‘Call a Canadian’?

I can't decide if this is smart politics or an invitation to thousands of horrible intrusions on the private lives of innocent people.

Call a Canadian : Effect Measure

Back in the days when Quebec was a referendum in the Province on whether to secede from the rest of Canada, there was a campaign from outside to call a Quebecois to tell them that Quebec was a valued part of the country. People dialed their own phone number but with a Quebec area code. Mr. Link suggests that Americans start a similar campaign to Call a Canadian:

Want to know what universal single-payer health care is really like? Do people die on gurneys waiting for operations? Would you pay through the nose in taxes? Is it really worry free? Instead of listening to “experts” from the health insurance industry, lobbyists, the government, or even Michael Moore, why not call an average Canadian and find out for yourself?

Substitute your area code for a Canadian one listed below and call your own phone number. Introduce yourself and ask the person at the end of the line what they think about their health care system. Ask about their own experience. The service, the price, the choice, whatever.

Then make up your mind if single-payer universal health care is a good idea for the USA.

Canadian Area Codes:

  • 709 Atlantic Time plus a half hour
  • 506 and 902 Atlantic Time
  • 819, 418, 581, 450, 613, 514, 438, 343, 416, 647, 905, 289, 705, 519, 226, 807 Eastern Time
  • 204, 306 Central Time
  • 867, 780, 587, 403, 587 Mountain Time
  • 250, 778, 604 Pacific Time

Somehow, I just can't shake the idea that most foreigners would just as soon not find a strange American on the line quizzing them about health care (or anything else for that matter).

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18 Responses to ‘Call a Canadian’?

  1. JWalker says:

    Your results will depend on which Canadian answers. If the Canadian is well and not using the healthcare system, s/he will tell you that its great. If the CAnadian needed the system for emergency care, you will hear two things. If it was non-life threatnening trip to emergency, you will hear about waits ranging from 4-13 hours; questionable quality of care and not so great staff-patient relations. There is research documenting this. If it was a life threatening situation, the report will (generally, buit not always) be positive. If the Canadian was one of the 5 million who are without a family doctor and cannot find one, you will hear negative things. If you are one of the 1.5 million adults waiting for elective surgery, you will also hear about “find-it-yourself” healthcare — and they may tell you about the many who leave to find their medically necessary care elsewhere.
    Canadian RN

  2. get_out_more says:

    How can you live in S. Florida and not know that many of the Canadian tourists are going there to get health care needs addressed on their “vacation?”

    And the question is moot anyway, because Canadians aren’t dealing with millions of illegal immigrants who use emergency rooms as their primary care physicians. Oh wait, I forgot. Its for the chiiiildren.

  3. AC says:

    The obvious point of Michael’s post was not about the merits of universal heath care but about this push to annoy individual Canadians. Are the responders in favor of that tactic or not?

    So what is the point of attacking Michael on the merits, or suggesting he is ignorant of the merits? Nothing in his post suggests that. Please think for yourself instead of just emoting resistance to whatever Michael says or endorsing any coordinated media plan against health care initiatives.

  4. According to http://www.whitepages.ca/maps/MON, area codes 514 and 438 are for Montreal. 418, 450 and 819 are also for parts of Quebec.

    Better brush up on your French before you call any of those.


  5. Patrick (G) says:

    I appreciate Janet’s response, I found it insightful.
    As a thought-experiment, I tried doing her analysis from a U.S. perspective:

    If a U.S. citizen is well and not using the healthcare system, s/he will tell you that its great, but expensive. If the U.S. citizen needed the system for non-life-threatening emergency care, the wait-time and quality of care will depend upon which emergency room you go to. If for a life-threatening situation, the report will generally (but not always) be positive. Most americans don’t have a “family doctor” anymore since being a general practitioner doesn’t pay as well as being some sort of specialist. If the U.S. citizen was one of 50 million who are without medical insurance, you will hear real fear about needing to use the healthcare system because of its exorbitant costs. Elective surgery in the U.S. is generally available to those who can afford it, and if you can’t, there is no waiting list, you’re just out of luck.

  6. i_love_big_brother says:

    “Please think for yourself instead of just emoting resistance to whatever Michael says or endorsing any coordinated media plan against health care initiatives.”

    Thank you Mr. Thought-policeman. Thank you for stopping my transgression against a venerated supporter of Chairman Obama! All Hail Obama! All Hail Socialism!

  7. Patrick (G) says:

    I love…
    The cognitive process by which telling someone to “Please think for yourself” makes that person a “Thought-policeman”.

  8. LACJ says:

    I will act mindlessly contrarian if I want to, dammit!

    Nobody’s going to tell me what to do.

