The Canadian Superiority Complex


I just got back from Canada, where I gave a speech on "The Tyranny of Public Health," discussing how the War on Smoking set the stage for the War on Fat, in Montreal and Toronto. Press coverage of the speeches, which were sponsored by the Montreal Economic Institute, prompted e-mails from several critics whose nationalistic touchiness reminds me of a radio show host I encountered during a previous visit to Canada. He was perfectly polite and cordial until I noted that socialized medicine by its nature forces taxpayers to subsidize other people's risky behavior. At that point he indignantly demanded to know how I dared come to Canada and lecture Canadians about the Canadian way of life.

In a similar vein, Blake Manchur had this response to my criticism of the War on Fat:

Well here we are…an American telling Canadians what we should do with our health. Our government is just fine and our quality of life is far better than yours. I use to live in America and it was the worst 2 years of my life.

Please stick to your own country and worry about your own back yard…… please.

There is a reason why we are healthy and why guns and crime are not out of control like in the US.

You people just don't get it.

More Canadians woud like you guys if you would just mind your own business. It's the Canadian Government that helps lead Canadians to enjoy a good quality of life.

I could go on forever, but all I wish is for Americans to shut-up and just listen for a change. You might just learn something.

Matt Hunter also was to quick to enumerate the ways in which Canada is superior to the U.S.:

I am a little bit confused by your remarks! How you can make comments about our government when the white house should be named general hospital. [I'm not sure what that means either.] Our health care system is far better and we tend not to invade countries that have massive amounts of OIL.

Canada is one of the most peaceful places to live on earth. So what if our government wants to intervene with what we eat! Ever seen Super Size me? Do you realize that at McDonalds your cups are bigger; your large fries are bigger, over all you as Americans have more obese people than anywhere else in the world!

So what if our government wants to take a proactive approach to unhealthy life styles. Something your government needed to do before everyone got fat!

But the anti-American non sequitur prize goes to Douglas C. Trant, who said:

The Canadian governments try to advise folks on better life styles, but we still have the freedom to eat what we want. Much better than a government who takes folks [on] an Iraqi shoot.

As an opponent of both the Iraq war and the War on Fat, I'm not sure what one has to do with the other. But the really weird thing is that my speech was mostly about the American policy, and somehow it was interpreted as a slap at Canadians.