1.13.2006

a patriot chooses canada

People frequently leave comments in the "Why Canada" post, which I wrote on my very first day of blogging.

Here's one I wanted to bring to your attention, by Greg E, an American, copied here with his permission.
I am an American who has lived with his Japanese wife in Tokyo for near nine years. Two years ago, we decided we wanted to raise our children in the West, and started looking at my homeland, as well as Canada, England, Australia and New Zealand. Of course, proximity to family was a powerful factor.

However, Canada has other strengths that those other countries don't. It has the second largest quantity of fresh water beside Russia, some of the largest forest and timber resources in the world, global warming is making its climate more livable rather than more hostile (bad overall, but it can be a benefit to most of Canada), its water tables are not falling as quickly as the States, and many more factors I could name that will bolster its resource power and ability to leverage them.

I am one of those Americans who loves my country. When I read or listen to a biography of a Founding Father, and George Washington in particular, I get that lump in my throat, when I hear the Constitution quoted, I get that shiver of awe in my spine. Jefferson fires my Freethought spirit, Franklin makes me proud of the ingenuity and work ethic of America, Roosevelt of the nobleness of serving the least of Americans and guiding the nation in the darkest of hours, and so on. Even if my children grow up Canadian, I will always be American.

But an American of an America that has vanished under the sea like an Atlantis. I go to Canada for my children. I go so that they will have a safety net, so that they can marry if they turn out to be gay, that they will not have to take a job they hate JUST to get decent insurance (though maybe to feed a family, hehe); so that they will not have to turn into animals in competition as water becomes the next scarce resource as the UN estimates, and so forth. Canadian patriots and politicians in the past have said it regarding the 90s (inaccurately), but my research shows that Canada has its best chance of rising to the ascendancy in the 21st century than it ever has, if it takes that torch and run with it. At least it will stand a fighting chance against the environmental hardships the U.S. will increasingly experience in the next century.

I have already filed my immigration application, and have mailed out my graduate school applications to Canadian schools. I will get in one way or the other. I have read much on what is right and wrong with Canada and have no fuzzy misconceptions about some frozen utopia.

I know I can always go home. But having moved internationally once (and back to North America soon to Canada), we want our children to live in one place and know a stable home. So in all likelihood, this will be our last move.

How do other Americans feel about moving to Canada? I feel both relieved for my family, but sad that I cannot stay and fight in America to try to save it from running off the tracks. I am normally not one to run from a fight. I at least look forward to making friends and a community in Canada and give something back to the country in return for taking us in and/or educating me.
Nice, eh? And sad.

Greg's feelings about the US aren't as foreign to me as you might think. There was a time on my own political journey when I shared his point of view. I also thought of America as a place of great promise and ideals, one that had fallen so far from the beautiful words of its founding, but that was always being pushed - by its best citizenry, with struggle and at their own peril - towards its potential. I was patriotic in the sense of the word I had learned from my parents, believing that true patriotism is wanting your country to live up to its ideals, to be the most democratic, the most egalitarian, nation it could be.

During the last 20 or 25 years, that all got knocked out of me. I came to view those beautiful words a sham, a smokescreen for a more practical, often brutal, agenda. I don't have any patriotism anymore; I have loyalty to ideas. With patriotism, you love your country no matter what. I'd rather love democracy, wherever it is found.

I say this with no disrespect for what Greg E has written. He's a braver person than I, choosing to leave a country he loves because he sees it with open eyes. It was easier for me and Allan; we couldn't stand it anymore, we just wanted out. Perhaps it's easier to sustain that patriotism from afar. Maybe living in Japan, Greg E can more readily connect with the ideal of America. Living there, the reality pressed on us every day. I don't know, I'm just wondering.

In an email, Greg said he'd like to hear how other American ex-pats feel about the US. These days most wmtc readers are Canadian, but not all. Many of the Americans who read this blog are working on their applications to emigrate, or waiting to hear from the CIC. Maybe some of them will share their thoughts.

35 comments:

Masnick96 said...

For me, it has always been the fact that Mason and I want something better for ourselves while at the same time choosing to have an adventure while we are still young enough to do so. I grew up being very proud to be an American. My parents struggled and scrapped by just to make it here for a new life and I am appreciative of that.

