My wife and I have been discussing for a while now our escalating disappointment with the United States' political and cultural environment.  Even under Obama, who we both regard as orders of magnitude better than Bush II, things haven't gotten much better.  Whatever meager victories we've seen for progressivity under Obama, there's so much more to go and even this smidgen of advancement has seemingly turned the electorate (or a depressingly large portion of it) into something just short of a torch-and-pitchfork-brandishing mob.

 

She grew up in South Carolina, and I moved there in 2000.  This year I took a job that moved us to Alabama.  All around us we see an increasingly strident and almost-violent tone in right-wing political rhetoric.  We see the local school district allowing the local religionists onto the grounds, station them in a main passageway inside the school, and allow them to hand out religious tracts and those pocket-sized New Testaments to the kids.  We watch political ads that attack politicians for "supporting teaching evolution in our schools".

 

Then we look north, and while we know Canada isn't perfect we see a place that seems so much more... civilized is the only way to describe it.  We see a country who's cities consistently make top-10 lists of where to live in the world.  We watch documentaries such as Sicko or Bowling for Columbine that point out the differences in Canadian culture vs. the US and think to ourselves how nice it must be. 

 

So tell me, my Canadian friends, is it as good as Mr. Moore paints it?  Is it as nice and friendly as I remember it from weekend trips up to Toronto I used to take prior to moving down south?

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In my experience, Canadians are on average a lot less religious than Americans, so if the amount of evangelism in your area is a problem for you, you'd probably be more comfortable in a larger Canadian city. If conservative politics bother you as well, avoid rural areas and stick to the cities, especially if you move out west.

As for how good Mr. Moore paints it, never ever think what you see on TV or in movies, even documentaries, is accurate or complete. Watching shows that talk about how nice Canada is and actually living through a winter in Toronto (or Vancouver in November when we're all ready to float away or hang ourselves because of all the rain) are, of course, two different things--like watching anime and Iron Chef and thinking you know what it's like to live in Japan, y'know? ;)

I recently moved to the US and can say from my experience being from Vancouver that people are a lot more genuinely friendly and helpful in California than back home. I found Canada more expensive--even my medication on my private US insurance is less than it was in Canada. My husband and I both found the job market very limiting in different ways--he couldn't find jobs that were willing to pay him for his considerable experience and training and I couldn't find jobs for recent graduates in the industries I had training in.

Not that Canada is all bad! There is a LOT of it and you should try to see as much as you can. People don't get too heated about politics--we talk about it a lot, we even complain, but I can't see Canadians going all Tea Party any time soon. The violent crime rate seems to be lower in Canada but I don't have numbers so can't say that with confidence. You can get good, good whole wheat Shreddies in Canada. You get to use crazy words like "loonie" and "toque". Also, after living in Canada just a short while you can say, "Ya hoser", "Take off, eh?", and, "I'm not your buddy, guy!" legitimately.
crime rate statistics are a mixed bag, I just happened to read a whole bunch of government stats on this last night. West of Ontario, a great many Canadian cities have crime rates comparable to the USA. However, in Eastern Canada, crime is noticeably lower.

Canadians, especially West, have the reputation of being very friendly, but it's only a facade and doesn't mean much, Americans are more sincere. Someone hates you or loves you and you really KNOW it, in Canada you're always guessing because people are so bloody polite. Myself I'll take REAL over polite any day.
That depends what crimes you are referring to. Per capita, Canada has much less violent crime than the USA. There are usually less than 1000 gun deaths in all of Canada in an entire year.

I also respectfully disagree with your assessment that Western Canadians are coldly polite. I've lived in 4 countries so far in my life, and three major Canadian cities, and Vancouver was by far the friendliest and the most caring. I've personally witnessed complete strangers running to the aid of a women who had tripped and fallen. Another time, I was going down the escalator at the Granville Skytrain station, and I saw an elderly gentleman fall down the entire length of the escalator. As I was running to help him, I dropped my handbag, and as it tumbled down, my wallet opened and my money and change flew out. As I called stayed with the old gentleman, two street looking girls collected my purse, belongings and my money and handed it back to me. This wouldn't have happened in New York. These are but two examples out of many I could give you.

