Travel Tales

Canada, Our Friendly Neighbor

Map of Canada

Years ago I visited Montreal, a three-day drive from Florida, and found a lovely elegant city where French is spoken. We have some snowbird friends who fly down to play tennis each winter every time the white slush turns into gray mush making driving difficult in Quebec. It is a beautiful modern city and great for shopping.

Canada is the second-largest country in the world after Russia, strategically located between Russia and USA via the north polar route. (Probably near the domicile of Santa Claus.) Approximately 90% of its population is concentrated within 160 kms of the US border. It is a high-tech industrial society that closely resembles the USA in its market-oriented economic system with affluent living standards. Unfortunately, permafrost in the north is a serious obstacle to development; cyclonic storms form east of the Rocky Mountains which is a result of the mixing of air masses from the Arctic, Pacific and North American interior, producing rain and snow east of the mountains. (And we complain about hurricanes here in Florida!)

Canada's paramount political problem is meeting the public demands for quality improvements in health care and education services after a decade of budget cuts. (Sound familiar?) The issue of reconciling Quebec's francophone heritage with the majority Anglophone Canadian population has receded recently as support for separatism abated after the Quebec government's referendum on independence failed to pass in October 1995.

Queen Elizabeth II, is represented by Governor General Adrienne Clarkson. There are no elections since the monarchy is hereditary and the governor general is appointed by the monarch on the advice of the prime minister for a five-year term. Following legislative elections, the leader of the majority party or the leader of the majority coalition in the House of Commons is automatically designated prime minister by the governor general.

I highly recommend taking a trip to beautiful Victoria Island in British Colombia, where they obviously speak English. You can take the Vancouver auto ferry from Vancouver to Victoria, and make sure you have tea in their gingerbread cottages with gigantic flowers on a summer day when the 16 hours of daily sun produce the biggest flowers I have ever seen. Truly a delight!

I currently do business with a firm in that area and I must say, I have had an excellent rapport with them in their professional, courteous manner. I think our American corporations should take an example of their service-oriented modus operandi and concentrate more on middle management as they do, for happier customers and results. Canada enjoys a substantial trade surplus with its principal trading partner, the USA, which absorbs more than 85% of Canadian exports.

I have been doing business with two Canadian companies which have been a dream to work with.  Especially, my digital publisher, Lammi Publishing, Inc., in Alberta, Canada, They are polite, very helpful, accommodating, professional, and honest. On a final note, skiing on virgin snow in the Cariboo Mountains in British Columbia, reached only by helicopter is a once-in-a lifetime thrill, and those of you brave and rich enough to try it, should do it. It is an exhilarating experience of freedom!!

Oh, Canada! We love ya!


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