However, the United States of my parent's arrival no longer exists - it has been replaced by a twisted and theocratic version that is slowly turning into a police state. I guess I look at Canada the same why my own parents looked at the United States in 1962. A chance for freedom, prosperity and renewal.

Just two cents from this American waiting for CIC to call him :-)

doug said...

I am not a ex-pat but I did live in Saudi Arabia for two years in the early 90's working in the health profession and living in a American compound...but during that time I realized how much I missed Canada, my home and was anxious to get back

Canadians that complaibn about Canada either haven't ever left, or never travelled and seen the diversity this country has to offer, from Northern Ontario and the beauty of the northern Lake Superior shores, to the prairies, to the Rockies, the Okanagan, Vacouver Island (cathedral grove, Pacific Rim National Park), the east and through all that you see the vast expanse, the resources, but more importantly the people...

and in the original post I am glad to see a reference to the resources, and other variables besides politics, because policies, politics are fleeting...

our health care system will become a two tier system it is inevitable and in fact happening now, same sex marriage could be gone by the spring(depending on election), and the social net etc. will also go through a radical change..

So to move to another country unless in the extremes from moving from a oppressive regime etc. one neeeds to base it on more then policy that is occurring at that moment in ones own country or the country of destination because political policy is is ever-changing...

Canada is my country of destination but then again I am home, and home always tears at the visitors heart....ggod luck to all, and I give you all credit and hope as in U2's words find what your looking for..

Expat Traveler said...

I moved because I wanted something more. I know the US is going down hill and don't want to be part of this. I always felt I didn't belong. And as time went on, I knew I had made the right decision. I'm now 4 years out of the states.

Some of the sad realities I possess are dodging the following questions:

When asked where I'm from, I'll answer where I grew up but not what country I'm from. If you know your geography you will figure out it is from the states.

Do you miss your home? Sorry not one bit. I've moved on to other dreams. I want to live in Europe but since I was never part of the EU I have moved to where I am accepted and loved, Canada that is...

What do your parents think? They accept I don't want to live in the states and have come to accept I probably will never be back there.

and I share more of the thoughts of Laura...

L-girl said...

Hey, thanks for all these thoughts so far.

When asked where I'm from, I'll answer where I grew up but not what country I'm from.

Interesting! What do you say, exactly?

I was thinking about this regarding our trip to Peru. That will be the first time I am out of both the US and Canada since emigrating. When people ask, "Americano?", "Estados Unidos?" or "De donde estas?", what will I say?

I suppose the short answer to "Where are you from?" is "Canada". But I can't quite say I'm Canadian. So I guess the longer answer for real conversations is "I'm American, but I live in Canada."

Of course, it's much easier if folks just ask, "Norteamericano?" That hasn't changed. :)

L-girl said...

and in the original post I am glad to see a reference to the resources, and other variables besides politics, because policies, politics are fleeting...

Not in terms of a person's own lifetime, they're not. The changes that have occured in the US - political changes - are anything but fleeting! They are permanent enough to have radically changed American society.

Would Allan and I, Nick and Mason, and so many others, go through all this to leave the US for Canada over things fleeting?

our health care system will become a two tier system it is inevitable and in fact happening now, same sex marriage could be gone by the spring(depending on election), and the social net etc. will also go through a radical change.

This is ridiculous. No matter what changes are made to the health care system (which may in fact be positive changes), the system is not being dismantled - and that's what it would take to become like the US.

Same sex marriage will not be gone by spring. It will not be gone at all. I have only been watching Canadian politics for 2 or 3 years, but I know this.

I am dreading Stephen Harper's Conservatives winning this election, but let's not pretend they're about to re-make Canada. They won't have the power to do that, and Canadians won't stand for it - and you know it.

Granny said...

I've commented before about not being a position to leave the USA. Meantime, I'm doing what I can here.

I'd like to reprint the letter from your post today on isamericaburning .

You can reach me by clicking on granny or at ann.adams95340@gmail.com

Thanks,

L-girl said...

Granny, I'm glad you're out there fighting the good fight. I'm still doing what I can, long-distance.

I'll forward your comment to Greg, who wrote that letter. I'm sure he'll be happy to have you post it.

doug said...

how is it ridiculous, if you know are system our politics it is not only impossible it is very plausible...Conservatives win a majority, or a minority for that matter and they hold a free vote as they mention and same-sex marriage is gone...

sure Canadians may oppose it by that time it is to late, the Conservatives will have a 4 year mandate, were you here when Harris was in power, when Mulroney was in power believe me you will see radical changes...