  9. i_love_big_brother says:

    My most humble apologies, o ye who have anointed thyselves the Green Shirts of Obama!

    I see now my error. There was absolutely no independent thought to the argument that a call to the Canadians would be wasteful because their system does not face the same burdens (illegal free-riders) as ours. Of course it does not matter that illegal aliens have forced several hospitals in the southwestern US states to shut down. No, as Obama and the wise Janet Neopolitano say there is no such thing as illegal aliens and they absolutely do not burden our health care system, only evil radio hosts (the Enemy of the State) says this.

    So yes please, call the Canadians. Call them, because they know what is best, their country is just like ours.

    Yes I see now. Everything Obama says is Right and Perfect. Everything michael says is Right and Perfect. Change and Hope. Obama has a new puppy, Happy Day! Yes I love Obama and I love the State.

    I too will mock and join you as you attack those who oppose the State of Obama! I too will seek to silence their voices! I want to be a good American and go along with whatever Obama says!

  10. Rhodo Zeb says:

    I liked Red Shirts better. That’s snazzy, all the ladies like it.

    I was at, by the way, one of those southwestern US state hospital shut-downs.

    It was a righteous ho-down of socialist uprisers. A beautiful thing to behold.

  11. LACJ says:

    I love you too, man.

    Really. Thanks for playing.

  12. i_love_big_brother says:

    Yes, yes I agree. If Obama says there are no illegal aliens, then there are no illegal aliens. If Obama says illegal aliens are not costing our hospitals billions of dollars, then illegal aliens are not costing our hospitals billions of dollars. Obama and Canadians are all wise, all knowing. I love the government, and I love Obama. I am a good American and I do not question our Glorious Leader. I am here to serve him, as is michael and LACJ. All of Obama’s ideas are wise and perfect and together we will crush all opposition to Obama. Our nation shall be Glorious, and Obama shall rule as our King.

    It feels so good to “think for myself” as the Obamatons here recommended. It is very liberating indeed.

  13. Patrick (G) says:

    I actually do wear green most of the time,
    although if the green shirt reference is supposed to be a historical allusion, it’s lost on me.

    I saw an estimate that there are maybe illegal aliens 12-20 million illegal immigrants in the U.S., which works out to about 4-7% of the population. so obviously, That must be why we pay twice as much per capita as all the other industrialized nations for health care.

    Except, not. subtract the 20million illegals from 50 million uninsured, and you still have 30 million people uninsured, which is still a freaking 10% of the population uninsured. And that’s not counting those that are under-insured.

    So I’m thinking a less sucky, lest costly alternative would be a good thing. Don’t you think so too?

  14. i_love_big_brother says:

    “So I’m thinking a less sucky, lest costly alternative would be a good thing. Don’t you think so too?”

    Like you I am a good American and I will think whatever Obama wants me to think.

    I love government. Everything the government is in charge of works perfectly, much better than private industry. The government runs schools better than private industry, that is why even wealthy parents put their kids in government schools. The government always spends wisely and prudently, and is much less corrupt than private industry.

    The way the government now runs Medicare and Medicaid is perfect. There is absolutely no waste or fraud in the system. I see absolutely no reason to disagree with Obama and I think government will run our health care system like a finely tuned Swiss watch. It will be magnificent and glorious, like all of Obama’s works.

    I for one cannot wait until the doctors and nurses that treat me are government employees. The doctors and nurses at the VA are the best in the world and you never ever hear of veterans complaining about the standard of care they receive. Becoming government employees will motivate the doctors and nurses to do even better. Because every government employee I encounter, especially federal employees, are very happy and motivated, they want nothing more than to help me.

    I am very happy that Obama will give me the privilege of paying more taxes so that I can help pay for the health care others will need. Although I am not overweight and do not smoke, I am still happy to pay the bill for others who have not yet learned to live healthy. If McDonalds and cigarettes were really unhealthy, I am sure Obama would ban them. And I really want to pay for the health care of the “guest workers.” After all if I go to Mexico then they will give me top notch health care there too for free, so why should I not pay more taxes? Yes Obama is so wise and magnificent.

    Socializing our medicine will also help the British and Canadians. They are always complaining that too many Americans are clogging up their system seeking out better health care than what is offered in America. That will be a kind and magnificent gesture we can make to them, Obama be praised.

    Yes, yes socialize medicine. If Obama says the government should be in charge of health care, then nothing can go wrong. Obama is perfect and magnificent, and our Government is perfect and magnificent.

  15. Patrick (G) says:


    1. Public schools versus private schools. Families take on substantial financial burdens in order to move into neighborhoods with good public schools.

