I have written a few times since my move to Winnipeg about how wonderful it all is but I think I owe it to my stately readers a few lines about the problematic aspects of life here that I’ve found frightfully odd, disjointed, or otherwise simply silly:
- While Canadians all have access to good, if not excellent, healthcare, almost everyone I’ve met does not visit a doctor regularly. Some folks haven’t been to a regular physician in 8 years and they don’t seem to mind. In the U.S., people who have health insurance typically visit their doctor once per annum, just for that check-up. Part of the problem, perhaps at least in Winnipeg, is that there are not enough doctors to have a person relationship with and, therefore, why would you?
- I got used to really, really good organic milk in New York. Horizon brand comes to mind. It was everywhere, in almost every store and it tasted really fresh and clean and wholesome – the way milk never tasted when I was growing up. Back then, it was pretty typical for my parents to make us drink powdered milk. You poured a foil-lined package of white stuff into a plastic container, added cold water, shook and then didn’t drink. Anyway, I don’t miss powdered milk but I do miss the organic stuff.
- It’s looking pretty good on the permanent residence front. I don’t want to give the whole thing a ken-a-herra but so far so good. However, every time I turn around the government here requires a huge dose of application fees from my dwindling bank account. I’m sure the U.S. is the same if not worse.
- I’m having email problems. I don’t know why. A few clients and a few friends are not able to send me email. I can’t tell where the problem is – at Shaw, my ISP, or my host, or somewhere in between. I hate not knowing whether emails are not getting to me. I know it’s a bit like worrying about the next disaster except that there is “supposedly” something you can do about it. Well, maybe if “you” are an email consultant.
- Things are expensive here. It’s not the 7% GST and 7% PST that gets attached to almost every purchase – yes, that is 14%. It’s the duties or tariffs or somethings that gets tacked onto nearly everything. I wanted to buy Newsweek the other day and it was like going out to dinner.
- Amazon.ca is stinky. I don’t like it. It’s interface seems a pale reference to Amazon.com and, while it still kind of knows who I am, it just doesn’t offer the range, variety, and sheer value of its big American sister. For instance, I want to buy Dan Cederholm’s new book Bulletproof Web Design because it looks like a nice read. The price is CDN$39.19. List price is $55.99. The same book at Amazon in the States $26.39. List is $39.99. Free shipping applies to both. And I believe that GST will apply whereas in the States, nada on the tax front. This means that Dan’s books would cost me exactly CND$41.93. Sorry, Dan. On the other hand, perhaps U.S. citizens should all be paying an added 7% tax to help out the families in Louisiana.