Why I love being Canadian

Here's what I find great in Canada: read on to see the points on why the bureaucracy issue is overblown

Why I love being Canadian

Hi, all 👋 2024 was the year I finally got my Canadian citizenship, over a decade after I moved to our glorious country and started paying taxes (he-he). Even though my heritage is spilling into my everyday life (hopefully only the good parts of it), I identify with Canada more than with any other country today. Partially, this is because every time I get back to Vancouver, it feels like coming home—no matter what country I'm coming back from.

Canada is not ideal—but nothing is. We have our own problems that we all need to work together to solve. However, this blog post isn't about the bad parts of Canada—on the contrary, I want to express everything I'm grateful for.

A bit about me

I'm not a sports fan; I haven't grown up in an English-speaking country (or French-speaking, for what it's worth). I'm more of an introvert than an extrovert (even though I have no trouble extraverting occasionally). I'm what you could call "a cisgender white male" nowadays who enjoys being a part of a nuclear family and values having kids and bringing them up in a safe, prosperous environment. I'm vanilla and generic as humans go—and I love my identity.

I originally came from Russia after spending my childhood up to 18 years old in the late '90s and '00s. Politically, I'm for whatever policies make sense and contribute to helping the people, whether it is from conservatives, liberals, or whoever else is recognized as a political party in Canada. I'm not religious, but I understand people who are and respect their choices.

I live on the West Coast, primarily in Vancouver. I don't have enough experience living in other provinces (or even other cities) in Canada. Whenever I go to the East Coast, the people are the same, but frankly, after living in Western Siberia for 18 years, I got tired of snow in the winter.

You can see that I'm, on the one hand, a very generic human being—yet on the other hand, I seem to be one of the dying examples of the silent majority. Keep the context about me above in your head while reading the points below. Canada might not work for everyone, but it works spectacularly well for me. Hey, if you think like me and like what I like, maybe Canada can become your future home, too!

The lack of bureaucracy

Don't stop reading just yet; let me elaborate. Yes, the IIRC has always been a pain to deal with. Yes, filing taxes every year is cumbersome. Yes, waiting for permits to alter strata units isn't fun. However, I strongly feel that people overblow the bureaucracy problem in Canada.

For instance, much unnecessary paper-pushing from other countries is absent here. Have you ever tried to get a kid into a swimming pool in Russia? Do you know how many medical notes you need to prove they aren't parasite-infested? And yes, they also use chlorine in the pools that kill these pesky parasites, yet you have to get this useless piece of paper to get your kid into the pool. Most of the time, doctors don't even check the kids for parasites.

Or the fact that you must have an address assigned to you in Russia. For example, you will get arrested if you don't have one written down on your passport. I don't even know if it's possible to not have it in the passport. And when you move? There's a whole thing about changing this address. You keep hearing things like "Moscow registration" as a brand that "opens doors." You will not get many social benefits in Moscow if you don't have Moscow registration—even though you live there.

How about exiting the country? Everyone must have the right to vote with their feet. You must be able to simply walk away from a country you don't like. In Russia, you have passport control on entry and exit from the country. They don't let some people leave the country for any made-up reason.

Do you see how messed up this is? Now, how does this compare to Canada? It is so laid-back that some people call themselves "sovereign citizens" who even drive without insurance or license plates. I'm not defending them in any way here, but the fact that they exist and this is absolutely possible makes one question the hypothesis that bureaucracy in Canada is unbearable.

Whenever I had issues with bureaucracy, it usually took me holding for a few hours (at the most) on a call while waiting for a support person to talk to me about my situation. Granted, this was very limited to my specific case and was painful. However, one entirely different thing is that

Canadians treat people like people

I've solved every bad situation by simply talking. There was no nonsense like a judge taking away my rights because a person in power told them to do so. Remember, though, that I'm relatively good at talking, so that's a plus for me. Every time there was an issue, there also was a real person on the other end who could listen and understand the circumstances I've been in.

