During every election campaign in the United States, you hear the cry that those that those supporting a side will move to Canada if their candidate or candidates lose. It was no different this year, and many GOP supporters have vowed to move to Canada.
To say the least, those supporting the GOP would be disappointed in Canada's laws, which in many ways resemble what the Democrats are looking to change in the US.
Universal health care tops the list. Every Canadian, regardless of income, is covered by provincial health care plans, which operate under a federal mandate, the Canada Health Act. Private insurers or company group plans cover prescription drugs, ambulance service and a few other odds and ends that the government health authorities don't cover.
Gay Marriage. Gay marriage is legal in every jurisdiction in Canada by federal statute. In some cases sex-change operations are also covered by some provinces.
Taxes. While the capital gains tax has been lowered to 15 percent, individual income taxes are incremental, in accordance with income level. There is a price for delivering universal health care.
Pensions. While the Canada Pension Plan is similar to Social Security, the Old Age Security (OAS) is paid to Canadians over 65, with incremental clawbacks for seniors with an income over $63,000. Canadians do not contribute to an OAS fund and as such are not income reliant. The distribution of OAS comes from general revenues and has a provision for a supplement for those below a certain income threshhold.
Equalization Payments. So called have not provinces receive equalization payments in accordance to a formula from revenues collected from so called "have" provinces like Alberta.
Prices at the pumps. Americans would also find that the price of gasoline is a fair bit higher in Canada then it is in the US. Even in oil rich Alberta, a combination of federal and provincial taxes ensure higher prices.
Deduction for mortgate interest. No such thing exists in Canada. You and your mortgage are on your own. Real estate compared to similar jurisdictions in the US is overpriced.
Food prices. This is another bread-and-butter issue that would amaze Americans. We pay more for groceries.
Retail prices in general. Despite a dollar, which is equal with the US dollar, Canadians pay more for books, utilities, cable or satellite tv, cell phone and data services. The list goes on and on.
Environmental issues. There is a powerful environmental lobby, which is supported by the opposition parties. If you think the discussion on the XL Keystone pipeline was emotional, check the battle over the Northern Gateway pipeline.
Political Views. While the Conservative Party forms the government, most Canadians, are either at the center or slightly left of center in their political views. President Obama would probably have won the election by a larger margin in Canada had he run for election here.
As stated at the beginning of this article, Democrats would in all likelihood feel more at home in Canada then Republicans. For Democrats the issue would not be Canada's politics, but its climate. Republicans should have a rethink.
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