I never said the health care system would be dismantled but it is being changed before our eyes, irrevocably so...private clinics are opening, London, Ontario has opened a private clinic where for $3,500 a year you are entitled to a list of services and care..so it will be a two-tier health system,

L-girl said...

The two-tier health care system is - obviously! - a matter of debate. It is debated constantly on this and dozens of other Canadian blogs. Not everyone agrees that the existence of a private clinic makes the system "two-tiered" (itself a loaded expression).

Re SSM, I repeat: ridiculous. Conservatives win and hold a free vote and it's gone? Just like that, after it's been declared consistent with the Charter and legal in 9 provinces?

I have no wish to spend part of my weekend debating you, as I did last Sunday. Perhaps someone else will take it on. If not, whatever.

doug said...

you state you've been here for 2-3 years and know our system, come on that's insulting....

were you here when Harris cut the meat inspectors in this province from 103 to 3 which lead to the Aylmer, Ontario meat situation,

were you here when the same Harris also eliminated water inspections and handed over resonsibility to the municipalities which lead to a whole community(Walkerton)having kids, community members dieing or the same man who decimated our school system which at one time was one of the most admired in the world, as constructed by Bill Davis(conservative)

read the headlines of the Toronto Star today, already BEFORE the election Harper is stating he will scrap Kyoto, re-visit the missile defence plan(which Canadians are opposed to) and scrapping the aid package to our natives...all that before a election tell me there's not worse to come AFTER

so don't lecture me on my country and the politics that exist within it, and don't insult me by stating that I've watched your politics for 2-3 years, go tell that to the families in Walkerton, in a country that has the most plentiful supply of freshwater in the world, in a rich country, in a community in the heart of that country a government inacted a policy that cost that community many lives, and hardship...tell them our government will never endanger Canadians...

orc said...

>> Re SSM, I repeat: ridiculous. Conservatives win and hold a free vote and it's gone? Just like that, after it's been declared consistent with the Charter and legal in 9 provinces? <<

Hmm. I'm not so sure it's sensible to dismiss it out of hand. I don't read as much Canadian politics as I should, but as the CPC's poll positions get better the polities they're promising get sillier (up to and including promising to got cap in hand to the United States over airspace sovereignty. Compared to that the whole business of dumping Kyoto [because that's what the GOP did in the United States, and the CPC really seems to love them some GOP!] and using the notwithstanding clause to kill marriage start to seem pretty like a pretty routine legislative move.)

I think that if the CPC manages to get a majority government things will get surprising in much the same way as things got surprising in the United States after the 2000 "election".

L-girl said...

you state you've been here for 2-3 years and know our system, come on that's insulting....

You misread me. Which is one of the reasons I don't want to debate you. Last Sunday you were mis-reading (whether purposely or not, I don't know) most of what people were writing.

I have been here only 4.5 months.

I have been studying and learning about the Canadian system only for 2 to 3 years.

I do not claim to know all about it. I would never presume that way. (The way you were presuming about how people in the US form their opinions.)

I have, however, been making it my business to study and learn everything I can about Canada and the Canadian system, as any long-term reader of my blog can well attest.

And I disagree with your reading. That's all. There are many lifelong Canadians here who will also, most likely, disagree. But they won't see fit to address you or anyone else this way.

I wasn't lecturing you. I was stating my view. You, on the other hand, might look at your own word choice.

Here's the thing, Doug. Here at wmtc, we discuss ideas and events. We don't always agree, but we're almost always friendly. If you can't post in the general spirit of the comments here, please don't post. It's a big internet, there are plenty of places for the kind of scrap you seem to enjoy.

L-girl said...

tell them our government will never endanger Canadians...

Did I ever make such a claim? If you go back and read every post and every comment, you will not find such a statement.

RobfromAlberta said...

you state you've been here for 2-3 years and know our system, come on that's insulting....

I've been here for 40 years and I see nothing inaccurate in what Laura says. The Canada Health Act has been adopted as policy by all major parties (and I might remind you, health is a provincial jurisdiction anyway), so there is no way a Conservative government in Ottawa can or will institute a "two-tier" health system.

