6.29.2006

new here, again

More from the Toronto Star's report on diversity and immigration:
He and his wife, Shweta, have a 2-year-old son, Om, who speaks English and Hindi, likes cricket and basketball and enjoys Bollywood as well as Hollywood movies. He is, says Tandon, the new face of a multicultural Canada, melding his birthright as a Canadian with the advantages of his cultural heritage.

Tandon hopes Om will learn Cantonese and Mandarin someday, to give him a competitive advantage in a global marketplace. In Canada, anything is possible — his son could aspire to be prime minister, he says.

"I'm living my dream. It's not the one I came with, but it's still good."
* * * *
The new face of Canada smokes and drinks less and is more physically active than the general population, according to a sweeping poll examining the behaviours and social attitudes of immigrant Canadians.

For a country that loves its beer and bars, the results of the survey may sound sacrilegious.

But the poll, conducted by the Solutions Research Group, raises the welcome possibility that a population practising healthier lifestyles could eventually save the $100 billion public health care system millions of dollars in doctors visits and medical treatment for certain diseases, including lung cancer.
* * * *

There is no comparison," says Julie Kamarashavu, a 35-year-old administrative assistant who works in a downtown Toronto office. She arrived here eight years ago, pregnant and a refugee from war-torn Zaire, now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

A week after landing in Toronto, she gave birth to a son at St. Joseph's Health Centre and was overwhelmed by the generous care she received. For relatives back home, she says, every doctor's visit, every blood test and every day spent in hospital is paid out-of-pocket. Often, treatment is withheld until the money is paid upfront.

"I was just, like, 'Oh my God, so this is Canada. This is really amazing.' I called my mother after and said, 'If you knew how I got the baby, just like a princess with nurses around, it was just like a dream. And I didn't pay anything.'"
I'm from a supposedly First World country, and I was fortunate enough to always have health insurance there, but I still share Ms Kamarashavu's sense of wonder at Canada's health care system. I understand what she means when she says, "Oh my god, so this is Canada."

8 comments:

tornwordo said...

I had a friend come to visit from the states and she needed to visit a clinic because she poked her eye on a bush. They asked for $60 to see the doctor since she was American. We both thought that was cheap.

Then after the doctor examined her, and put drops in her eyes and gave her a prescription for more drops, he pulled $20 out and gave it back to her and said, "It's only $40 today."

Talk about slack jawed. Can you imagine an American doctor doing that?

L-girl said...

They asked for $60 to see the doctor since she was American.

Because she was American, or because she wasn't covered by the provincial health insurance?

Lone Primate said...

I had a friend who visited from Los Angeles about ten years back. During his trip, he developed a kidney stone, and we took him to the hospital. Despite being self-employed and well-off, he was denied health insurance in the States because of a liver condition. All the hospital really had to go on was his promise to pay the bill when he got home. They treated him (including a morphine shot) and released him to, ah, let nature take its course, which it did. When he got home to LA, he did pay the bill. On the one hand, I was surprised how little grief they gave him. But on the other hand, what were they supposed to do, leave him writhing in agony on the concrete? But that that's even a possibility chills my blood and makes me an ardent defender of Canada's medicare system.

aaron b said...

But the poll, conducted by the Solutions Research Group, raises the welcome possibility that a population practising healthier lifestyles could eventually save the $100 billion public health care system millions of dollars in doctors visits and medical treatment for certain diseases, including lung cancer.
===
Thank you for mentioning this. It's the main issue I have with all reports on how to improve the Canadian healthcare system, and it can be summed up with that old cliché: save a penny, earn a pound.

If the government were to invest in preventative healthcare the way it's promising to throw money at the military, imagine how much money would be saved, and how much suffering would be avoided!

L-girl said...

If the government were to invest in preventative healthcare the way it's promising to throw money at the military, imagine how much money would be saved, and how much suffering would be avoided!

From my perspective as an American, Canada gets very high marks on preventative health care. Health care information is readily available, and you can see a doctor regularly, at no out-of-pocket cost.

MSS said...

"supposedly First World country," indeed.

I just came back from a short trip to the First World. I'd never been to Quebec before. Loved it.

Fortunately, I have never needed medical care while travelling, but the overall quality of public goods (mass transit, airports, etc.) on that side of the border, compared to this side, is something that I always take note of.

L-girl said...

the overall quality of public goods (mass transit, airports, etc.) on that side of the border, compared to this side, is something that I always take note of.

Torontonians talk about the service cuts and visible decline of Toronto since the Mike Harris admin. I don't doubt it, but to my eyes, accustomed to US cities, Toronto always looks so clean and well cared for.

James said...

From my perspective as an American, Canada gets very high marks on preventative health care. Health care information is readily available, and you can see a doctor regularly, at no out-of-pocket cost.

I'm currently reading Chris Mooney's The Republican War on Science. It has an excellent chapter on how the Bush Admin has been helping various food industries carte blanche in undermining nutritional science, up to and including smearing individual scientists for recommending limiting one's sugar intake, and insisting that there's no link between sugar and obesity.

Torontonians talk about the service cuts and visible decline of Toronto since the Mike Harris admin. I don't doubt it, but to my eyes, accustomed to US cities, Toronto always looks so clean and well cared for.

It is, but it's not what it used to be. For one thing, panhandling has skyrocketted. Harris's boys gutted a lot of public housing and rehab programs, leaving a lot of people with nowhere to go.