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In late October — during the height of the health care debate in the U.S. — I wrote about how in contrast to their neighbor to the south, where health care is a commodity, Canada has, so far, treated it like a human right:
TORONTO, Canada – It’s a bit of a sport in Canada to watch Americans at war with themselves.
There’s nothing malicious about it: We’re a generally bored and inward-looking bunch, so when our neighbors unleash another full-blown clash over ideology, we’re grateful for the distraction and the front row seat.
Pure entertainment value is part of the attraction — like the congressman who, during a town hall meeting on health care reform, said he refrained from pissing on a protester’s leg for fear of wasting his urine, or Rush Limbaugh huffing and puffing about socialist hordes at the gates.
Laughs aside, the American tendency to treat policy debates as life and death struggles over “the American way of life” reminds many Canadians, rightly or wrongly, of how lucky they are to be living north of the border. It’s hard not to feel civically more evolved when, in some U.S. states, people can legally show up at presidential speeches sporting handguns or assault rifles.
U.S. culture wars, in other words, often reinforce Canada’s national identity.
The latest to have that effect is U.S. President Barack Obama’s attempt to extend health care coverage to the 47 million, mostly working Americans, who can’t afford private medical insurance. ...
For the rest of my article, click here.