As for SSM, a federal Conservative could repeal Bill C-38 which was the same-sex marriage bill. However, the Supreme Court has already ruled that same-sex marriage rights are protected by the Charter. Therefore, the government would either have to table new legislation which does basically the same thing as C-38 (perhaps with more protection for religious groups) or apply the notwithstanding clause, which Harper has categorically said he would not do. There is very little even a Conservative majority could do to curtail SSM.

As an aside, I disappeared for awhile as I needed a little cooldown, but I'm back now. I think though, I will steer clear of any political debates. They get my blood pressure up.

L-girl said...

I'm not so sure it's sensible to dismiss it out of hand.

I'm not, not at all. I'm saying this. A, the election hasn't happened yet. B, the Conservatives do not have a majority and we don't know that they will. C, they cannot wave a magic wand and make SSM disappear.

I personally don't believe it will happen, but my point was only that a Harper govt will not necessarily bring about the end of SSM. It is not that simple.

Compared to that the whole business of dumping Kyoto [because that's what the GOP did in the United States, and the CPC really seems to love them some GOP!] and using the notwithstanding clause to kill marriage start to seem pretty like a pretty routine legislative move.)

Using the notwithstanding clause to overturn Charter rights will never be a routine legislative move. I understand what you're saying, but I think it's more heat than light.

I think that if the CPC manages to get a majority government things will get surprising in much the same way as things got surprising in the United States after the 2000 "election".

I think that's a real misreading of Canadian politics. If they tried to become Bush/Cheney II, their govt would be very brief indeed. What's more, I still think a majority is unlikely.

doug said...

I've never been disrespectful, and I don't enjoy "scrapping" but to say it's ridiculous it's not that's all I'm saying the changes are coming...sorry if I insulted you..

I am dreading Stephen Harper's Conservatives winning this election, but let's not pretend they're about to re-make Canada. They won't have the power to do that, and Canadians won't stand for it - and you know it.

all I was saying is that they will have the power, whether we stand for it or not will be irrelevant until the next election, and all I know is that I have seen, lived through destructive policies in the last 10 years...

L-girl said...

As an aside, I disappeared for awhile as I needed a little cooldown, but I'm back now. I think though, I will steer clear of any political debates. They get my blood pressure up.

Rob, what great timing. I was about to pop over to your blog to ask if you had left wmtc altogether - not to pressure you, just to inquire.

I'm glad you're back, and I can't say I blame you for lying low.

doug said...

to robfromalberta you are exactly right health care is a provincial entity but in the last ten years radical changes have occurred in Alberta under Klein leading the way, and provinces slowly following to feel out public perceptions..but in the last 2 -3 years we have seen a radical shift

I am not talking of a instantaneous change but in 10-15 years the heath care system will be changed as we know it today..

the administrators at the hospital I work at can't wait for it to be privatized, in fact are angling for it at every turn, I see it and live it daily, that's all I'm saying

L-girl said...

in the last ten years radical changes have occurred in Alberta under Klein leading the way, and provinces slowly following to feel out public perceptions..but in the last 2 -3 years we have seen a radical shift

And since this has been happening for many years, it has nothing to do with Stephen Harper.

Some of the programs in Alberta are excellent, and downright enviable. I was reading about their pilot program that has drastically cut wait-times for joint replacement.

I am not talking of a instantaneous change but in 10-15 years the heath care system will be changed as we know it today.

Change may be inevitable. Change may be necessary. Whatever happens, it will arise from much debate and trial and error, probably in fits and starts the way its been happening.

The current system is not the only way things can be, it need not be destined to endure, unchanged, til the end of time.

doug said...

it's a misnomer actually that health is a provincial entity in that it is based and funded by the transfer payments supplied by the federal government...and run by the provinces, who in turn attempt to dictate to the health profession how to operate, which in turn leads to hospitals wanting out of the system, and setting up a two-tier system...so your point Laura was my original point the Health Care system will change, that's all I said originally...

anyway I was told to leave the site, so since it is your site I will do so...since I am a Canadian that is the only polite thng to do...

L-girl said...

anyway I was told to leave the site, so since it is your site I will do so

When were you told that? You don't read very carefully, do you?

