Weekend Reads I'm an American who moved to Canada —here's why I'll never move back

16:07  14 september  2018
16:07  14 september  2018 Source:   msn.com

Feds face fresh deadline in NAFTA talks

  Feds face fresh deadline in NAFTA talks Feds face fresh deadline in NAFTA talksTrade experts say Canada and the U.S. need to present a text to the U.S. Congress by Oct. 1 in order to join the deal the Trump administration signed with Mexico last week.

a view of a city street © Diego Grandi/Shutterstock

(Editor’s note: The opinions in this article are the author’s, as published by our content partner, and do not necessarily represent the views of MSN or Microsoft.)

We all have that person in our family: the gregarious relative who slaps you on the back, laughs too loudly, and somehow takes up all the space in whatever room (s)he happens to inhabit. In the world order, that relation is the United States. I live in Canada, the soft-spoken, more respectful, more tactful cousin, with whom you have a surprisingly great conversation and can't wait to see again.

Before anyone assumes that I fled the US due to the recent political strife, I've been gone for a decade. I left for love in 2008, right as the world was falling off a precipice due to the financial crisis. Initially, the plan was to stay for a year or two, but the longer I stayed, the deeper my roots here grew, and the more the US feels like a place to which I can never return.

Trudeau draws lines as NAFTA talks resume

  Trudeau draws lines as NAFTA talks resume Trudeau draws lines as NAFTA talks resumeTrudeau says the dispute resolution mechanism in Chapter 19 ensures trade rules are followed.

Here are some of the things that keep me tied to the Great White North.

The politics are quieter.

Justin Trudeau standing in front of a crowd © Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press via AP

I can engage in political discussion with people holding opposing viewpoints without it turning into a character assassination of ourselves or politicians (for the most part). The pre-election campaign cycles are much shorter, and there are five active political parties. Politics are still politics, but most of the time, it's not incredibly sensational.

Their borders seem more open to me.

The world is faced with a migrant crisis, and Canada is committed to opening that golden door so the huddled masses come to breathe free. Rather than just providing charity for refugees and immigrants, Canada's goal is to solve labor shortages and wants to bolster the population to power the economy for years to come. As an immigrant, being given the chance to have a positive economic impact and contribute to a thriving society is much appreciated.

US, Canada extend trade negotiations to Friday

  US, Canada extend trade negotiations to Friday WASHINGTON - U.S. and Canadian negotiators will extend at least through Friday their negotiations to reach a deal that would allow Canada to remain in a North American trade bloc. Canada's envoy — Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland — left a five-minute-long meeting with U.S. Trade Rep. Robert Lighthizer Thursday night. She told reporters that it was important to discuss a couple of issues face to face but offered no further details. She added that the two sides agreed to meet again Friday.Freeland has been negotiating in Washington since last week. The U.S. and Canada are sparring over issues including U.S.

They have a cross-country train.

Like in the States, train travel is expensive. But both the Trans Canada Railway and VIA Rail offer options to take you coast to coast, giving people a way to see a large swath of the country. This one's on my bucket list.

They have pseudo-socialized health care.

Contrary to popular rhetoric, healthcare in Canada is not free; it's funded through a combination of personal and corporate taxation. But as long as you have your health card, you don't have to pay for the most basic services, including doctor visits, ultrasounds, and hospital stays. (Well, unless you want a private room. That will cost extra.)

For the most part, guns are for hunting.

a man wearing a military uniform © PBS

There are plenty of guns in Canada. Yes, some of them are used for violent crime and there aren't strict gun regulations in place, but the culture around guns doesn't seem as fanatical (yet). For reference, Canada has 5.1 gun-related homicides per million people, America has 29.7, according to Vox.

PC Financial's credit card tops study rankings

  PC Financial's credit card tops study rankings President's Choice Financial's credit card nabbed the highest customer satisfaction rating in J.D. Power's inaugural Canada credit card study, beating out American Express, Canadian Tire and all the Big Six banks' offerings.The financial services brand of supermarket chain Loblaw Companies Ltd. had the highest score of 788 on the study, which examines six factors including benefits, rewards and credit card terms.

I like their money.

George Washington posing for the camera © Flickr / KMR Photography

No more worrying about taping that bill back together - the bills are made of polymer. The newest design also features a person of color, civil rights activist Viola Desmond.

. . . and the currency has fun nicknames.

The dollar bill and two dollar bill are coins, nicknamed the Loonie and the Toonie.

Poutine is seriously amazing.

a plate of hot dogs and fries © Guillem Vellut/ Flickr

It's not just cheese and gravy on French fries. The secret lies in the cheese curds, the fresh, squeaky bits of curdled milk. While some Canadians think any variation is sacrilege, lobster poutine is pretty divine.

They are on their way to legalized recreational marijuana.

Whatever your thoughts about using marijuana, it's a fact that criminalizing usage is expensive for courts and law enforcement. Legalization is scheduled for October in Canada.

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Canada seeks tariff protections, assurances from U.S. in NAFTA talks .
The window for Canada and the U.S. to land a NAFTA breakthrough this week is getting smaller, as officials sit down in Washington, D.C., today for what are expected to be the final high-level meetings this week.Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, who is leading the Canadian delegation, is supposed to be unavailable Friday for the NAFTA talks as she is scheduled to be in Montreal to host a summit of female foreign ministers.

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