How I know Senator Sanders policies are not so radical.

In order to really understand what Senator Sanders is fighting for, I feel like some myths must first be dispelled. The best way I know how to accomplish this, is by stating facts derived from my own experiences with the radically labelled ideas that Senator Sanders is proposing. I am usually quite hesitant to put myself in a defensive position, but I will happily do so if it helps anyone understand the benefit and reality of his ideas.

In the interest of full disclosure let it be known that I am an American citizen and have been for more than 40 years; however, due to extremely complex birthright laws I have only recently obtained citizenship status.

The immigration system is a whole other matter and a topic for later discussion.

I was born and raised in Canada. My mother is Canadian, and my father was American/Canadian. My father was born in the easternmost town in the continental USA(Lubec, Maine) to an American mother and Canadian/American father. My grandmother’s family history in New England dates back to the Mayflower as does my grandfather’s maternal line. My grandfather’s paternal line settled on Campobello Island which is technically part of Canada despite being separated from Lubec, Maine by only 300 yards.

I am relaying this information solely for clarity and with the intent to quash any anti-immigrant debate. I am not an immigrant nor did I naturalize. I was born with dual citizenship.

Being raised in Canada, affords me first-hand experience and knowledge of how Senator Sanders ideas not only work, but will benefit so many.

The Canadian health care system is not perfect, but it is a vast improvement when compared to the for-profit system in place here. Contrary to the propaganda, Canadians are not dying waiting for treatment; however, elective procedures and treatment of non-life threatening ailments are subject to waiting times.

The most significant difference between the two systems is cost. NO Canadian will ever die or become bankrupt due to an inability to pay; simply because that is not how the system functions. I can firmly state this fact and at this point I will share a personal story.

On December 24, 2011, my husband suffered a heart attack stemming from an arterial blockage. Upon his arrival at the emergency room, he was immediately admitted and assessed(it was also determined at this time that he was diabetic.) I arrived at the hospital as the Doctor was explaining the required procedure of catheterizing and placing a stent. He explained that my husband would recover in the CICU for 24 hours, followed by four days of hospitalization. This, however, would not be the totality of his care.

On January 2nd,2012 (5 days after his release) phone calls from specialists, diabetic dietitians, and the cardiac rehab center began. The purpose of the calls was to schedule appointments for his aftercare. The first month of cardiac rehab consisted of nutritional education, and it was encouraged that we attend together as I was primarily responsible for our shopping and meal preparation. The following five months would consist of strengthening his heart muscle at the facilities gym under strict medical supervision.

The entirety of his care was 100% covered by our provincially administered, federal health care system.

I could not hazard a guess to the cost because I never saw an invoice. I never spoke with a government official, there was no co-pay or bureaucratic red tape.

A visit to the Doctor’s office is no different. Gynaecologist/Obstetric appointments, specialists, surgical procedures, having a baby, a trip to the emergency room; all, no different.

When Canadians file their annual income tax return there is a calculation based on their marginal tax rate which determines the annual premium. In the province of Ontario at the highest tax bracket, the calculation is $900. Some provinces provide more or less coverage, (prescriptions, vision) but dental is not covered. Healthcare is a right for every Canadian citizen and permanent resident. I am positive that there are more inclusive health care models, however; I can only speak to the system I know.

I am aware of the misleading information that has contributed to the attitude of some Americans with respect to health care, but I am still left amazed by some of the justifications advocating a for-profit system.

I would be remiss if I did not also mention that FDA labelling standards are far more stringent in Canada, and that junk food, (soda, chips, chocolate bars, etc.)tobacco, and alcohol are subject to additional taxes, but I have found fresh produce, whole grains and other healthy food choices far more costly in the USA. Coincidence? I don’t believe it is.

Next I would like to discuss Senator Sanders proposed “Family Values”

Again, His stance is far from radical on these issues.

In Canada, working women who have accumulated the required number of weeks of employment are guaranteed certain rights where their job is concerned. I have two children aged 11 and 18. Because of these laws I had the opportunity to spend the first year of their lives at home with them, with pay and was never in fear of losing my job for it.

This link outlines the differences between the two countries and is well worth the look.

To demonstrate that Canadians are also entitled to paid vacation time and how it works by province, I will also include a link here for that information.

College/University education is not free, but interest on student loans is calculated at a very low rate to promote higher education.

As I stated earlier Canada is not perfect, but in these areas there is a definite case to be made for improvement here.

Finally, I would like to address Senator Sanders plan to create jobs by rebuilding a crumbling infrastructure.

When the economy collapsed in 2008 and Americans were losing their homes, and an obscene amount of taxpayer money was spent bailing out Wall Street, etc. Canada managed to avoid the crushing impact of that crisis. The government introduced a stimulus package to do exactly what Senator Sanders is proposing, hence keeping Canadians employed while improving upon the countries infrastructure.

I am not implying that this was the only factor involved in avoiding the full brunt of the crash, but it definitely went a long way to cushioning the country from the effects that were realized here.

Some Americans believe that Canada is a Socialist country. It is not. Perhaps more Liberal in attitudes, and policies, but far from Socialist.

It is a fact that social programs exist, definitely not more, but differing from those in place here. One could argue that these differences contribute to a higher standard of living in Canada.

Senator Sanders agenda is definitely not radical to anyone who has been fortunate enough to experience life in another industrialized country. In any other Western civilization, his agenda would be old news, but that is not the case in the US and it is exactly why we need to ensure a victory for Bernie.

His passion for restoring the middle class, and his understanding of what it will take to remake America into the best country on earth, his honesty, integrity, and record of doing the right thing are what makes him the only candidate in my opinion who is qualified to lead this country.

Footnote: I am clearly not a professional writer, I do use proper English not American spelling. I am fully aware that there are most likely punctuation and grammatical errors in my writing. My only hope is that the message I am trying to convey is understood despite my imperfection. GO BERNIE!

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