RobfromAlberta said...

it's a misnomer actually that health is a provincial entity in that it is based and funded by the transfer payments supplied by the federal government

That's true, but funding is only based on whether the provinces abide by the five pillars of the Canada Health Act; 1)public administration, 2)comprehensiveness, 3)portability, 4)universality and 5)accessibility. As long as the provinces abide by those demands (and you will note, "non-profit" isn't one of them), there is no way Ottawa can restrict funding.

L-girl said...

In case anyone is looking for them, I deleted several posts - my own, Redsock's, and Doug's. They were off-topic, and completely useless.

Anyone wishing to return to the topics of this thread - or any of wmtc's threads - is welcome to. No one has been asked to leave.

As always, let's all try to be polite and respect each other's views. Let's also try to read carefully before posting, eh?

Echo Mouse said...

Getting back to the healthcare system, I would just like to say that London, Ontario is not...hmmm how to say this...I live in London and have for a long time now. Unfortunately. It's white bread, exclusive, unwelcoming to outsiders most of the time, and not a predictor of Canada. It may think it is , it may want to be, but honestly, the only reason a private clinic opened here is because there's an awful lot of money here. Very old money. And very cranky and bullish rich people.

So for anyone buying into the media push that since London is doing it, it must be the way Canada is headed - don't believe it. I don't. I know this city. It's many things but it is not a leader for Canada, despite what some of it's residents may think.

L-girl said...

Echo Mouse, interesting observation - thank you!

Unlike many Canadians, I don't think the existence or proliferation of for-profit clinics spell doom and disaster. (All doctors' offices are private, what's referred to as "private clinics" is really for-profit.)

Most countries with national health insurance have more of a mix of private and public health care than Canada. And despite what people say, this has not "ruined" their health care systems.

I think more for-profit clinics might improve Canada's system, as long as public funds aren't spent on them. That's critical, in my opinion.

I guess I should blog about this soon. It's sure to amass a ton of comments.

sharonapple said...

That's true, but funding is only based on whether the provinces abide by the five pillars of the Canada Health Act; 1)public administration, 2)comprehensiveness, 3)portability, 4)universality and 5)accessibility. As long as the provinces abide by those demands (and you will note, "non-profit" isn't one of them), there is no way Ottawa can restrict funding.

Which makes Jack Layton look like a bit of a jerk in his push to punish provinces that have private health care. (But then his stand really is that he doesn't want two possible systems -- a good one for the rich, and a broken one for the poor. We all have to suffer equally. I can respect his heart on the issue, but his head's a little off.)

I don't care about private clinics as long as no public money is given and they're watched. There was a private clinic in Toronto -- the King's Medical Centre -- which turned out to be a scam that funneled 100 million dollars to the Kovals. Then there's the Tenet situation -- where Medicare paid for hundred of unnecessary heart catherizationand bypasses so that the Tenet could make a profit. I'm not saying privitizations = scams; but whatever happens, it would be naive to think that any industry can regulate itself.

Oh, and if the people who turn to it then don't go around and make the argument that since they are not using the public system they should get a tax discount. Sorry, but it's like asking for a tax break because you don't use public transit or have never been on welfare. Plus, people benefit from other people being healthy, if only peripherally.

I don't think privitization will cure the problems in the current health care system. Privatization is just something that hasn't been tried in a number of years. If the government was serious, they'd move towards increasing the number of med. school programs, increasing enrollment, move towards nurse practioners, and helping immigrant doctors get work in Canada. Flood the damn country with doctors.

Also, they need to increase funding for the current system. Ontario's health care really took a turn for the worst when Mike Harris decided that there were "too many empty beds" and closed down hospitals. After that, stories started popping up of ambulances being unable to find free emergency rooms. We all got rebate cheques for hundreds of dollars, but he couldn't "find" the money to keep hospitals open.

As for politics, government can remake countries very quickly. American has changed under Bush -- and this is even in a system where power is split to act as a moderating influence. As Canadian ambassador Frank McKenna and even the American ambassador James Blanchard note -- unlike American (where Clinton couldn't even pass a simple health care bill) if you can convince the prime minister of something, it gets done. Canada has been re-made by a number of former prime minister. Trudeau made the government bilingual, opened immigration, and helped usher Canada's transformation from a conservative nature to a more liberal one in a relatively short period of time. We embrace it now, but when it occured, Trudeau was dragging us along.

L-girl said...

I don't care about private clinics as long as no public money is given and they're watched.

It's my understanding that that is the NDP position on private clinics.

