I'm sure some of my American readers will probably be pissed off by this blog, but with the screaming insanity of July 4th over and done with for another year, I felt it needed to be said, with points to back me up on it, that the USA is a seriously screwed up country whose national pride is seriously misplaced, and while Canada isn't perfect, we're a lot better as a country and as a place to live. And no, I certainly don't think ALL US citizens are delusional raving patriots claiming their cesspool of bigotry and religious insanity is the best country on Earth, several of my American friends are painfully aware how bad it really is. Sadly mostly because they're on the shit end of that stick fighting for basic equality with rightwing nutjobs who want them to be forever second class.
So let's get into it. These are, in my opinion at least, reasons why Canada hands the USA it's ass as a country.
1. Universal Health Care.
The rich white Right in the States has gone out of their way to gut any attempt in the States to implement real health care. They protect their privatized interests, and actively fight to keep the poorest people suffering with access to good medical care. The Tea Baggers and Republicans have any number of complete bullshit reasons, such as how "Obamacare" somehow will facistly stomp out all their god-given freedoms etc etc yadda yadda, but in the end it boils down to three things. First, it means they lose some of their cushy rich folk tax breaks they sure as bloody fuck don't deserve and will have to *GASP!!!* Contribute FAIRLY proportionate to their income!!! OH THE HORROR! Mah munnay gonna take care o dem nasty po peeples! I'm gettin the vapours! Second, universal health care means them nasty GAYZ would get decent medical treatment too, and GOD FORBID any RRW money goes to taking care of gay health. Finally, universal health care would mean even immigrants could be taken care of properly in emergencies because Doctors would be paid anyway. No RRW will ever willingly allow their money to pay for an immigrant to survive a life-threatenening injury suffered doing work they'd never lower themselves to. So the USA is stuck in a perpetual quagmire and any health care reform bill ever introduced there will never do it's job because the RRW will always fight tooth and nail against it for purely selfish reasons, and they'll always win because the government listens to the mnoney, not the people. Which brings me to #2.
2. Our Government listens to the votes, not the money.
Sure we have asshole lobbyists in Canada trying to bully politicians and influence policy, just like down south. Except up here, they rarely succeed. Take Same-sex marriage for example. In 2005 under the Liberal Government, voters across Canada legalized it. When the Liberals were outed in the next federal election and Stephen Harper's Conservatives became the leaders in the House, right-wing lobbyists tried to bully Harper into having another vote to rescind it, ala California's Prop 8. Harper, as a Conservative, would have been happy to do so PERSONALLY and had admitted as much, but votes cost money and Canadian Voters had been through two Federal election capaigns in under a year. So he put out a national poll to the voters asking US if we wanted another vote on same-sex marriage. Over 80% of the country responded NO, the issue was settled, just move on already. And so Stephen Harper told the Lobbyists sorry no sale, the voters are fine with things as they are. While I don't like a lot of Harper's right leaning policies, I respect that he like most Canadian leaders, listens to the actual voters, and doesn't give in to pressure from lobbyists who generally represent only a small chunk of the populace. Unlike in the US where lobbyists from anti-gay groups can bully any politician into an election on gay rights issues and can then pad the election, cheat basically, by outright scaring naive voters with blatant lies to get the election result they want. Which leads me to #3.
3. WHY Same-Sex Marriage got voted in.
Unlike the US, Elections Canada has strict rules governing political ads. There are limits to how much can be spent on ad campaigns to level the playing field. There are fundraising limits, and caps to donation amounts. There are also equal time rules for TV spots. So any station airing an ad from the no side had to immediately follow up with an ad from the yes side to be fair and unbiased. Unlike in the states where TV stations can freely choose which party's ads to play and whoever raises the most money can spend disgusting amounts of money on the sole goal of getting elected, in Canada, the playing field is BY LAW, fair and balanced, in a way Fox News only dreams of being. So every time a fear-mongering religious organization aired an ad swearing t3h gayz would destroy Canada if Same-Sex Marriage passed, it was immediately followed by this -
And guess what? It WORKED! Because of the Fairness In Elections laws, people who were bombarded with Gathering Storm style anti-gay fearmongering ads would immediately be reassured the fearmongering was bullshit and *GASP!!!* Gay folks were just like everyone else. So while the approach of the Canadian Yes on Same Sex Marriage campaign's theme was basically "Let us suffer like the rest of you", it still reached people equally because the law here makes sure everyone gets equal time and people can never win an election solely by throwing money at it.
