Canada, What a Surprise?
(from my Archive: 1990)
After my immigration to Canada about six months ago, I found life full of surprises. I knew from very beginning that Canada is a cold country. It is a gentler and kinder society compared to the big neighbour south, the United States. Canada has liberal social programs, which in some cases promote unemployment and dependence on welfare. However, I never expected the things that I am going to say here.
The first thing I noticed that children of less than ten years old, delivering newspapers and fliers door to door early in the morning. I was shocked to see how parents allow child labour in such a rich country, Canada. At the same time, the western nations deplore child labour practices in poor countries. Many parents in those places actually depend on the earnings of their children to sustain daily survival.
Then I encountered very fervent campaign by the United Way on TV as well as in my work place. My colleagues explained to me that this is a charity organization that collects money to support various social programs and to feed poor and needy. This really surprised me. A country that collects highest amount of taxes from its working population among rich nations, how does it fail to provide basic necessities to citizens. Why do they have to depend on various philanthropic programs for ends to meet. In the mean time, I also discovered Food Banks. I saw that not only unemployed and welfare recipients depend on food banks, but in some cases, employed people also resort to them. After taxes, there is not much left for them to pay for bread and butter.
The most shocking thing, in a hilarious way, was the Halloween. Children and teenagers wearing horror costumes were begging door to door at night with pillow cases in their hands. I felt really sorry for them. Coming from the third world country, instinctively I ran to my kitchen to get a loaf of bread and vegetable can. Children laughed at me and asked for candies, cookies or chips. Then I realized, yes Canada is a rich country. Children may beg door to door, but they have their pride and standard in choosing what donation to accept.
© Mahmood Iqbal and ipotpourri.wordpress.com: 2012