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Guest Opinion

O Canada, how should we govern?


First and foremost, I love this country and I’ve always been proud to say I’m an American wherever I’ve traveled. Lately it seems there are many of my fellow citizens that don’t share those sentiments.

Complaints about our sometimes dysfunctional government (certainly justified), protests, racial strife, political polarization, gun violence, drugs, and immigration problems, just to name a few, are in the news every day.

So, I decided to sit down and do some research as to where things are better for us to go so we can live a more peaceful and less turbulent life. I didn’t have to look too far. Canada. Here are some very interesting and indisputable facts:

• Health care costs are 35% lower than in the U.S. with Canada’s single-payer system.

• Consumer prices are 12% lower.

• Groceries on average are 15% lower.

• Rent is 21% lower.

• The murder rate is 23 times higher in the U.S. Violent crime are three times higher.

But what really stands out is Canada’s immigration policy, which is such a hot-button topic here.

Canada actively solicits immigrants and has done so for years. More than 20% of all Canadians are foreign born.

Why is Canadian public opinion on immigration so different from ours?

The answers are quite interesting.

Canadians are convinced of the positive economic benefits of immigration and believe immigrants create jobs. Most immigrants to Canada are authorized under a points system tied to their credentials and employment potential. About half of Canadian immigrants have bachelor’s degrees and evidence suggests that the balance of immigrants are highly skilled in one trade or another and are net contributors.

Secondly, Canadians see multiculturalism as an important component of national identity.

Other factors allow Canada to be more inviting.

The country worries little about illegal immigration. Like the U.S., it shares a long southern border with a country suffering from high levels of crime, gun violence, drugs, and income inequality.

But there aren’t millions of Americans yearning to get into Canada. That reduces unauthorized immigration and eases public anxiety about it like we have at the southern border.

Incidentally, the emphasis on multiculturalism points to an interesting normative distinction between the U.S. and Canada. Both this country and Canada have robust legal protections against discrimination. But here you rarely hear somebody advocate for immigration on the grounds that it adds to the social fabric of the country.

Canada has its problems to be sure, but it seems to have a much better handle on the issues that plague our country.

Maybe it wouldn’t be such a bad idea to suggest that our so-called divided political leaders in Congress and the Senate who never seem to compromise on anything for the American good should visit our friendly neighbors to the north on one of their many recesses and holiday breaks and take a working vacation to be schooled on how to govern.

As for me, despite all our supposed problems in this great country, I’m staying put here in Bucks County. Life is good. For those who continue to protest and complain how bad we have it, I suggest you pack some warm clothing and look to the north if they will have you.

Larry Whitlow lives in New Hope.

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