Privatization is certainly not the way to go. More money into the public system is.

As for politics, government can remake countries very quickly. American has changed under Bush -- and this is even in a system where power is split to act as a moderating influence.

Those changes are the product of 20-25 years of rightward movement. Ther are so many examples of this, I don't know where to start. One big example would be the current fear over Alito. If the Supreme Court hadn't been remade piece by piece, one arch-conservative wouldn't be that troubling.

I'm not saying that a country can't be quickly remade, just that it hasn't happened that way in the current US. We're seeing a culmination, not a sudden revolution.

The moderating influence of Congress doesn't apply (or exist) because (a) the Republicans control Congress and (b) the Democrats are not an opposition party. Reagan, Bush I and Bush II all got most of whatever they wanted. Clinton got what he wanted when it suited the Conservative agenda (eg, the end of the federal guarantee of welfare).

L-girl said...

Also, my point wasn't that a country can't be quickly remade, ever. It was my opinion that Canada will not be remade by Stephen Harper.

doug said...

yes in response to echomouse I would agree as I grew up in London, (Old South)and lived there for 35 years, attending South Secondary school, and U.W.O.
(Kings College) and spending many a hour at the Ceeps...London is a city that is very white bread and run by a few (right now Tom Gosnell-Deputy Mayor) and his crew ...but in the hospital, health field what with University Hospital, St.Josephs, the Robarts Cancer clinic, the huge Health Sciences complex it pulls a lot of weight in terms of its policies, influence on the political scene...having sat as our department representative on the board, and the budgetary process it was a eye-opening experience to see the lobbying, pull London had/has in terms of provincial policy, funding....and everyone in the health field is looking to the London experiment as it is a different model entirely in terms of it's funding, status within the Ministry and it's service mandate

and is a proving to be a colossal success in it's early stages

doug said...

for anyone intersted in the true direction go to the Ontario Health Coalition website and see the analysis of Bill 8 which is the blueprint for how health services are to be delivered in the province, that's the Liberal Bill governing Health care

sharonapple said...

It's my understanding that that is the NDP position on private clinics.

It is. It's just that the NDP can been extremely stubborn at times about it. Layton withdrew support from the Liberals over the Public Health Care Protection Initiative because he didn't think the bill went far enough even though it outlined that public money couldn't fund private clinics and that doctors couldn't double-dip (work in private and public clinics). It seemed as though he wanted a direct confrontation with the provinces over the issue. Now, he's always been a scrapper, but it would have been a little suicidal to confront all of the premiers on his hit-list, especially Klein in Alberta (especially since it fits in the whole Ottawa vs. Alberta dynamic that people in the province believes exists).

Those changes are the product of 20-25 years of rightward movement. Ther are so many examples of this, I don't know where to start. One big example would be the current fear over Alito. If the Supreme Court hadn't been remade piece by piece, one arch-conservative wouldn't be that troubling.

You're right.

As for Harper, I just worry he'll be another Mike Harris. That guy did a bit of damage before his party was turfed.

L-girl said...

It's just that the NDP can been extremely stubborn at times about it.

With my newcomer's perspective, this is a huge, wonderful breath of fresh air. An actual opposition party! One that has principles and sticks to them! What a concept.

As for Harper, I just worry he'll be another Mike Harris. That guy did a bit of damage before his party was turfed.

I understand. Harper could certainly do a lot of damage.

I know folks think I'm crazy for this, but I'm not convinced he's going to win, and if he does, not with a majority.

Expat Traveler said...

Laura - I never really got back to looking at more comments. You asked where do I say I'm from?

I usually beat around the bush and say I was living in Switzerland last and now live in Canada. But I grew up in California. That's about all I will say... I usually don't even talk about California, but when people bring it up, they always ask why I would leave there?

I usually think...Can't I just say I'm from the EU... Still that is where I'd love to live although I'll probably always call Canada my home.

L-girl said...

Cool. Thanks, Jen.

I usually don't even talk about California, but when people bring it up, they always ask why I would leave there?

People in the Toronto area always ask why we would leave NYC! I always say, we love New York, but we wanted to leave the US.

SpaceNeedleBoy said...

I'm not an ex-pat but did seriously explore relocating to Canada a few years ago. Canada is a wonderful nation, with the exception of puzzlling Federal politics. It's good to chat with others who have opted to pursue living in Canada.