As an American living in Canada for the past two years, I’ve noticed some interesting things. For one thing, the two countries are very similar, both socially and structurally. While Canada has barely a tenth of the U.S. population, it has about twice of the surface area (disregarding it's frozen northern tundra), and within that a thriving economy based around agriculture, oil, and imports.
Maybe my favorite thing about Canada is how progressive it has become. In November of 2015, the liberal party of Canada elected Justin Trudeau as Prime Minister in a movement primarily led by young Canadians to oust the conservative candidate, and then Prime Minister, Stephen Harper. Justin Trudeau set the tone for his tenure as Prime Minister when he elected as many women to his cabinet as men. Since then, Canada has made strides towards addressing a greener future; they spearheaded and set forth the resources for a major agreement with 194 nations in the UN on combating climate change, and have set aside more funding dedicated to clean energy. Relations with Canada's inner nations are also being worked on. Canada is in regular meetings with the Assembly of First Nations, the Congress of Aboriginal Peoples the Inuit Tapiriit Kanatami, Métis National Counsel, and the Native Women's Association of Canada, to make sure the needs of some underrepresented groups are being met. Canada is going through a reconciliation process of acknowledging systemic wrongdoing upon First Nations people throughout history.
Canada is one of the most multicultural nations in the world, and immigration has been key to their economy and identity for many decades now. Already they have welcomed 25,000 Syrian refugees with open arms. I have met so many people from all over the world at my university, and even just walking around the city.
The best part of this is, Canadians love their country just as much as I enjoy it. I was very surprised when it became time to complete a new long form census this year. There was excellent government campaigning executed to get the word out, and on the first day access to the census became available on the Internet, the servers crashed for those trying to complete it! Recently in Alberta, Fort McMurray has been burning, and more than 2,000 people were safely evacuated, thanks to support from people across the country. I've read a study that according to data from Twitter, Canadians really are nicer than Americans based on the words they most frequently use.
As a diabetic, I have also greatly benefited from their healthcare system. Getting to see my doctor and getting the prescriptions I need is much faster, easier, and cheaper than I have ever experienced stateside. Judging by opinions of my fellow native Canadians, the system is great, perhaps not perfect but about as close as it can be, and it is truly one of the canonized prides of the nation.
Besides all the political stuff, it's hard to beat waterproof dollar bills, Tim Hortons' coffee, the Canadian Football League, or the Aurora Borealis. Not to mention, the multitudes of beautiful national parks and other mountain ranges. Did I mention we have a queen?
I am a person who was born and raised in the United States. After being numbed for 18 years of my youth by our engagement in war, a huge debt, and political deadlock; Canada seems like the nation I have always wanted to live in. I strongly believe the United States could learn at least a couple things from our humble nation in the north. No doubt, the U.S. has many things to be proud of, and many areas of which a nation like Canada, for example, could learn from. I believe, however, there really has to be unity, and I don't feel like the U.S. has that unity the way Canada does. Strides towards universal healthcare have been taken with Obamacare, but we have yet to fully transitioned into actual acceptance of that concept. We struggle with recognizing and addressing structural bias, something the UBC Alum, Justin Trudeau, has made quick strides to absolve, even in his earliest days of administration.
I'm not sure Canada's strong, yet silent leadership could be of any influence upon the United States as a whole, but I hope it could get you thinking about the ways in which the U.S. can make strides towards growth and harmony in the near future.