Of course we share many things with our neighbours to the south, but when people tell me that Canadians and Americans are just the same, I beg to differ. For the most part, our differences are subtle and perhaps only apparent to those who are really looking, but there are fundamental differences too that I believe affect us more than we like to let on or more than we can pinpoint. This is a case in point. It makes me very sad to think that people can have - when they are gravely ill - the added stress of financial strain as a result of getting the treatment they need. And also that someone else (an HMO perhaps?) could call the shots on their treatment. This post is verging on the political, but children's writers and others in the kid lit community are rallying behind Bridget Zinn. The Canadian system is by no means perfect (and YES, we do get to choose our own doctors; I don't know who was feeding my relatives in California the BS that we can't) but universal health care for all citizens is a fundamental underpinning to who we are up here. Who did Canadian's vote for as our Greatest Canadian? Not a movie star or a football star or a gazillionaire -- Tommy Douglas, the man who spearheaded universal health care.
And to make this post fully relevant to the (supposed) theme of this blog. Here's a children's book by Bill Waiser all about Tommy Douglas for those who'd like to learn more.