The Canadians we have met here in the resort town of Tofino, BC are very chatty, especially when they encounter an American who has some basic knowledge of their country. We did a full day kayak trip yesterday, just us and a young guide, and have also had spotty exchanges with various people – the gal at the book store this morning was especially interesting. A few things we have picked up:
- Stephen Harper is very unpopular but like George W. Bush manages to hold on the power via various low and high crimes.
- Harper is doing the right-wing thing, pushing that agenda no matter how unpopular, attacking health care and tax structure, education and the general social support system.
- Right wingers generally try to get as much done as possible in a feverish push while in power, knowing they’ll be tossed on their ear. Then they rely on an Obama-type to put a ratchet in place and prevent backsliding.
- So Harper is a short-timer but sadly has been around long enough to inflict huge damage.
- Most Canadian provinces are happy with Canada as it was. Ontario tends to be the right-wing seat.
- Ontario, as I remember, is also the place where the Canadian health care system is most stressed.
- But Canadians do not cross the border for health care. They do not do this in absolute droves.
- Harper is pushing the national health care system to shut down small local clinics. Apparently they are not cost efficient.
- That, of course, is a gut-shot at the system – easy access to care for average people throughout the country. He must know this.
- Canadians don’t have to worry about health care when they travel, and always know their kids are taken care of no matter where they are in the provinces, but not the states below.
- Our book store clerk this AM said she is being hounded by collection agency people because she did not pay her $800 Medicare premium last year. Note, however, that this does not shut her out of the system. Health care is a right up here.
- Did she say $800? Gadzooks! Americans spend that much on health care before breakfast, most of it going down rat holes and passed on to rent seekers.
- I sympathized with her, but she’s Canadian, and so doesn’t know what naked predator capitalism looks like.
- Until she is sleeping in a gutter and also chased by collection agencies for student loans while dying of an untreated tumor, she won’t know how good she has it.
- Harper appears to want to Americanize Canada.
Everything is relative. Canadians, especially young ones we have met, are so fresh and unspoiled, friendly and unassuming (and thin and attractive), that it’s a pleasure to be around them. I’ve only pissed off one so far, a barista who thought I said Americano instead of latte. She banged things around and probably mumbled about goddamned Americans as she made the new drink. I couldn’t quite make out her words, but Canadians do swear on occasion, it appears.