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Please Advise! Why Does Bill Maher Blame Canada?

The comedian has some funny fears about our country. Sweden, too.

Steve Burgess 15 Apr 2024The Tyee

Steve Burgess writes about politics and culture for The Tyee. Read his previous articles.

[Editor’s note: Steve Burgess is an accredited spin doctor with a PhD in Centrifugal Rhetoric from the University of SASE, situated on the lovely campus of PO Box 7650, Cayman Islands. In this space he dispenses PR advice to politicians, the rich and famous, the troubled and well-heeled, the wealthy and gullible.]

Dear Dr. Steve,

Bill Maher just did an episode of his HBO program Real Time in which he warned that Canada is a dysfunctional society.

What do you think, Dr. Steve?



Dear Tim,

Let's face it, it's all been downhill since The Beachcombers went off the air.

Maher is certainly correct that Canada has problems. He mentions our health-care system and its undeniable drawbacks, while citing increased air pollution and an influx of immigrants as frightening signs. “At its worst, Canada is what American voters think happens when there’s no one putting a check on extreme wokeness,” Maher said.

Wokeness and immigrants — two jockeys of the Apocalypse, for sure. And the Book of Revelation does have a verse about how the End Times will come when clouds swallow the sky, the seas boil, and Salt Lake City gets an NHL franchise. (They should definitely call that team the Salt Lake City Jazz, by the way.)

Maher cited air pollution as one worsening Canadian problem. Wildfires have been a major contributor to bad air quality ratings in Canadian cities. Could the problem be our woke forests? Or perhaps Maher's contention is that Canada has a problem with climate change, in which case the wisest strategy for Americans is simply to avoid Canada. We're a bunch of carbon-tax-axing lunatics up here.

“For decades,” Maher said, “places like Vancouver and Amsterdam and Stockholm seemed idyllic because everything was free and all the energy we needed was produced by riding a bike to your job at the windmill.”

Well yeah, until Mayor Ken Sim came along. If he keeps messing up the bike lanes, we'll all have to drive to the damn windmill gig.

Certainly, many Canadians will agree with Maher's criticism of our health-care system. Health care in the U.S., by contrast, is pretty great… if you're Bill Maher. No lineups for the likes of Bill. In fact, given an annual salary of $10 million, America is the greatest country in the world.

When contemplating Maher's spiel, Dr. Steve is reminded of Donald Trump. Last month the once-and-future potentate offered up a Truth Social post asking Americans: “Are you better off than you were four years ago?”

Hell of a question to ask in March 2024, exactly four years after the World Health Organization declared a pandemic and the world came to a screeching halt in the face of the greatest global health crisis in 100 years. So, a puzzling query — unless you consider the source. Were you better off four years ago? Sure, if your name is Donald Trump. Four years ago you were president of the United States. You could push a button in the Oval Office and Mike Pence would bring you a Diet Coke. Four years ago you were not sitting at the defendant's table in a New York courtroom.

Just as every word Trump speaks is really about Trump, it may well be Maher's fears of a woke socialist paradise are mostly about Maher.

Maher has often expressed his distrust of Muslims, notably in a 2015 episode with guest Chrystia Freeland when he said, “This idea that somehow we do share values, that all religions are alike, is bullshit.” And Maher remains disturbed by the influx of foreigners into this country. “Last year, Canada added 1.3 million people, which is a lot in one year,” he told his appalled studio audience last week, all of them no doubt screened for U.S. passports and Bibles.

Canada has indeed welcomed a great many immigrants. (Give us credit though — we did manage to get rid of Ted Cruz and Elon Musk.) When discussing immigration in Canada, economists point to a mixed bag of consequences, typically citing both increased economic growth and increased upward pressure on housing prices. Not typically mentioned is Donald Trump's contention that “immigrants are poisoning the blood of our country,” perhaps because ethnic blood poison is not considered a reliable economic indicator.

Without using rhetoric quite so naked, Maher has mined similar ground. He has previously sounded the alarm about immigration to Sweden, once a bastion of blondeness but soon, perhaps, a land where even “Clairol Nice 'n Easy” will not fully conceal the dark, spreading roots. Similarly, a loss of sovereignty and border integrity could transform Canada into a vassal state where vast tranches of our GDP are gobbled up by Taylor Swift, and the Stanley Cup dwells in Las Vegas. It may already be too late.

But if Canada really is in trouble, Maher will be pleased to know we have our own leaders echoing his concerns and promising a future untroubled by wokeness. And how will that future look? Hard to say, but there is one intriguing scenario playing in local theatres right now.

The new blockbuster Civil War bills itself as a realistic portrayal of conflict between Texas and California. Dr. Steve has not yet seen the film but assumes the message it delivers is: “Dude, Canada sure is messed up.”

As for the Real Time with Bill Maher program, it is taped in Los Angeles. Careful, Bill — if that movie scenario ever comes true, you could be deported to Dallas.  [Tyee]

Read more: Politics, Media

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