Apart from the general costs of things, I do feel that Canada is much better than the USA to live. When you compare small town to small town there isn't the same degree of religious fervor that currently strangles small town America. There is also not the same degree of racism here. I've certainly never witnessed it. Not to mention I don't have to worry about locking my doors while I am home, or don't fear going out at night. Things like car jackings, and gang banging are also much more rare.

I also much prefer the health care here. It is not without its flaws, however there is something to be said about not having to worry if my husband finds himself out of work, and we end up with a medical emergency, like a broken arm, that the needed trip to the hospital won't bankrupt us.

As far as complaining that Canada is the only Western Civilized country to not have any islands in the sun is hilariously petty.

I've never been bothered by the cops, and I've never been harranged for not having children or for being a little overweight or even for not being particularly ambitious in my career. I have a job where I'm happy, and I'm satisfied with that. I've also never once witnessed a Canadian shop keeper refuse, much less spit on anyone for having US money. US money is a reality here, and even the smallest mom and pop shops have a US conversion rate above their cash register.

We get it, you have your issues with Canada, but it's not nearly as bad as you're attempting to paint it.

PS - I concur with your assessment of Harper 100%. Bush Jr. is spot on.
the crime rates I'm referring to were recently published by McCleans and are a composite of various crimes: Murder/rape/burglary/car theft and a few others. Our worst cities are no better than the USA's, of course, both countries have really quiet cities too...

I've been harangued a few times by cops in Canada, once on a sidewalk for chatting with 2 people, no action, nothing weird, told to "move on"... once for kissing (kissing only) my boyfriend on a public bench in Guelph... told it was not appropriate behavior...

and then there's the fact that police have infiltrated every single activist group and public demonstration in the past couple of decades, then plant "agents provocateurs" to make demonstrators look evil, so they can go ahead and mace everyone!

As for friendly people, there are tons of friendly helpful people in the USA, maybe New York is a bit hardball, but I've always found people down there to be extremely helpful.

Racism... Canadians are quite racist, we just don't say it aloud... Notice Obama is the first visible minority to be elected head of state in any country (other than sitautions like Rwanda or Iraq). Yes there are racists left in the USA, but most of the population have moved on...

As for me, I've lived in Ecuador, USA (continent and P.R.), S.Africa, Trinidad, and travelled to many other places. And SE Florida remains in my top 2, for the sheer joy of life people have there.

If we made a subjective list (as best we could) there is no doubt education and healthcare would come out on top for Canada, but there are loads of areas where USA would come out on top.

And yes, religiosity is more common in the USA. But the USA constitution has better protection of secularity than Canada has... we are at risk of losing all if people do not wake up, cuz our constitution explicitly does NOT mandate out religion from public life.
My goodness, but you have had exceedingly bad luck with the police!! I, myself have never been asked to "move along", even when standing with a large group of people, or kissing my boyfriend/husband in public. I can't think of anyone of my friends who have ever complained of such treatment.

I googled articles from MacLeans magazine and discovered that Canada ranks just under New Zealand for murders, at an average of 1.8 per 100 000 people, a mere one-third of the United States. In fact, according to MacLeans magazine, Canada's overall crime rate has dropped by 40 percent from it's peak in 1975. And as far as prisoners per 100, 000, the United states sits at 760, while Canada sits at a mere 116.

I have personally marched in several protests from gay rights to marijuana legalization and aside from the police presence that lead the way and clear the streets for the marches, they have never been aggressive in any of the marches I have personally been in. That being said, I am aware of instances where they have overstepped their authority, and the public outrage has been swift and merciless. Considering, in Vancouver, there are marches just about every week for something or another, when you look at the sheer amount of protests every year, the instances where police act inappropriately is actually very low.

As for Canadians being racist, I really have to call you to the curb for that one. Every job I have ever worked in Canada, I have worked with Asians, East Indians, Middle Eastern, etc. You name it. I have personally seen young people call others out for racist remarks. Your claim that most of the racist population in the USA has "moved on" is nothing short of hilarious. One needs only look at the Tea Party for evidence that racism is alive and well in America.

