Sometimes An Ingrate Nation: Bitching About A Free Tab On America's Bill
A Canadian ending a romance says, “This isn’t about me. This is about you.”
A Canadian talking about himself to a stranger says, “But enough about me. Let’s talk about my career.”
Led by their virtuous prime minister, Canadians have no self-esteem issues. So it is with the latest vanity game. Canadians miffed with President Trump’s bracing assessment of Canadians as partners have decided that they will boycott American holidays, American products, American culture. It’s a trade tantrum.
This notion has caught on like wildfire with the virtuous set north ofter 49th parallel. They’re trying to top each other in their zeal to avenge Trump’s harsh rhetoric about Canada as a deadbeat. Yes, the Donald could have couched the criticism in more comforting words. He possesses a bulldozer tongue.
But it’s not like official Canada has ever been fulsome in its praise of Americans either. House organs such as the CBC or Toronto Star never tired of looking down their patrician noses at the Excited States— and that was before Trump. Condescension has been the fallback position for the Family Compact toward its rich cousins.
As they shun American arugula or latté makers in their righteous fury, Canadians take so much for granted. Before Canadians overdose on outrage, perhaps they should examine a few of the things Canadians always assume when it comes to America.
Specifically, what about Trump’s complaint that Canada is not meeting its obligations for defence under NATO?
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has already admitted that Canada won’t hit its promised two percent obligation under NATO. So who makes up that difference in spending? It ain’t Nicaragua. It’s the United States that makes up the difference. The U.S. spends an estimated $700 billion— or 3.5 percent of GDP—to keep NATO and other organizations going.
Canadians dream their smug, self-assured dreams content that they won’t be sneak attacked, because the USA gives them that peace of mind. Maybe when they’re forgoing a trip to Vegas, Canadians could also forgo the military security afforded by Americans— even as we welch on our commitments.
The prime minister—who is righteous about his own nation living up to its obligations under the fatuous Paris Climate Accord— sees no problem in stiffing the U.S. for our defence. Many of his fellow boycott-happy citizens seem to agree that’s no big whoop.
And while we’re talking about the assumptions Canadians blithely assume— and our rage when reminded of them— how about the costs of keeping the trading lanes open for the free trade to which Trudeau gives lip service? Do any of the special people believe that Canada’s meagre military does anything to protect the free passage of Canadian goods?
Of course not. In Canadians’ petulance they might reflect on how the U.S. military, police and intelligence communities are the ones that make sure Canadian wheat arrives in Asia without being hijacked by pirates. Or Canadian minerals make it to Europe.
And while liberals scheme how to punish Trump for doubting our fidelity, maybe those saying no to a Disney World trip should consider how the U.S. bails out Canadian healthcare every day. While progressive saps like Michel Moore tell Americans that Canadians get all their healthcare for free, Canadians themselves know just how often they have to leave the country to save their health.
According to the Fraser Institute, in 2014 52,513 Canadians received non-emergency medical treatment in the U.S. and other countries. There were many more emergency cases that flee Canada’s cash-strapped system for the U.S. Those numbers are estimated to have risen 15 percent per year since then.
As one American columnist sourly noted, who do you think is filling those cancer beds in Manhattan or the Mayo Clinics? In short, if it weren’t for the U.S. healthcare system, thousands of Canadians would die waiting for scarce treatment or surgery that they only find in America. But sure, get huffy over tough love from Trump.
While Canadians pat themselves on the back over their single-payer healthcare system, those perks are only possible because they don’t come anywhere close to paying the real cost of defending their borders.
If Canada wants to act like a petulant teenager maybe we should call the relationship with our neighbours Sometimes An Ingrate Nation.
Bruce Dowbiggin @dowbboy.is the host of the podcast The Full Count with Bruce Dowbiggin on his website is Not The Public Broadcaster (http://www.notthepublicbroadcaster.com). He’s also a regular contributor to Sirius XM Canada Talks Ch. 167. A two-time winner of the Gemini Award as Canada's top television sports broadcaster, he is also the best-selling author whose new book Cap In Hand will be available this fall.