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|THUNDER ON THE RIGHT - May2011|
|Written by Paul Jackson|
THUNDER ON THE RIGHT
By Paul Jackson
Oh, Oh - I’ll have to do the Nelson Eddy and Jeanette MacDonald gig about Rose Marie country again. Yup, hints of the Song of the Mounties and Indian Love Call.
Following my April column on Canada’s economic and financial stability readers - yes, I still have a few of those - ask what else is different about the Land of the Maple Leaf compared to that of the Star-Spangled Banner.
My April column was spurred by a piece by Jim Bacon in the Washington Times with Bacon suggesting Canada, second largest country in the world, but with a population equal only to that of California, is now the land of the future because it is so well governed and without the blights of the USA.
Here, I’ll confess, Bacon never mentioned the long and arduous Canadian frigid winters summed up neatly by an advertising campaign for a car battery that went something like this, “Starts at 40-F below zero, or we pay the tow.” Ever heard of a block heater? It’s under your hood in every Canadian car and when you park you plug it into an outside electrical socket to keep your battery and oil warm. On an average winter day here exposed flesh freezes within a minute. Americans think they are tough - and they are - but to withstand a Canadian winter one has to be really tough.
On to other topics:
Last year Canada accepted 280,000 legal immigrants. Since the USA has a population 10 times as large as Canada, that’s like the USA welcoming 2.8 million legal immigrants in a single year. This year Canada will accept another 250,000 legal immigrants - in equivalent USA terms, 2.5 million. Since most of our immigrants are from former British colonies or Commonwealth countries - in Africa, or Pakistan, India, Hong Kong and the like - they tend to speak English, have been bought up in a British-style educational system, and a British-style public service culture so tend to assimilate well.
There are few crimes committed with firearms. With extremely rare exceptions, personal possession of handguns has been banned since 1935, and to buy even a simple hunting rifle involves exhaustive police checks and security measures. The police make sure you have not the slightest criminal record, and authorities might go to your doctor, your employer and likely check with your neighbors - even your local bartender. Then, if you are allowed a hunting rifle, it must be stored in the trunk of your car when in use, not on display. At home, both the rifle and ammunition must be kept separately and under lock and key to prevent thefts.
As well as the traditional ‘baby bonus’ and a special allowance for parents who have a child with disabilities, the federal government recently instituted a program in which every family receives an additional $100 a month for each child five years of age and under. This was designed to give parents a choice of either using it to pay to send their children to daycare, or allow the mother to stay at home and nurture them herself.
Oh, don’t try to smoke in Canada. Cigarettes cost $12 and up a pack. All cigarette advertising is banned, and so are even displays of cigarettes. Stores selling cigarettes have to have them hidden from view, like ‘girlie’ magazines of old, and new laws mean 75% of a cigarette pack must show ghoulish pictures of people dying of lung cancer and so on. Why? Because smoking related diseases are threatening to undermine the country’s ‘free’ health care system. No wonder only 17% of Canadians now smoke.
Now, back to the weather issue - nope, I think even I will pass on that.