    2. Medicare and medicaid are reimbursement programs; where there is substantial waste and fraud, it is being perpetrated by hospitals and clinics managed by corporate entities who have a profit motive.

    3. VA care is actually pretty good these days, if you can get it. The complaints I’ve heard about the VA from veterans are more about not being eligible for VA.

    4. If the money is coming out of my paycheck to pay for my health care, I don’t care if it’s going towards an insurance company or the government so long as my health needs are taken care of. Except I’ve seen the games that insurance companies play in order to avoid or delay disbursement.

    4a. McDonalds and cigarettes are unhealthy, so is drinking. We tried prohibition, and we found out it doesn’t work.

  16. Rhodo Zeb says:

    Is that where your tax dollars go, ILBB?

    Because mine seem to go into the pockets of the defense industry. Funny, that.

    Where, precisely, can I go to have that addressed? Who should I call?

  17. AC says:

    ILBB, or previously Randon and other names on this site, please read Michael’s posts twice and try to process them correctly before your start spamming your nonsensical replies. Disagree if you want, but try to disagree with what he actually wrote. I often disagree with him but can actually process what he said.

    After reading this blog and your replies for a year now, I am still struck by your basic reading comprehension errors, and frankly I am tired of them. You come across as someone who continually gets bad grades (or work evaluations) due to comprehension errors and an inability to reply to what the teacher/supervisor asks, and then blames their “political leanings” for your grade. It is not just paranoia, it is a sad lack of self knowledge. You still do not get that almost all of the people who reply to you on this blog do so because we are attempting to point out your basic reading errors and mischaracterization of what just got said. I cannot be the first one who has pointed out to you that you do not seem to be focusing on the point at all, and that you jump to insulting conclusions by projecting onto others the lockstep talking-points thinking you display all the time.

    Listen to all these people telling you this, and get help. A perfect example is this whole universal health insurance thing. I am not for it and may well disagree with Michael about its merits. I don’t know, because his post wasn’t about the merits. It dealt with a phonecalling strategy that I myself find invasive of Canadian individuals. Your reply to me is that I am some kind of Obama robot. No one who knows me would think that. And nothing in my reply says that, unless anyone who disagrees with you about anything is therefore in favor of Obama on everything, in your bizarro fantasy world where his mom bribed the hospital to make him APPEAR to be born in the U.S. not to give him citizenship, which he already had, but instead to have native-born citizenship — because she could foresee that her half-black teen-mom’d child in 1961 needed to have his presidential chances preserved. Oh right. And she gave him a foreign middle name to boot because she figured that would help his candidacy. Most of what you write makes no sense, and you do not seem to care.

    Anyway, I have come to the conclusion that you need help and I am not engaging you ever again. If I am not the first person to have said this to you, then maybe we have a point and you should get the help before your life gets even more paranoid and sad than it seems from this neutral vantage point.

  18. UML99 says:

    I haven’t had the chance to read the postings and comments on Discourse.net for some time, and I’m usually a quiet reader, but since I was born and raised in Canada, I thought I should address a couple of comments and misconceptions here…

    Canada’s health care system is universal, but it is not single-payer. There are 15 different systems rather than a single, national program. Each of the 10 provincial and 3 territorial governments administers and delivers health care to most residents. The federal government is responsible for native people who live on reservations, as well as members of the military and their families. Also, mirroring the ongoing legal conundrum of balancing US states’ rights versus federal powers, provincial governments bicker amongst themselves while vigorously opposing any federal efforts to usurp their constitutional powers over health care.

    Doctors are not government employees, and patients almost never see a hospital or doctor’s bill, much less get sued for not paying an outrageous bill that charges $8 per Tylenol pill. Doctors remain largely autonomous in deciding when and where they work. They bill provincial governments on a fee-for-service basis. Canadian hospitals are autonomous institutions and are usually governed by local health authorities.

    Are there problems in this system? Sure. It does take longer for non-emergency treatment. But you’ll never be denied treatment up there because you’re poor (in other words, even if you can’t pay, you can still get medical treatment).

    However, you should also keep in mind that Canadians have health care costs that they have to pay out of pocket or through private insurance. Most dental work, prescription drugs for people not at retirement age, and eyeglasses are among the many costs not covered. And, since I was a teenager, elective surgeries such as nose jobs and breast reductions are no longer covered (now ask me how many people I knew in high school who snuck their nips and tucks in under the deadline…).

    If the US really wants some kind of universal basic health care coverage, then we will have to be willing to pay for it through some kind of tax. These things do cost money, you know. There are significant benefits to having it. And good luck. If you think it’s unwieldy in Canada, just wait until we try to implement it here…

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