If Republicans really want a Christian nation, they should start acting like it.
Canadian Dr. Danielle Martin testified before the the U.S. Senate health subcommittee on Tuesday and learned just how uncharitable some GOP senators can be.
Martin, along with health care professionals from Taiwan, Denmark and France, were invited to Washington D.C. to offer lessons on single-payer systems. They quickly learned that the right in America has already decided that public health care is the work of the devil.
In a clip that has gone about as viral as a Senate subcommittee hearing can, Republican Richard Burr of North Carolina smugly questions Martin about long Canadian wait times.
Martin's vigorous defence of Canadian care has made her an instant hero in a nation notorious for taking any opportunity to outshine its neighbour. But the exchange says a lot more about how callous America has become than it does about Canada's inferiority complex.
At one point during the hearing, Sally Pipes, an expert from a conservative think tank, said that "Canadian people are very, very nice people, they're not impatient like Americans ... Americans do not want to wait."
Her quip drew laughter, but she's right. When it comes to social welfare, Canadians are nicer than many Americans. We don't like wait times either, but we're willing to accept some discomfort in order to ensure the less fortunate in our society receive the same care as everyone else.
Tea Party politicians love to remind Americans that their country is a Christian nation; they say religious values should guide policy. But when it comes to health care and education, religious Republicans forget the most important lesson Jesus ever taught: to love one another.
Millions of mostly-conservative Americans believe that if you're poor it's your own fault. Rather than showing compassion for the impoverished, as Jesus does in the Bible, they lambaste the less fortunate for being lazy. But as my colleague Angelina Chapin recently pointed out, when you're poor "you worry about boots, not pulling up the straps."
It's hard to escape poverty without help. No wonder there is now less social mobility in the U.S. than in Canada.
But many Americans still think they're living in the land of opportunity. Born on third base, they claim to have hit a triple.
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This failure to love thy neighbour isn't just hurting America on health care. Schools south of the border are funded by local property taxes, which means that if you live in a rich neighbourhood your kids are likely to go to an excellent school. Live in a poor area and you're out of luck.
America has clung to this hard-hearted arrangement because many in the middle and upper class don't want to pay to send lazy poor people to school.
In Canada, provincial governments allocate money to school boards based on the number of students. Often other factors, such as the number of aboriginal students, are taken into account. We understand that a well-funded public school system is essential to fostering a healthy society.
But while Canada uses education to promote equality, the U.S. government continues to use it to perpetuate racial segregation.
Many of America's poorest neighbourhoods are primarily African American. How will these citizens pull themselves up by their bootstraps when they receive inferior education?
But health care remains the most shocking example of how un-Christian the American government can be.
There is little doubt that the country's wealthiest people receive the best health care on Earth. But everyone else struggles to pay skyrocketing insurance costs. Tens of millions go without care altogether.
The result? America has worse health outcomes and lower life expectancy than nations that spend significantly less money on a per-capita basis. It has the most expensive system in the world, but because it's based in selfishness, it simply doesn't work. Kindness, it turns out, can be pretty efficient.
Even America's politicians are starting to see this. The fact that Obamacare became law is proof. And as the economic and social benefits of near-universal care become clear, the country may begin to come around to a more Canadian point of view.
The system in Canada isn't perfect. Wait times are a real issue and government needs to do more to adopt best practices from other nations. But the fact that there isn't a large contingent of Canadians opposed to helping the less fortunate means we'll never end up with a disaster like we see south of the border.
The Tea Partiers who see Canadians as socialists bent on imposing atheist death panels should take a look in the mirror. They're the ones who haven't paid attention to the Bible.
It's long past time for them to take their own advice and make America a more Christian nation.
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A toonie is a $2 Canadian coin, which followed the cue of the loonie (named after the image of the aquatic bird that graces the $1 coin). <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Hey buddy, can I borrow a toonie? I need to get a Double Double (see the next slide)."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A Double Double refers to a coffee (often from Tim Hortons) with two creams and two sugars. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Yes, hi, I'd like to order a Double Double."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> When food, however unappealing it is, is all you <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/05/10/newfoundland-tourism-video-gutfoundered_n_3254578.html" target="_blank">crave at the end of the day. Or, you're just very hungry.</a> <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> “Your mind wanders when it’s gut-foundered. Is it going to be take-out? Is it going to be pizza?”
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong>Shit-Kickers are nicknames for cowboy boots. Hee Haw! <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I can't go to the Calgary Stampede without my shit-kickers."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Something that is in a diagonal direction from something else. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "The grocery store is kitty-corner to the school."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A warm wind that blows east over the Canadian Rockies, warming up Calgary in the winter. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "This chinook is giving me a headache."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A slang term for cigarettes <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Get your darts out."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Stagette is another name for bachelorette party. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Are you heading out to that stagette this weekend? There's going to be a stripper."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Cowtown is a nickname for Calgary. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I've been living in Cowtown my entire life."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Another name for underwear used mainly in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and often referring to men's or boys' briefs. A gotch refers to women's underwear. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Pull your pants up, I can see your gitch."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> According to the Dictionary of Newfoundland, a bedlamer is a <a href="http://www.heritage.nf.ca/dictionary/azindex/pages/291.html" target="_blank">seal that is not yet mature.</a> <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "This harp seal is giving me a hard time, it's such a bedlamer."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A toque is a hat most people wear during winter months. And sometimes, you will see this hat reappear in the summer. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Listen son, don't go out into this weather without your toque."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> No, no one is getting married. In Western Canada, a matrimonial cake is another term for a date square or tart. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I wish this coffee shop had matrimonial cakes."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Someone who loves spending time on an ice rink. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I can't get any ice time, I have to deal with all these rink rats."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Slang for homogenized whole milk, but shockingly, this term is actually used on milk packaging. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "When you go to the grocery store, don't forget to pick up the homo milk."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Common slang for a case of 24 beers. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Are you heading to the beer store? Pick me up a 2-4 of Molson."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> The Canadian way of saying coloured pencil. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Do you have a pencil crayon in that pencil case?"