4. We don't need an Enda.
ENDA style equality protections under the law have been set in stone in Canada for over 40 years, since Canada's greatest Prime Minister ever, Pierre Elliot Trudeau, decided that the government had no goddamned business in the nation's bedrooms, and set out to convince the rest of the country to vote in agreement. Of course the Right in Canada, which was his own party, tried to oppose it with pretty much the same fearmongering the USA's right does, but where Barack Obama is sitting around with his thumb up his ass remaining eerily quiet on all those gay issues, Trudeau was horrified at the treatment of people in his country because of something that should be personal business in his opinion and so started his campaign. What started it? In 1965, Everett Klippert acknowledged to police that he was gay, had sex with men over a 24-year period, and was unlikely to change. In 1967, Klippert was sent to prison indefinitely as a "dangerous sex offender," a sentence which was backed up by the Supreme Court of Canada that same year. Trudeau, who was then the Justice Minister, was horrified that Klippert went to jail for his sex life which was hurting no one. He began researching the laws, and on December 22nd 1967 proposed his amendments to the Criminal Code. Of his proposals, Trudeau said,
"It's certainly the most extensive revision of the Criminal Code since the 1950s and, in terms of the subject matter it deals with, I feel that it has knocked down a lot of totems and over-ridden a lot of taboos and I feel that in that sense it is new. It's bringing the laws of the land up to contemporary society I think. Take this thing on homosexuality. I think the view we take here is that there's no place for the state in the bedrooms of the nation. I think that what's done in private between adults doesn't concern the Criminal Code. When it becomes public this is a different matter, or when it relates to minors this is a different matter."
In 1969 after two years of debating, voting, and passage through the house, his amendments were adopted, and on July 20th 1971 after another two years of legal wrangling to get the law enfoeced in hindsight, Klippert was released from jail and Pardoned unconditionally. The snowball just rolled downhill from there, as more equality laws and protections followed. Alberta, being the most Conservative province in the country, was of course always last to adopt most protection clauses, fighting to dfefend it's right to fire a gay university professor as recently as 1991, but in the end, because of Trudeau's Criminal Code revisions, the Supreme court ruled against Alberta and the provincial government was forced to include sexual orientation in it's protection clauses beside religion and race. So thanks to Trudeau, in Canada, we don't need an ENDA, because we made discrimination against gay folks in employment and housing, and by police, illegal DECADES ago.
5. SRS is covered across country.
Granted, the provisions don't cover airfare to your doctor of choice, and most Provinces do have a cap on the amount that will be paid, so higher end surgeons like Toby Meltzer wouldn't be elligible as a surgeon choice under Pharmacare, and you'd still have to scrounge up your own travel money, but unlike in the USA where so many of my sisters have to resort to porn and prostitution to just survive, let alone save up for SRS and even just paying for HRT, in Canada, in every Province and Territory, EVEN Alberta, (who admittedly tried to quietly quash the coverage and failed), HRT is covered and your SRS is basically paid for. Hell in some provinces you can even apply to have facial hair removal by electrolosys covered. Although that one baffles me slightly, as Laser removal is NEVER approved for coverage even though it's cheaper than electro and less likely to scar, but oh well.
6. Our Military has proud out Gays and Lesbians.
And to the shock of NO ONE with a brain, it hasn't made one goddamn bit of difference in military readiness or effectiveness. The biggest problem in OUR military is the hetero colonel who was arrested earlier this year after being revealed to be a serial killer. But there have been no reports of gay shower rape or limp-wristed parades. ABSOLUTELY NONE of the evil terrifying consequences of openly gay soldiers that the US RRW are fearmongering about have ever come to pass here. Ironically it was DADT in the USA in 1992 that prompted the discussion up here, and it must've been a short discussion becaise in 1992 it was quietly announced that the Canadian military was removing all rules against gays serving openly. And as far as I can tell researching it, no one gave a fuck up here. There weren't even any notable religious protests. So a point to all the RRW folks fighting against a DADT repeal in the USA? Stuff it, Canada PROVES your fears are completely full of shit. OUR gay soldiers are serving right alongside YOUR gay soldiers in Afghanistan & Iraq, dying for YOUR country because YOUR army needed OURS to back you up in your illegal wars, and the gay soldiers of both countries are doing their best doing a job NO soldier should be doing right now, dying for oil and George Bush's lies just like the straight soldiers. The only, I repeat ONLY difference being OUR gay soldiers and YOUR gay soldiers is that OUR gay soldiers aren't being asked to disgrace the uniform by lying through their teeth about WHO THEY ARE. The biggest risk of gay soldiers in the US Military is severe depression issues from having to lie causing job performance issues. Fortunately for your army, gays are used to being expected to lie about who they are to keep the RRW comfortable, so they suck it up a lot better than any of the haters ever could.
