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."

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