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Another word for soda. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "That can of pop has 200 calories."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Another word for bathroom or restroom. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "This washroom doesn't have any toilet paper."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Slang for "what are you doing" in Newfoundland. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Did you just get in? Whaddya at?"
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> For the most part, a mickey is a flask-sized (or 375 ml) bottle of hard liqueur, but on the East Coast, a mickey is an airplane-sized bottle. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "We're going out tonight, can someone grab a mickey."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Not a slang term, but this is how Canadians pronounce the letter "Z". Not zee.
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A hockey (surprise, surprise) technique when a player gets past their opponent by "faking it." It can also be used to replace the world detour. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "I am going to deke into the store after work."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> Hydro refers to electricity, particularly on your energy bill. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "My hydro bill went up $10 this month."
<strong>WHAT IT MEANS:</strong> A mountie is a nickname for a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. <strong>IN A SENTENCE:</strong> "Stop speeding, a mountie will catch you."
Poutine — French fries generously slathered in gravy and cheese curds — is a classic Canadian treat that is said to have originated in Quebec in the 1950s. Since then, it has been adapted in many weird and wonderful ways from <a href="http://crownsalts.com/gardemanger/" target="_blank">gourmet versions with lobster</a> and <a href="http://www.restaurantaupieddecochon.ca/menu.html" target="_blank">foie gras</a> to —believe it or not — a doughnut version. It's also inspired <a href="http://smokespoutinerie.com/" target="_blank">a crop of trendy "poutineries"</a> and a <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/14/doughnut-poutine-psycho-donuts_n_2875921.html" target="_blank">"poutition"</a> to make it Canada's official national dish.
There are some snacks that define a nation, but not many that taste good to only those who live there. What do we love? The fact they leave our fingers dyed red after we've had a whole bag. Ketchup has never tasted so salty, non-tomatoey and outright good. Our U.S. friends may go nutty over Doritos, but we love our ketchup chips. Did you know that <a href="http://www.thestar.com/business/2013/02/28/heres_why_you_cant_buy_chicken_and_waffle_chips_in_canada.html" target="_hplink"> Lay's dill pickle and Munchies snack mix are also exclusively Canadian?</a>
What could be more Canadian than syrup that comes from the maple tree, whose iconic leaf has come to symbolize Canada and its national pride? Quebec is the largest producer of maple syrup in the world, accounting for about 75 to 80 percent of the supply. Maple syrup — <a href="http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-1372549/Maple-syrup-joins-ranks-broccoli-blueberries-new-stop-shop-superfood.html" target="_blank">recently elevated to "superfood" status</a> — is a classic sweet topping on pancakes and waffles. Still, that hasn't stopped some people from thinking of surprising savoury pairings such as <a href="http://www.toromagazine.com/lifestyle/food/toro-tv/c3df4a2e-74ba-c154-9172-99d497567a76/Caplanskys-Maple-Bacon-Donuts/" target="_blank">maple-bacon doughnuts</a>.
It's no secret that Canadians are <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/03/15/tim-hortons-new-bacon-taste-test_n_2884834.html" target="_blank">obsessed with bacon</a>. The delicious cured pork product can be made oh so many ways, including ever popular strip bacon and peameal bacon, often referred to as "Canadian bacon" abroad. In fact, Canadians are so passionate about their favourite food that <a href="http://bacontoday.com/the-people-of-canada-choose-bacon-over-sex/" target="_blank">many would probably choose it over sex.</a>
A butter tart is a classic Canadian dessert made with butter, sugar, syrup and eggs — filled in a buttery (yes, more grease) pastry shell, and often includes either raisins or nuts. They can be runny or firm — so it's hard to mess them up when you're baking. <a href="http://www.canadianliving.com/food/baking_and_desserts/best_butter_tarts.php" target="_blank">Also, they never seem to go out of style.</a>
BeaverTails, or <em>Queues de Castor</em> in French, is a famous trademarked treat made by a <a href="http://www.beavertailsinc.com/" target="_blank">Canadian-based chain of pastry stands</a>. The fried-dough treats are shaped to resemble real beaver tails and are often topped with chocolate, candy, and fruit. These Canadian delicacies go hand in hand with skiing, and even <a href="http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2013/01/17/beavertail-at-inauguration_n_2495957.html" target="_blank">gained White House recognition during U.S. President Barack Obama's 2009 trip to Ottawa.</a>
These legendary Canadian no-bake treats originated in (surprise!) <a href="http://www.nanaimo.ca/EN/main/visitors/NanaimoBars.html" target="_blank">Nanaimo, B.C.,</a> and are typically made with graham-cracker crumbs, coconut, walnuts, vanilla custard and chocolate. Need we say more? Common variations include peanut butter and mint chocolate.
No one likes to think of Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer as dinner, but game meat is abundant in Canada and can be found in butchers, restaurants and homes across the country. Among other popular Canadian game is boar, bison, venison, caribou and rabbit.
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