In the past few couple of months, it has become evident that Donald Trump is a serious threat to win the Republican nomination for President of the United States. With this realization, many celebrities who don't have much between their ears, voiced their new plan to move north if he is elected. He's down in the polls recently, but stranger things have happened.
The first problem with these people, whether celebrity or not, saying they will move up here, is that Canada doesn't just open its doors to everyone just because they throw their arms in the air and say "I don't like it where I live, it sucks, can I come hang out with you guys?" In fact, there are criteria that must be met in order to qualify to immigrate to the country, even from our delightful neighbor, the United States. Secondly, another concern is that, Canada may not be what these people think it is.
There are a ton of misconceptions and rumors that make certain people think Canada is a lot better or worse than it really is. From healthcare and politics to history and climate, here are fifteen rumors and myths than everyone needs to stop believing about the northern ice block known as Canada.
25 Canadians Burned Down the White House
I'll give out a free history lesson right off the bat. Many patriotic and misinformed people seem to think that Canadian soldiers or people from Canada burned down the White House during the War of 1812. The event happened, there is no question, but it was not Canadians. It was soldiers from Great Britain. Canada, the country, did not exist until 1867 and while the lands now known as Ontario and Quebec were called Upper and Lower Canada, respectively, but Canada was not an independent nation and the burning of Washington D.C. and the White House was carried out by British soldiers.
24 The Beer
Plain and simple, folks, beer is not stronger or necessarily better in Canada. In terms of strength, beers from all over the world vary in alcohol by volume and as such, different brews pack a quicker buzz. In terms of quality, it also depends on what you shop for. In Canada, we have our share of garbage, mass-produced beer that is basically carbonated sewage. But if you go anywhere that craft brewing is allowed, you will find superior selection and quality. This is as true of the United States as it is Canada and anywhere else where there are dedicated, passionate brewers. This is not to say Canada doesn't have great beer, but rather to indicate that beer is an art, and when diligent brewers, regardless of location and nationality, commit to their craft, it is a true thing of beauty.
23 Everyone Is Really Friendly
21 Everyone Speaks French Fluently
20 All Canadians Play (or like) Hockey
Don't get us wrong, the country still shuts down if the Canadian national team is playing for the gold, but there are plenty of Canadians who do not care for hockey. Furthermore, hockey is not our only national sport, until 1994 it was lacrosse.
19 It's Always Cold
18 It's a Weed Wonderland
When some Americans think of Canada, they think marijuana. Apparently the weed up here is great, plentiful, and not frowned upon or illegal. Well, it is still illegal, and while small amounts for personal use are seldom prosecuted in any serious way, if a cop does see you smoking a joint, he'll likely take it away and issue a stern warning. Medical pot is legal everywhere, but if you dare to roll one to unwind at the end of the day, you should probably do so at home and quietly.
16 Canada is Incredibly Safe
The thing about safety in Canada is a lot like safety anywhere in the developed world. You're probably okay if you stay in a nice neighborhood, and even if you go to the nasty part of any city, you should be fine as long as you mind your own business and don't go looking for trouble. With that said however, crime does happen.
14 There are No Guns
12 Canada Lacks a Military
As we indicated in point fifteen, the Canadian military has punched outside its weight class in World Wars One and Two, despite a history of being poorly equipped. More recently, our uniformed personnel participated in the conflict in Afghanistan. Canadian soldiers didn't go to Vietnam, but Canucks did serve in Korea.
Today, the Canadian Armed Forces have had their budgets routinely slashed, but remain a solid fighting force. Between active force and reserves, the CAF are around 90,000 strong. Obviously much smaller than the United States, but we also have a tenth of the population.
10 The Cops are all Dressed in Red
Canada's federal level police force is the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Thanks to a few movies such as Dudley Do-Right, some have the misconception that the "Mounties" wear their red uniforms on the job. The "Red Serge" is their dress uniform, worn ceremonially.
8 The People are all Liberal
The voices of Canadians on the right side of the political spectrum are often drowned out by the constant drone of the decidedly liberal media. One of our largest sources for news, is of course a left wing government-owned outlet known as the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation; which is taxpayer funded to the tune of just under a billion dollars per year.
While our liberal party is in charge right now, and many Canadians are happy about it, many are disgusted. This happens every time we have an election. Just like U.S. we have people who say things like "if X candidate gets elected, I'm moving to country Y". Until just last year, our conservative party, who were notoriously tough on crime, reduced funding for many government agencies and departments (but mismanaged money in other ways) had been in charge since 2006. Along with liberal and conservative parties, Canada also has the Green Party (environmental focus), the Libertarian Party (limited government, personal responsibility, lower taxes), the New Democratic Party (socialist), a few communist-leaning parties, and an absurd amount of other parties that rarely get many votes at all, which range from fascist to anarchist.
6 "The Mosaic"
The Canadian "mosaic" versus the American "melting pot" is an idea that young Canadians have viciously rammed down their throats from a young age. The "melting pot" or so we're told, is the system whereby anyone who lives in the United States is told to act American and leave their past behind, while our precious little "mosaic" country loves people of all colors, cultures, sexual preferences and so on. It's a cute idea, but it's just that; an idea.
4 The Health Care System is Amazing
When we go to see a doctor in Canada, we seldom pay for it right then and there. But to call it a "free" healthcare system is a misuse of the word. We pay thousands every year, whether or not we use it. While this may sound like a small price to pay, most Canadians are unhappy with the service they get according to recent surveys, and Canada has among the longest waiting times of any developed nation.
While waiting for an appointment to see if you're allergic to cats is one thing, waiting several months for leukemia treatment is another thing. A recently publicized situation in Canada saw an 18 year old girl die from that disease because of a bed shortage. She needed a bone marrow transplant, had a donor available, but only a certain number of patients can be taken per month, and she was not on that list and was required to wait. Canada has thousands of capable doctors and dedicated nurses, but a wasteful and uncaring bureaucracy stands in the way of their life-saving trades.
2 Canada is Socialist
This is a hard one to determine. There are some socialist programs in Canada. We have a taxpayer funded healthcare system, and no private alternative, which is textbook socialist. We have a national pension fund; not optional, and everyone in the country who works pays into it. Some provinces are currently looking into the idea of provincial pensions as well. It's a nice idea that government can provide for all old people, but doing some quick math indicates that being financially diligent and funding one's own retirement account from a young age will likely bring a much better nest-egg.
We have disability packages for those who are unable to work (not really a problem, is it?), and a generous safety net for those who get laid off (we call it employment insurance), or those who don't feel like working, called social assistance or income support, but more commonly referred to as "welfare". While some people use these for just a short time and then get back to "contributor" status, these programs are abused routinely.
With all this said, Canada still has a competitive, capitalist economy, and while one can scrape by in social programs funded by the taxpayers' dime, it is better to work, and Canada does remain a good country in which to start a business. Obviously it's not perfect, as there are a slew of regulations in any line of business, cronyism, and of course rampant corporate welfare (just look up the company Bombardier for an example) but these things are found everywhere. In short, it is imperfect, and social programs are available, heavily bureaucratized, and frequently abused, but it is not a full-blown socialist country.
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