6. Immigration isn't the anti-Christ up here.
This one is plain and simple. We don't have the huge immigration problems of the States because we have sane stable manageable Immigration Laws and our processes, while time-consuming, are reasonable and fair. We also don't mistreat and persecute our immigrants, as there are job protections for them to prevent the rampant abuse and mistreatment suffered by immigrants coming into America.
7. Because of all this, OUR economy isn't in the tank.
Granted we do still have a national debt but it isn't in the trillions, and we haven't had to give anyone bail-outs. Our economy is stable and reasonably healthy. Why? Because of everything I just listed above. Our fair election laws mean less money wasted on campaigns goes back into the budget. Our equality laws mean we have a better job force, as our unemployment rates are exceptionally low compared to the USA. While there are always lawsuits going on up here, there aren't near as many and there are so very few rampantly frivolous lawsuits wasting the courts' time and money. Same-Sex marriage in Canada has been a HUGE boost to tourism in Canada, mostly from disgruntled American gays coming up here to have their love honored and recognised. That's AMERICAN money pouring into OUR budget keeping OUR economy stable because American lawsare so fucking retarded when it comes to basic human equality that the USA is basically forcing a good chunk of it's population to take its money elsewhere. Because of our military policy, we aren't experiencing costly military losses of personnel and job turnover that the USA suffers every time DADT forces a soldier's dismissal in the US. We also aren't wasting billions on immigration issues, because OUR immigration system works. Oh, and let's not forget the single biggest reason Canada Trumps USA ass, and another contributing factor in why our economy is better, which is...
8. We aren't spending trillions each year on a misguided losing war on drugs.
Granted we do have drug enforcement, but OUR Drug cops actually focus on getting dangerous drugs off the streets. We don't waste billions every year on completely pointless advertising against marijuana that has been repeatedly proven ineffective. We've even decriminalized small amounts because we know that weed is mostly harmless and NOT the big evil gateway drug the USA's DEA wants you all to believe it is. WE even acknowledge the truth about why Marijuana was REALLY first criminalized by making use of HEMP in product making LEGAL. So we spend literally billions less on drugs than the USA does, and OUR Drug Task Forces actually focus their energy, resources and attention where they NEED to be; On the criminals who bring cocaine and meth to the streets, not on pointless campaigns villyifying a recreational HERB that has NEVER killed ANYONE.
Am I proud to be a Canadian? You're damned right I am. But unlike the louder American Patriots, I don't run around screaming Canada is the greatest country on earth. I just know we're better than the USA in a LOT of critical areas. Which brings me to the final reason why Canada kicks USA ass.
9. WE acknowledge our flaws and try to improve them.
The greatest arrogance of the USA that pisses off the rest of the world is their goddamn EGO. Americans are frequently caught on TV chanting USA USA! and claiming to be the greatest country on Earth. And when the DECENT Americans, the intelligent honest ones, try to point out the serious problems that the USA needs to address, they get overwhelmed and silenced, told that they're being unpatriotic or unAmerican, told not to buck the system. In this day and age some even still have the Communist label dropped on them. MacCarthyism never went away, it just changed it's tactics. I mean just look at how the Dixie Chicks were shamefully abused and shit on for years, all because they had the courage to publicly criticize a deplorable President. In Canada when we see something wrong with our country we talk about it. We ADMIT it, we have votes, conferences, studies, referendums, anything that needs to be done to find a way to fix it. We don't bully those who stand up and speak out. We admit we're not perfect and we don't go out of our way to silence dissent. It's only because the current US President is black that it's suddenly become okay to publicly shit on him. Racism is still rampant in the USA whether Americans want to accept it or not. But prior to Obama, when Dubbya was still in the big chair, how often would you hear the Un-American/IUnpatriotic accusations being tossed around whenever people spoke ouit loudly against Bush's policies? Hell in your country a politician recently said he wants to send his female senate opponent back to the kitchen, and he got away with ignoring the resulting public outrage by pawning it off on his staff. If a politician in Canada had said something so blatantly sexist in his official public campaign for office, his party would oust him immediately to avoid bad press.
So there you have it. With Canada Day and Independance Day now both in the books for 2010, these are my reasons why I think Canada had a lot more worth celebrating as a country this year, while the USA has a fuckload to be ashamed of. Feel free to comment on it. I'm sure a lot of you have opinions and I welcome them. But I'd like to point out that all my points are established fact, not just blind opinion. And that's the saddest part of all for the USA.