Canada - Of The United States of America

by: Mat Harrison for:
Mr. Harkins
HCN OA1 I.E. Weldon Secondary School
November 14, 1996

The Canadian identity has always been difficult to define. We, as
Canadians, have continued to define ourselves by reference to what we are not -
American - rather than in terms of our own national history and tradition. This
is ironic since the United States is continuing to be allowed by Canadians to
take over our economy and literally buy our country. Culturally Canada has its
own distinct government and institutions which differ and are better from those
in the United States, but economically the country has been all but sold out to
America. The major cultural differences to be examined are that of Canada\'s
strong government, institutions such as welfare and universal healthcare, and
our profound respect for law and authority. These establishments make Canada a
separate nation from the USA. Economically, it will be examined how Canada has
become a victim to Americanization through the purchase of Canada with our own
money, the shocking statistics of Canada\'s foreign ownership, and the final
payment for our country, free trade. All in all we have our own government, our
own flag, our own anthem; but are we really Canadian or a not quite United State
of America?

In Canada, strong government involvement plays an immense role in
determining the destiny of its people for the good of the society.

In Canada you are reminded of the government every day. It parades before you.
It is not content to be the servant, but will be the master...
Henry David Thoreau, 18861

Although slightly outdated, as of 1982 47.3 percent of Canada\'s GNP was in
government hands, compared with 38% in the United States. Government spending
in Canada was 24.4% greater than in the U.S. and if you subtract the U.S.\'s
excessive national defense spending, the gap between the two countries
considerable widens.2 The United States has adopted a more Freudian “survival
of the fittest” concept towards government where the rights of the individual
are predominant and industry is publicly owned and run with little help from the
government. Although there is some government control and ownership of industry
in both countries it is much more common in Canada where “the state has always
dominated and shaped the ... economy.”3

Of 400 top industrial firms, 25 were controlled by federal or provincial
governments. Of the top 50 industrialists, all ranked by sales, 7 were either
wholly owned or controlled by the federal or provincial governments. For
financial institutions, 9 of the top 25 were federally or provincially owned or
controlled ....4

Also, Canadian subsidies to business and employment in public enterprise were
five times the level in the U.S. Government involvement is a crutial part of the
distinctness of our Canadian identity.

Similar variations occur with respect to Canada\'s welfare policies.
They are clearly implemented for the good of the society, giving aid to any
citizen in need. This system is considered superior to that of the United
States where some people have no source of income whatsoever and no chance to
claim welfare. Welfare policies have generally been adopted earlier in Canada
and tend to be “more advanced in terms of program development, coverage, and
benefits”.5 Another advanced Canadian institution is that of Canada\'s famous
universal health care system. Although it is a complex system its highlights
consist of: government run, non profit insurance plan that uses public funds to
pay for a private, comprehensive system.6 The concept of the program being
universal means that the service is available to all Canadians regardless of
income. This system has been said by many to be Canada\'s most successful and
popular program globally. It also separates us from the misconception that we
are similar to Americans.

Perhaps as important for our national identity, the Canadian approach to health
insurance also clearly distinguishes us from the United States. The fact that
we have developed such a different system suggests that we really are a separate
people, with different political and cultural values. Even better our system
works well while the American alternative does not.7

In the U.S. there are forty million people, more than the entire population of
Canada, who have no health insurance.8 And even the best medical insurance plan
in the U.S.A. only covers 31.5% of expenses.9 Moreover, the Canadian systems
costs are well below that of the U.S. and have produced lower infant mortality
rates and longer life expectancy.

In 1986, average out-of-pocket expenditures for health care were $1135 per
household in the United States, and $446(US) in Canada. For hospitals and
physicians American households