Called Cousin Doug the other day. He lives in Canada. British Columbia, actually. Moved there in 1968. He was 24. Just seemed like the thing to do. In 1968.
Me: Hey, Doug. Doug: Hello. How are things?
Hey, how long have you lived up there?
I love it.
Can I ask you something?
How much does a house cost?
A house? Well, it depends where you buy. Where I live, it's very rural; it's going to put you out about $200,000 Canadian, about $150,000 American. In Vancouver, a nice house will start at $300,000.
And you have that socialized medicine, don't you?
That's what most Americans think. Actually, doctors are private businesses and each province negotiates a fee schedule.
Is it convenient? We always hear about how you have to wait for treatment.
For emergency and acute care, it's quite good. For a lot of elective surgery, there can be a considerable wait, like a knee or hip replacement may mean a six-month wait. It's not a perfect system, but everyone is covered and my monthly premium is, like, $60 Canadian.
Schools are good. It's a very good education system. The province funds each district equally, and the schools are very high quality. Some of the richer areas, the parents will get together and buy extra computers or tumbling mats, but all the schools are very high quality.
Lemme ask you this: If someone was a sports fans—say they followed the Lakers—would they be able to follow them on TV?
Oh, sure, we've got cable, satellite [TV], all that.
Was it hard adjusting to Canada?
Well, I had to adjust to how tolerant people are. They're very friendly; there isn't that polarization you get in the States.
You mean like gay marriage; they would be okay with that?
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Gay unions are sanctioned up here. There are conservatives up here, but the feeling is that if you're not doing me harm, why should I try to limit your freedom? Most people up here feel that expanding civil rights doesn't hurt them. It's really great. In fact, it's funny we talk about this. I was just talking to my daughter—she lives in the Bay Area—and she and her husband are talking about moving back [to Canada].
Oh, really? When did she bring that up?
Uh, like last Wednesday [Nov. 3].
Do you ever think about moving back to the United States? [Extended laugh]No. [Extended laughter]Never.