For years I have heard the praises of our neighbors to the Great White North; stories of their kindness, their flourishing economy, their humility, and their wonderful social programs. Recently I made a trip to Vancouver to see for myself the veracity of these claims. What follows is based on my time spent in Vancouver.
First, humility. Seriously, the world loves to bash America for our arrogance and jingoism. Canada, though, takes their pride to a whole new level. There are Maple Leaves everywhere. Everywhere!
In the center of McDonald’s golden arches, for the apostrophe in Denny’s, stores proclaim they are Real Canadian stores, etc. And don’t get me started on the condescension they have for Americans, being quite vocal in their condemnation of our racial attitudes (more on that later), mocking our politics (more on that later), and our overly conservative views. Now I believe marijuana should be legalized, but I don’t bash a person for being against it or proclaiming it a point of national pride that my nation has liberalized drug policy (Canada goes full in legalizing marijuana next year).
Now to their economy. I believe I now truly understand socialism: it is to spread misery as evenly as possible. From the richest neighborhoods to the poorest I saw homes boarded up, bordering on collapse.
I witnessed homeless people shooting up on the side of the road, a money for food sign nearby. There were numerous empty business buildings with newspapers admitting small businesses were going under in record numbers due to increasing property taxes. And property, hell! The average person in Vancouver makes 40,000 Canadian dollars a year with 30-40% of that taken for taxes. The average cost of a home in Vancouver in over $900,000. Yes, nearly a million dollars for a two bedroom house whereas the same house in Los Angeles, with better pay, is half that! Americans like to believe in the entitlement of a house. The Canadians like to make it virtually impossible to own one. That’s not counting the 15% tax added in the purchase of a house, the rising property taxes attached, or the state’s effort to break up houses to create blocks upon blocks of low rent apartments. Businesses, paying a living wage, are open roughly 10 AM to 6 or 8 PM, thinly staffed and their goods priced higher in comparison to wages than here in the US. For God’s sake, the only thriving part of their economy is the housing market and banking (loans). It fearfully resembles the US prior to the collapse of the I housing bubble but is allowed to continue if only to show some economic growth regardless of what those numbers actually mean. Job shortages, high prices, out of reach shelter: what a Utopia.
Then there is the racism. As congenial as Canadians like to act, the seething hatred they have for Asians is palpable. Asians, predominantly Chinese, keep to their quarter of the city. Over the last several decades, the Asian population has grown to encompass 30% of the population of Vancouver yet outside of Chinatown you’d be surprised to believe it save for their ubiquity in virtually every menial and service job. But they work, like any immigrant wanting a better life. With the influx of Chinese money increasing, especially in the construction of new housing and the purchasing of property, it is telling that the government enacted regulations that retarded construction and increased cost on the lowest earning part of the economy: Asians. Numerous agents, Chinese who took on real estate as a means to prosper in a struggling economy, were turning profits and planning new projects in a city complaining about a lack of affordable housing but now have pulled out as new taxes have made it difficult if not impossible to survive. Where no one else would invest in Vancouver, why would you attack the one flourishing sector in your city? When I asked why Chinese citizens don’t wander far from Chinatown, I’m told they prefer to stay with their own. Could you imagine someone saying that about a group in America?
Then there are the views they hold for Americans. They love to mock Trump without realizing why he was elected. They call him stupid (which they find endearing about Trudeau), loud mouthed (which they hypocritically prove to be), nationalistic (have you seen the Maple Leaf), and incompetent (American economy growing, Canada’s…Not so much). I heard this a former Canadian press secretary as ate a $500 dinner, on the tax payer’s dime. Seriously, their Prime Minister, who failed to show up to an important conference I attended without so much as a sorry, was only elected due to his looks and his father’s name (so much for meritocracy). Trump may not be what most expect, but THAT was why he was elected. We were tired of the same platitudes, the same inaction, the same faces. We wanted real change. Sue us!
Let me ask, what does Canada do but prove the bankruptcy of socialism. Streets littered with trash, businesses shuttered, roaming homeless, decaying neighborhoods. I’m surprised the lines at the border aren’t longer to head south.
For those who think I’m being rude, I’m being blunt. This was my experience in Vancouver and the following articles tend to support my views across the country:
I had a generally positive experience with the Canadians I met and have several Canadian friends. Trust me, I wish the best for them. Here’s to hoping.