It almost seems like the people working in government don't associate themselves with the government with utmost loyalty but see it as an employer they can always leave. First and foremost, they were humans who also had families and had experienced hardships before. Only after this did they protect the interests of the government.

Even law enforcement is humane and understandable most of the time. Don't get me wrong; there are glaring issues in the system, but relatively speaking, the cops won't shoot you unnecessarily in Canada. However, any of them can have bad days (and nowadays, more frequently), and being a Canadian also understands this.

Here's a quick example: I once got ticketed by accidentally grabbing my wife's transit card (they all look the same). I entered the Skytrain station, and a police officer politely asked me to check the card quickly. Sure, why not—I tapped the card on their terminal, and it turned out my wife had a U-Pass on her card. He then proceeded to ask me for my student ID; I studied at UBC, so why not? I said it without suspecting anything terrible happening. Apparently, that officer has a pretty humane way of sifting for people who use stolen or second-hand U-Passes; he asked for the name, student ID, and something else—and if even one answer was correct, he let it go.

Do you see what happens here? Instead of asking for a driver's license (they can't do that) and quickly checking against the name on the U-Pass, the police officer used a common-sense way to determine if a person used an unauthorized transit card. He didn't want to instigate troubles unnecessarily. He understood the process was cumbersome and people might be in a hurry, so the process was quick. I got my ticket and disputed it before the judge. Guess what? I won the case, and the fine was dropped.

And it doesn't just happen on the government level. Private institutions and companies also follow the same humane way of dealing with you. The people you talk to from these companies are mainly the agents of that company and not the company itself. They have motivations and goals that might not completely align with "make as much money as possible." Compared to Russia, where every single person that you talk to is on a power trip and wants to humiliate you as much as possible.

This makes many things more manageable because you feel welcome and at home. Everybody is in the same boat because most people are within the same social class.

People treat people like people and not like numbers or quotas. This, I absolutely love in Canada.

The great outdoors

I love that I can snowboard in the morning and golf in the afternoon! Or I can hike in the mountains and then kayak somewhere in the ocean on the same day. The spirit of the outdoors (at least in BC) is so alive, and the trails are so well-maintained that even a lifetime isn't enough to explore it all. There wasn't a summer when I didn't go camping, sometimes to very remote mountains. And if you get injured too much? Yeah, you get a helicopter ride, ay lmao.

The sheer fact that I have a forest in my backyard is mind-boggling. And, what do you mean that there are trails sprinkled over it maintained by the best rangers in the world? Now, this is taxes well-spent.

But the great outdoors is nothing without the people enjoying it and the communities around it. You can venture alone only so much. Hop on any Facebook groups where someone always looks for more people to hike with!

The food

Oh my, oh my. This isn't the UK, where you get a well-done steak, fries, beans, and toast. Vancouver has so many cuisines that I'm honestly puzzled about picking a spot (or a cuisine) we want to try. Yes-yes, the cost of living and doing business is going over the roof, and many places are closed, yet we still have so many of them that it's a sin not to enjoy them. Virtually anything you want, you can get in Vancouver. Especially if it's Asian, Mediterranian, American, or Mexican; actually, while writing this, I realized that almost any cuisine is here.

Even though I'm vegan, before I stopped eating animals, I could go into any sushi restaurant and get high-quality fish dishes. No, you don't get it, probably. I mean, any. When I go to a sushi place in the UK or the US, I'm disappointed 8/10 times. And being vegan? I can't remember a better place I've been to with so many vegan options!

Being American without being American

I grew up with the "Fox Kids" TV channel. It sounds silly nowadays, but it wasn't political; it was just the Cartoon Network equivalent in Russia. "Life with Louie," "Bad Dog," "The Kids from Room 402," and others profoundly shaped my desires and identity. I wanted to get into this style of living forever. When I came to Canada in 2012, I was awed by how this became my reality; I cried with joy many times over the next decade.

However, this wasn't just the US way of living; Canada is better in this sense. I got all the good of the culture without the bad. For instance, it's not a melting pot; it's multiculturalism. I am amazed by how well the cultures co-exist here, and I'm always curious to learn more and more things about how others live, all within the familiar and close-to-heart setting of American TV shows.

