Robert, I spent three years in Winnipeg in the early nineties, and so had a close-up view of my home town and my former country after many years of going there only on visits. One does not, of course, have the sense that one is in a foreign country when one is in Canada (unless one is in French Canada); rather, it appears to be an America gone a great deal further down the road to statism, further politically, economically, culturally, and philosophically.
For one thing -- and I'm not exaggerating in what I'm about to say -- in those three years I did not talk with a single person who was not a liberal or a socialist, except for a tiny group of discouraged libertarians who were too passive to do anything more than complain, and except for the people whom I had long ago introduced to the works of Rand. I know that there are other Objectivists and libertarians in Canada, but they are rare and hard to find and, for the most part, they feel terribly alone and futile.
The extent of open anti-Americanism was repellent to me even then, in the early nineties. It was only exceeded by the ignorance of American life and values on the part of many Canadians.
Taxes are astronomical. I don't know how Canadians survive their taxes. Sales taxes are over 14% -- and literally everything one buys is taxed.
There are brilliant doctors in Canada, but due to socialized medicine, they are overworked and underpaid to the point where they cannot do their work properly. My sister-in-law told me, one day, that she had gone to her doctor for her annual physical exam. The doctor spent fifteen minutes with her. One waits months for medical procedures that here a doctor would schedule for a day or two after a diagnosis. During the three years I spent in Winnipeg, there was -- for this city of half a million people -- one MRI machine. And it had only recently been installed. It was too costly to have more than one, the government explained. And Canadians speak of their "free medical care."
In Winnipeg alone, all the emergency rooms but one were closed because the costs had become too high and the doctors too few. After these closings, it took 45 minutes to an hour -- considerably more in the winter storms and icy roads and freezing cold -- for many Winnipegers to reach emergency care, too late of course in a great many cases.
Canadians who can afford it go to the US for medical care. Those who cannot afford it simply die if their wait for such things as heart surgery is too long. And young people are not going into the medical profession; classes in medical school have become so small that there is legitimate fear that there soon will not be nearly enough doctors. Everything is done to entice young people to enter medical schools -- everything but offering to return their freedom.
Even when I was a young girl, talented and ambitious young people left Canada in droves to seek careers in the US. I suspect you'd be amazed to know how many celebrated people in public life -- in the arts, in television, in movies, in journalism, in science, in education,in medicine, etc. -- are Canadians by birth. Today, the problem is complicated by America's much more stringent immigration laws. It seems it is easier to get into the US if one is a Muslim from Egypt than if one is a Canadian from Toronto. We hear a great deal about illegal immigrants from Mexico; few Americans realize that there are hundreds of thousands of illegal immigrants from Canada living in the United States. They want a chance to succeed, they want the greater freedom of our country, and they are willing to take risks to do so.
There is much more that could be said, but I hope this answers your question, Robert.