I'd be interested in seeing the parts of the American Constitution that has better protection to secularity [sic] than Canada has. While the Canadian Constitution does not mandate OUT religion from our life, it most certainly does not mandate it IN either. I am remarkably free from religion here, and have been since they stopped reading the bible and saying the lords prayer, back when I was in grade 5. (And yes, I realize I just dated myself with that).

I get the feeling your harsh judgment of this country is clouded by a few isolated incidents, but they are not indicative of the experiences many Canadians face. You mentioned you enjoy living in Florida. There is nothing wrong with that, and if you prefer Florida to Canada, then by all means, I hope you continue to live there and enjoy your life. However, I am merely offering a counter to your ire that Canada is not nearly as bad as you have painted her to be.

I guess the bottom line is, you had a shitty time here, I haven't. I've found Canada to be an amazing place to live, and although I have a duo citizenship, I have no intention of leaving.
I don't want to argue for the sake of argument, since much of this is a matter of WHAT we value most in a society, and we possibly place different values on different aspects.

But about racism... one more item... You have clearly left out our native americans... Yes Canada goes all moochie moochie to protect all the rights of newly arrived immigrants and their stupid religions... BUT between 1920 and 1970 we committed cultural genocided on our ENTIRE first nations through residential schooling. And when there are land battles, a majority of Canadians say to our "indians" "oh move on already". We trample on their rights, we let them live in abject poverty, we continue to steal their land.

On top of that, my fellow newfies (yes I was born in NFLD) actually wiped the Beothuks off the face of the planet. Scientists are searching for remaining bloodlines, with no luck. They are gone. Our First Nations are struggling with substance abuse resulting from all the sexual/religious mistreatment and aculturation that went on those schools.

As for black people, yes way back then blacks took refuge in Canada, but today, investigations have shown that when a black couple and a white couple visit the same apartments for rent... statistically, people will chose white.

Canadians are very QUIET about their racism, as being quiet is very much a part of English Canadian culture.
Hilarious. You're bringing up atrocities against First Nations between 1920 and 1970? Shall we get into American history regarding it's indigenous people while you're at it? Perhaps you would like to compare Canada to any country where the religious Europeans took over a nation and treated the indigenous people as anything other than second citizens.

Were they wronged? Hell yes. Have they been apologized to, and has Canada taken steps to rectify past injustices? Yes.

I'd be interested in seeing these statistics you claim to have seen where interracial couples lose apartments to white people en masse, as you claim. Don't forget to provide a link to the actual statistic.

And while you're at it, I'm also waiting for you to provide proof that the American Constitution has better protection to "secularity" than Canada.

It seems you are making an awful lot of noise, but you have very little to back your claims up with.

Racism exists in every country and in every culture. But to say that Canadians are, in general, racist, albeit quietly, is sheer poppycock.
sorry but my research has been done, obviously you need to spend some time on that. google it yourself... spend some hours
Spoken like someone who doesn't have the chops to back up their claims.

I thought as much.
No, just not time enough to do research for people who don't want research themselves...
Hmmm, interesting that I cannot reply to your very last comment, but I'll address it here.

So far I've actually taken the time to research your claims, and I've found them all to be without merit. Apparently the only one who is not bothering to research their claims is you.

I looked up the MacLeans articles you cited (yet couldn't be bothered to double check the spelling for), and the article interestingly stated the exact opposite to your claims.

I took the time to search for statistical proof that interracial couples are routinely bypassed for white couple when apartment searching, and guess what? There is absolutely nothing that backs your claim.

Tell me, did you make up the word "secularity" in order to make your non-researched claims that the American Constitution has better protection to the non-religious than Canada does? Have you actually read the Constitutions?

It's abundantly clear which of us is bothering to research our points, and it's not you.

If it's merely the last word you're after, just say so. But please do not make false claims that you have researched your allegations when you clearly have not.
yep debates are cut short by ning... but frankly you have contributed absolutely nothing but ad hominem here, so debating is really pointless.

You have proven out my initial post that some uber nationalist Canadian would pop in here with exactly your tone.

But at least you've made made me laugh... "did you make up the word "secularity" " A ha ha ha ha ha ha ha
secularity as per wikipedia

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