Thank This Country For Your Public Healthcare System

June 1st, 2017 | R. Rados

The reason Canadians are able to put so much of their available resources into healthcare is never discussed by politicians or media. When we look at the facts, Canadians who thank their own governments and themselves for Canada's healthcare system are thanking the wrong people. It wasn't Tommy Douglas that made public healthcare in Canada a reality and it isn't our government that has kept it intact.

In 2016, Canada spent an estimated $230 Billion on healthcare. That's 11% of the country's GDP. With a population of around 35 million, Canadians have had to saddle themselves with quite the tax burden. When GST, capital gains taxes, carbon taxes, other consumer taxes and income taxes are all combined, Canadians pay more than 50% of what they earn to the government. To compare, the United States spends approximately $600 Billion on its military. The US population exceeds 300 million and their overall tax burden is roughly the same as Canada's, with over 50% of people's earnings going to government to fund various entitlements above and beyond the military. Mathematically, based on population size and taxing capacity, Canadians spend an astronomical amount on their public healthcare system. What is seldom discussed, however, is the fact that Canada is only able to maintain a public healthcare system because it shares a border with the United States.

It's true that if Canada shared a border with another world superpower—as well as a strong alliance—it might be able to afford a public healthcare system. As it stands today, the US is one that spends $600 Billion annually on its own military. Across the pond, the UK shares borders with another strong global alliance called the European Union. Many European countries now share the burden of military defence—a privilege not granted to the United States and Canada, based on geographic realities. It's this vast, shared responsibility that allows so many European nations to afford their moderately funded healthcare systems. Unlike France, the UK and Europe, Canada has only one direct geographic neighbour. Canada also has a smaller population than most European countries as well as one of the largest borders in the word. Unlike the UK and most European countries, Canada's population is spread out over 9.9 million square kilometres.

So, let's do the math. Canada has just around 35 million people spread out over 9 million kilometres. The country spends just over one third of what the US military budget is on public healthcare, which equates to roughly $6,000 per Canadian. Canadians already pay more that 50% of their earnings to the government, most of which goes to funding public healthcare. Canada only spends $19 Billion on its military, which equates to about 1% of GDP—well below what NATO requires. If Canada spent as much on its military as it does on its public healthcare system and kept its public healthcare system unchanged, Canadians would be forced to pay 75% of what they earn to the government. Those are the facts. On top of that, they would have to enlist their children into military service at the age of 18 to adequately increase Canada's forces. Remember, we're talking about 35 million people spread out over 9 million square kilometres.

Now, let's look at a hypothetical situation. Let's take a look at what would happen if Canadians woke up one morning to find that America and all of its citizens had vanished off the face of the Earth.

Thus far, the only thing stopping Russian forces from marching through Alaska and taking our oil, uranium, coal, timber and potash has been the United States military. The only thing that stopped the Soviets from doing the same thing during the Cold War was the United States military. The only thing stopping Chinese paratroopers from parachuting into parts of Canada to hijack our resources has been the United States military. The only thing stopping anyone from crossing our virtually unprotected borders has been the United States military. But, since we woke up this morning to find out that America is what happens?

If we want even a remote chance of defending our sovereignty, it turns out we'll need to reallocate most of that $230 Billion we've been spending on public healthcare. It's either that or we politely ask the UK and Europe to increase their military funding and float some boats and troops across the pond to protect us. In the meantime, they'll need to sacrifice their own military defences against Russia, China, Iran and North Korea to send us some troops. Pretty reasonable, right? Wrong.

Of course, we aren't accounting for the complete economic collapse that would ensue immediately following a disappearance of America. Since most of Canada's GDP growth is dependent on trade and exports to the United States (77% of exports to be exact), it's likely that the $230 Billion would vanish into thin air anyway. Almost 70% of the goods that Canada imports also come from the United States. 

Oops. I guess this whole hypothetical situation and talk of reallocating healthcare spending is redundant. Sorry for wasting your time.

Without the United States, public healthcare is one of the many things Canada wouldn't have. When American decadence kicks into full gear and the country begins its inevitable decline, Canadians will need to find a way to defend their borders and resources. America will eventually cease to exist in its current form if it doesn't find a way to renew itself. It could take a few decades or even a century, but one day, Canada will be forced to defend itself. If Canada even finds a way to exist without the United States, our current rate of population growth won't put us anywhere near 100 million within the next century. Radically increasing immigration would lead to a whole range of unmanageable problems and a potential collapse over time. At the same time, protecting more than 9 million kilometres on our own—even with 100 million people—seems unfeasible in any future scenario.

So, next time you're sitting on your patio or around a campfire sipping a pilsner, think twice before gloating about how superior Canadians are to Americans and how much smarter you think you are. That public healthcare system and the bountiful resources that keep your furnace running in the winter wouldn't exist if it wasn't for the United States. If they did exist, it would likely be at the expense of your freedom. If the US and Russia switched roles and borders, we wouldn't be having much fun right now.