John Leo

The customary problems of socialized medicine.
A 2000 report from the Heritage Foundation found long waiting lists, government rationing, and substandard care in Canada?s system. Drug spending is controlled, according to the report, by limiting the number of approved drugs and slowing down the approval process. In one four-year period, Canada approved only 24 of 400 new drugs. Keep coming down here for healthcare, Canadians.

A national infatuation with censorship.
Canadians tend to be a benign people who value niceness. So they have a strong tendency to suppress speech that they see as lacking in niceness. Un-nice books and videos are seized at the border or banned from libraries. Any material cited for ?undue exploitation of sex? or for being ?degrading or dehumanizing? can be banned.

Speech is illegal if it ?promotes hatred? or spreads ?false news.? Advertising ?directed at children? can be ruled illegal. If the recorded message on your answering machine is deemed discriminatory, you can be prosecuted for it. In Saskatchewan, a newspaper ad listing four biblical citations against homosexuality (just the listing, no text), accompanied by two hand-holding male stick figures with a line drawn across them, was ruled a human-rights offense, and the man who placed the ad was directed to pay $1,800 each to three gay men who were offended by the ad. ?Canadians put up with an insane amount of crap that Americans might not,? said David Sutherland, former director of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

Canada?s trying to be European.
Canada has been aping trends in Europe, from the obsession with multiculturalism, the rising contempt for religion, greater censorship, and even a declining birthrate. Canada?s birthrate is 1.49 children per woman, well below the replacement level of 2.1. Canada?s elites behave much like those of the United States, favoring judicially imposed decisions over democratic and legislative ones. In Canada, a smaller and less varied nation than the United States, the elites meet less resistance. But there are signs of a pushback. Though the Canadian and American press consistently give the impression that gay marriage is overwhelmingly favored in Canada, a February 2 National Post/Global National poll found that two thirds of Canadians oppose gay marriage and would likely vote against it in a national plebiscite. The polls suggest that Canadians are close to Americans on this issue. It?s elite opinion and judges that make Canada look different.

John Leo

John Leo is editor of and a former contributing editor at U.S. News and World Report.

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