My kids will soon go to school, and you bet I'll ask them many questions about how their days will be going. I'm curious about how it all works here and if the things I've seen are accurate. Small details like personal lockers in schools still amaze me. It is so logical, yet I wanted one so much back in Russia that I didn't have to carry all my books with me every day to and from school.

I love being in North America because I experience my childhood dreams first-hand without the issues of modern vulture capitalism.


Due to geopolitical and long-term planning reasons, Canada is the best country to live in. Here's why:

  • 20% of the world's freshwater supply is in Canada. People dismiss this point, but in 10-20 years, this will be a significant resource.
  • Canada is probably the only country that will benefit from climate change. We will see the shipping route up north open up, making other routes obsolete. None of Canada will become uninhabitable due to hot weather, but many territories will become habitable.
  • Canada has only 41.4 million people, yet it's the second-largest country in the world. The population is projected to nearly double in the next 55 years.
  • Fortunately, the people coming are mostly skilled professionals from respectable countries. Refugees from the Middle East are filtered out by going to Europe, and less-skilled migrants are going to the US, which leaves Canada with only the people who have their goal of immigrating to Canada. We lose people to the US, but who knows how US politics will change?
  • We still have more births than deaths. It is not much, but at least we get the dead people replaced with the new people. People might have more children if the financial situation improves in the next decade.
  • Canada is a part of NATO and is safe from most wars on the other end of the world. Yes, we have the nukes pointed at us, but so does every notable country.
  • Yes, oil.
  • Yes, renewables.
  • Yes, nuclear.

It's a democracy

Whatever anyone tells you about Canada, I'm coming from Russia. I know a dictatorship when I see one. The politics in Canada is crooked—but so is the politics in every democracy. There is a thin line between a dictatorship and a democracy, though. In Canada, to matter in the political arena, one has to become an MP or at least work at the MP office—because these elected officials decide the policies, not the usual citizens. In a dictatorship, you can't be elected into power; you're selected by the dictator and their cronies.

However, politics aside, the primary benefit of a democracy is how the future potential surprise gains are distributed. Remember the oil curse? When large oil reserves are found in a country, the democracy index makes all the difference. If it's closer to a dictatorship, the people get poorer. If it's closer to a democracy, the people get richer. This rule applies not only to oil but also to any natural resources. I firmly believe that the unexplored North of Canada hides many riches—and the country's democratic institutes are equipped to distribute the profits fairly so that an average person's quality of life goes up.

Sure, some of it will be stolen. The question here is how much will be stolen, relatively speaking. It's not "all or nothing." Corruption is a spectrum.

People mind their own business

Besides the "Karen" exemptions, no one cares about what you do if you don't negatively affect others. Canada is where you can get lost and never be seen by anyone, but you can also make all the difference in the world. In the words of a friend of mine, "Canada is the largest PvE server, whereas the US is the largest PvP server," if that makes sense.

The thing is, you can walk shirtless in Downtown Vancouver and shout profanities at empty spaces, and no one cares. Or you can build a community around 4x4 offroad camping, and every single member would care.

If we're talking about an open-world video game, Canada is one of the most fun places to explore, become someone, and grind the levels, and people won't mind.

You can go to the North-West territories and build a medieval house or a castle. If someone complains, simply talk to them, and no one will be against it. And if they are, what would they do, send national guards to stop you?

Frontier of psychedelics research

Psychedelics are a powerful class of drugs that gets a bad rep from the racist war on drugs in the US. In Vancouver, you can conduct psychological research and determine what makes the brain tick. The best part? You won't get jail time for it. This is a branch of humanity long lost and being rediscovered in real-time, and the rediscovery happens here, in Vancouver.

