If you were old enough to vote in 2004, then you probably remember the refrain “I’m moving to Canada!” It was every disenchanted liberal’s threat after George W. Bush’s reelection. Wags even made a “United States of Canada” map, attaching the Democratic states of the coasts and Upper Midwest to their friendly northern neighbor.
The sentiment was understandable. American liberals have longingly observed for decades that most industrialized nations are consistently ahead of the U.S. in adopting their preferred policies: universal health coverage, guaranteed paid sick leave, public child-care services, gun control, mass transit, and a price on pollution.
Saying we should be more like Europe may sound faintly un-American to some, and can prompt objections that our culture is nothing like that of, say, France or Sweden. But saying we should be more like Canada? Those affable, English-speaking folks right across the border? Like us, they are a nation of immigrants, a former British colony, and when they say “football” they don’t mean soccer.
And so Canada has become the American liberal’s lodestar. “Why can’t we have a rational policy, more like Canada’s?” goes the lament, which can be applied to almost any issue. But there is one glaring, and growing, exception: energy and climate change.