I know you've been slowly backing away from the US/Canadian comparison stories, but it's quite interesting to see the contrast.
It's true that I don't dwell on the US/Canada comparisons as much as I used to. As we approach the three-year mark at the end of this summer, it all seems so obvious now!
But I regularly get emails from people for whom it's not obvious: Americans who are considering emigrating to Canada, who are dreaming of moving to Canada but can't, who wonder how the countries really stack up. So with those people in mind, here you go.
To be an American is to be the best. Every American believes this. Their sports champions are not U.S. champions, they're world champions. Their corporations aren't the largest in the States, they're the largest on the planet. Their armies don't defend just America, they defend freedom.
Like the perpetual little brother, Canadians have always lived in the shadow of our American neighbours. We mock them for their uncultured ways, their brash talk and their insularity, but it's always been the thin laughter of the insecure. After all, says University of Lethbridge sociologist Reginald Bibby, a leading tracker of social trends, "Americans grow up with the sincere belief that their nation is a nation that is unique and special, literally called by something greater to be blessed and to be a blessing to people around the globe." Canadians can't compete with that.
But it turns out that while they've been out conquering the world, here in Canada we've been quietly working away at building better lives. While they've been pursuing happiness, we've been achieving it.
How do we know? You just have to look at the numbers. For our Canada Day special issue this year, Maclean's compared Canadians and Americans in every facet of our lives. We scoured census reports, polls, surveys, scientific studies, policy papers and consumer databases. We looked at who lives longer, who works more, who spends more time with friends, who travels more and who has more sex. We even found out who eats more vegetables.
After digging through the data, here's what we found: the staid, underpaid Canadian is dead. Believe it or not, we now have more wealth than Americans, even though we work shorter hours. We drink more often, but we live longer and have fewer diseases. We have more sex, more sex partners and we're more adventurous in bed, but we have fewer teen pregnancies and fewer sexually transmitted diseases. We spend more time with family and friends, and more time exploring the world. Even in crime we come out ahead: we're just as prone to break the law, but when we do it, we don't get shot. Most of the time, we don't even go to jail.
The data shows that it's the Canadians who are living it up, while Americans toil away, working longer hours to pay their mounting bills.
The writer, Duncan Hood, talks to several Canadians living in the US, including Christian Lander of Stuff White People Like. I didn't even know he was Canadian! (No wonder it got so much media time here.)
It's a good story, worth reading unless you've had your fill of cross-border comparisons. The US as Duncan Hood describes it sounds a lot more like the one I know than, for example, the US that Michael Adams describes in Fire and Ice. I only disagree with one sentence:
In the U.S., as long as you have a good insurance plan, you have access to the best health care in the world. MRI machines are available on an hour's notice, there's plenty of staff, and the specialists are the finest there are.
Everyone who has seen "Sicko" knows that's not true. Indeed, you can have an extremely expensive, seemingly excellent insurance plan, and still not have coverage when you need it.
Other than that, I see a lot of truth reflected in this story. The full story is online here; enjoy. And thanks, Scott!