How does it feel to live in Canada?

Depends where in Canada you live o’ course, but I can give you a general overview. I’m from Ottawa, which is the country’s capital, and I would say that my experience has been an overall very positive one. We have a lot of good things going for us: free health care (comes in handy all the time, believe it or not), a great standard of living, a free, largely non-sensationalist press, and at the moment, a liberal prime minister who certainly isn’t perfect (as the Conservatives will tell you) but is also progressive not just in words but in actions. He’s created gender parity in the federal cabinet – meaning an equal number of men and women – he’s opened the border to Syrian refugees, he started an inquiry into missing and murdered Aboriginal women (which is one of the dark sides of living in Canada, more on that later). Trudeau is good as a whole, and I think that’s the best way to sum up the experience of living here: good, as a whole.

Not perfect, obviously. No place on this earth is perfect – there’s no such thing as utopia outside our imaginations. The way this country has treated Aboriginal people, and still treats them, is abhorrent. Look into residential schools, and the living conditions of people on reserves, in places like Attawapiskat. This article about it came out yesterday.

Like any country in the world, Canada has pros and cons – we have free health care, we have glorious natural landscapes (tundra, rain forest, endless rivers)… but we have incidents like this one, which when they happen bring to light the deep roots of racism that still linger in areas of this country. I was walking in downtown Ottawa not too long ago and I saw a swastika carved into the pavement. There are evil people here like there are everywhere, and while our society seems to lean heavily towards liberalism, and while the media and the prime minister never hesitate to condemn abhorrent incidents like the Quebec shooting, that doesn’t make the evil go away. It’s there because people are like that, no matter where they’re living. It’s just that Canada does well enough by its people that these incidents are rare, and when they happen, they’re a big deal.

On a day-to-day basis, I like where I live quite a bit. Winter in Ottawa is disgustingly frigid, and summer is disgustingly humid, but spring and autumn are glorious even though as I write this there’s snow on the ground, and lots of it (that’s not an April fool’s joke, I wish it was). I don’t have to pay for the majority of the medicine that keeps me alive and sane, and if I am bleeding out from a horrible head wound the emergency room doctors will save me without putting me into crippling lifelong debt. When I go for a walk I can be reasonably certain I won’t be harassed for being visibly queer, though it has happened a few times before (isolated incidents, really unpleasant, but no physical altercations). I can go down to the coffee shop and sit there for hours and enjoy the fact that I’m a free human being with a good education, who can use the free wi-fi and write Quora answers, who doesn’t have to worry about if I’ll have enough food to eat, who can take really good public transportation anywhere I like, who is now old enough to buy a pint of cider for myself when I go out for food… I sometimes wonder what it’s like day-to-day in other countries myself, and based on the information I have, it seems like Canada is one of the better places to find yourself a citizen of.

Hope that helped.

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