbow flag both flew at half-staff outside Vancouver’s City Hall after the Orlando massacre, and I heard nobody using the tragedy as an excuse to vilify Muslims, frayed doormat notwithstanding.
- Sensible gun laws. Lots of Canadians have guns — even the kind used in the Orlando bloodbath — but licensing requirements are strict. Canadians seldom shoot each other, even accidentally, and mass shootings are all but unheard of.
- Good, affordable health care. Our vacation included a visit to a Toronto emergency room, where a doctor saw us right away. Four hours later, after a CT scan, an EKG, blood tests, and another talk with the doctor, we were back on the road with the test results and a diagnosis (nothing serious). Our New York doctor backed up the diagnosis and commended the Toronto doctor’s work. We just got the bill: a total of $1,300. I shudder to think what all that would have cost in the US.
- Good manners. Yes, Canadian niceness is a stereotype, but it is based on reality. I’ve never encountered rudeness in Canada; well, okay, maybe once in Quebec City a long time ago, when I proved unable to communicate in French. Canadians typically show consideration for others and an eagerness to help. When we asked directions on this trip, people often took the trouble to lead us where we wanted to go. Pedestrians make way for each other. Canadians don’t seem to litter much or congregate in doorways. We heard no foul language and saw no road rage. Even my own mood and manners improved while we were there.
Soon after crossing back into the US, though, I was lobbing F-bombs at drivers who honk the instant a traffic light turns green, then rolling my eyes when the couple ahead of us took forever to check in at our upstate New York hotel. I grumbled about the children rampaging in the room adjoining ours, pounded on the wall we shared, then pounded more forcefully when they were still shrieking at midnight. I’m just not nice enough to become a Canadian. My emigrating there could only lower the national standard and break a few more strands of that welcome mat.
Even if Canada would welcome us, the USA is my home country, and I’m highly unlikely to abandon it regardless of what happens in November. But still my heart sighs, O Canada.