Periodically, one hears of a survey being carried out, to determine which of the many nations of the world stand highest in the estimation of their own citizens. Time and again, we learn that the population of Canada rate their own country among the top ten, as one of the best places in the world for human habitation. We are happy to be living here and not in any of a hundred or more other countries.
What is there about this country that has earned the approval of approximately 80% of its citizens? We can cite a number of factors: scenery, climate, natural resources, freedom, democracy, peacefulness, etc. But there are other countries that share these blessings, and have not made it to the top ten.
It has been said that the success of a society can be measured by the way it treats its most vulnerable citizens. Generally, the nations that rise to the top in such surveys are those that have universal and equitable health care – conspicuously, the Scandinavian nations – and Canada.
It is also significant that in a recent survey Canadians named Tommy Douglas, “the father of medicare”, as the greatest Canadian of his century, despite a general reluctance to vote for the party which he led.
Recently however, Douglas’ legacy has been under attack.