“Whether we live together in confidence and cohesion; with more faith and pride in ourselves and less self-doubt and hesitation; strong in the conviction that the destiny of Canada is to unite, not divide; sharing in cooperation, not in separation or in conflict; respecting our past and welcoming our future.” (Lester Pearson)
With the arrival of June on our 2018 road trip, Ruth and I realized that our Eastern Canadian journeys to Toronto and Montreal would prioritize time managed stays with friends rather than casual sightseeing tours. Feeling somewhat guilty that I would miss out on the historic/cultural riches of English and French history in the respective city centers, I pondered a more mundane glimpse of our Canadian road trip adventure. Several revelations about our highway travel there come to mind.
1. Canadian traffic flowed well as we traversed toll-free state highways.
Our driving experience along Canadian Highway 401 from Toronto east to Montreal along the north coast of Lake Ontario took place smoothly. Consider the 100km. maximum speed limits/steep enforcement penalties combined with clear and concise sign reference to key destinations off the highway as prime evidence of our efficient and safe ease of travel. Note also how state tourist pamphlets were provided to us at rest stops detailing key destinations throughout the provinces with upcoming events available. To ease downtown gridlock in Toronto, contemplate the logic that we opted to take faster express lanes clearly separated by cement wall barriers to avoid traversing more congested lanes entering and exiting the highway.
2. We savored the “open road” feel of the Canadian Highway.
Unlike American Interstate highways, there seemed little to distract my mind from driving along our Route 401 drive to Montreal. The absence of advertising billboards along with vast swaths of greenbelt providing unobstructed views of the lakeshore felt oddly serene in the face of our long distance highway challenges. While road surfaces at times showed evidence of weatherbeaten potholes, construction zone advanced warnings and minimal lane closures in these hazardous locations kept traffic flowing with little speed interruptions.
3. Canadian highways captured a keen sense of authentic history.
In our travel experiences, I have noted that the encroachment of urban sprawl tends to create a faceless commercial presence in a city/suburb unconducive to historic preservation. With fast food, car sales lots… the expected norm in such money blighted areas, we refreshingly passed towns on our Canadian route 401 trek seemingly untouched from their historic past. The Shakespearian England look of an aging Ontario barn, a medieval-like town center tightly clustered near the town church, a proud Quebec province flag observed in an open field all attest to the idea of preserving the unique heritage of British/French culture that pervades there.
There lies ample evidence that the Canadian Socialist Model relies on heavy taxation of its citizens. According to a 2017 report, the average Canadian pays over 42% of their income on taxes per year while Americans average only 14% annually. These facts then lead to the question of how to best solve my own country’s traffic gridlock crisis. Having faced constant slowdowns on our current road trip driving through such regions as Dallas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Chicago, the Canadian system of taxation to seems quite relevant here. As our “America First”, Republican regime takes full credit for tax cuts in the United States today, what are we losing in public service for return?
1. http://www.globalnews.ca/news /3691159/canada-taxes-incomes-fraser-institute