08 February 2011

Symbols, the immigration guide, and Canadians' love of Medicare

Not only do Canadians love their health care system, they consider it the most important symbol of Canadian identity. So says a recent Environics survey. They ranked it above the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, the RCMP, the flag and all other contenders.

This is not what the new guide for immigrants, Discover Canada: The Rights and Responsibilities of Citizenship, would have us believe, or rather have our new citizens believe. In its list of Canadian symbols, it overlooks Medicare. (The first symbol mentioned in the guide is the Crown, a symbol the Environics survey ranked last.) Indeed, the guide never uses the word anywhere and mentions our health care system in only one sentence.

The Environics survey result is consistent with other surveys that show when Canadians are asked what gives them pride in their country they rank health care fourth after our democracy, our quality of live and our caring/humanitarian outlook. Health care also figures largely, of course, in quality of life and a caring/humanitarian outlook.

One could reasonably argue that if you don't recognize the importance of Medicare to Canadians, you can't understand Canadians. And yet our guide for immigrants essentially dismisses it. Hardly a proper introduction to this country.


  1. My guess is being prudent, cost-saving conservatives, it would be a waste of $$$ to crow about Medicare when the Harper CONs plan to kill it.

  2. It's a reflection of the vision of Canada held by the Harper Conservatives, not that of most Canadians. It's all God, guns and military glory. No big government except for big military, big prisons and big tax cuts for big corporations. I guess that's what happens when you elect professional politicians who've served their dogma well all the while never (or rarely) having contributed to the commonweal of this great land.

    Stephen Harper - professional politician
    John Baird - professional politician
    Peter MacKay - professional politician
    Jim Flaherty - professional politician
    Tony Clement - professional politician
    Jason Kenny - professional politician
    Rob Anders - professional politician

    I could go on but you get my drift.

    Alas, the great irony of The Reform and Alliance stalwarts who supported their parties in the early days by their insistence that our government was run by professional politicians. Tis very same base now seems to ignore this petty little fact. Quelle surprise.