The weather

I have one too many friends who immigrated to Vancouver and told me they get more sunshine here than where they came from. I feel Raincouver receives a lot of unjust bad fame for being gray or too rainy. In fact, the weather here is excellent. We get freezing temperatures in the winter, eliminating many parasites and nasty stuff; we get rain and hot weather in the summer. I'm literally sweating balls right now because I made the mistake of getting a fake leather sofa.

As a matter of fact, the weather here is lovely. Supplement D3 in the rainy months, get used to wearing rain gear, and chill on a beach covered in snow 1-2 weeks a year.

The guns

Now, we don't have handguns anymore—but the government has castrated the use of them a long time ago anyway. 5.6% of Canadians hold a gun license, which means they can walk into a gun store, get a 12-gauge, and drive away with it! The best part is the daily criminal checks that make RCMP take away both the license and your guns the moment you commit a violent crime.

And violent gun crimes? In Canada, it mostly happens with illegally imported guns from the US. Partially because it is challenging to commit a mass shooting with something that doesn't go full-auto. Whenever you hear of a gun crime in Canada—for some reason, it's not done with an unrestricted class of guns.

I'm ever-grateful that I can drive my kids to school and still have peace of mind that they won't get shot up by a mate. I have no idea how you do this in the US, folks.

Tax-funded medical system

Many jokes about the Canadian medical system don't do it justice. However, I don't think I ever heard of anyone suffering from it too much. Yes, you will need to wait. Yes, you need to learn how to navigate it and tell the doctor you have all the right symptoms to get an MRI sooner rather than later.

People forget that Canada also has many private clinics that compete with "free" medical services. When I wanted to get a brain MRI, I had a quick telephone visit with a doctor within an hour of booking it, got a referral from them, booked an MRI at a private clinic next door, and got it done the next day. The cost? Something like 700 CAD. Granted, this wasn't an emergency, and I just wanted to check if my brain was OK. Thankfully, I don't have any abnormalities—and now this is a medical fact, ay lmao.

But I could also wait 2-3 months to get the same thing for "free." I'll drop the quotation marks around the "free" healthcare because we all know it's tax-funded. But indeed, it does feel free.

In fact, I tore my Achilles tendon last week. Got into the ER, had to spend half a day there waiting and being triaged, got an ultrasound, and got referred to one of the world-class orthopedic surgeons next door from me. I don't even know what I should get (gods forbid) to be pissed by the Canadian healthcare system. I'm sure you have the stories, but I don't have them.

Most of my grudge is that IRCC was too slow to get us the status after approval. MSP did not give us coverage because of the lack of that paper, and then we had to pay for a costly medical procedure in monthly installments without interest over the next 2.5 years. Yet, the care we got during that time at the hospital was world-class. How do I know that? Google Russian hospital pictures outside of Moscow. It's common for people to come back from hospital with bedbugs there. That's how bad the free healthcare can get—and it's nothing close to what we have in Canada.

The taxes

The good, the bad, and the taxes. I hate giving away ~30% of my earnings, but so does everyone. All the countries that have less taxes, though? Yeah, no human rights. Oh, sorry, you can't be catholic. Oh, alcohol and drugs? Sorry, only for the royalty. Oh, social services? Yeah, we reserve that for the rich. Oh, please don't mind us marrying and raping underage girls. Oh, the "work migrants?" Don't mind them; they'll be dead of heatstroke tomorrow anyway; we'll bring more.

Or when they have "less" taxes, the sales tax, the transport tax, the land tax, or whatever else the government makes up to account for the lost revenue suddenly goes up. The g-man always takes his cut. At least in Canada, this is transparent, and capital gain taxes are still lower than in the US! Do the math, people, don't be sheeple.


Canada is home, and I'm ever so grateful that my family is Canadian. If I can call myself patriotic, even though a charged term, I'd say I'm a patriot of Canada all the way through. Yes, Canada has a lot of issues, but relatively speaking we're dealing with them relatively efficiently.

Yes, Canada could and should be better, however, it is already better than the most of the world, including a lot of superpowers. From a viewpoint of an individual, it's one of the best—if not the best—places to live in.

So here's to Canada, let's tackle the bad but appreciate the good!