If you’re really sick, not just fed up, go to next ‘Year of’ nation: Canada

Posted April 26, 2018

Goodbye, kimchi; hello, poutine!

As students work to finish semester-end projects and tests at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls, the Year of South Korea celebration is also coming to a close. Next year, the university will celebrate the Year of Canada, highlighting its health care, trade, agriculture products and previous presidential visits.

UWRF began the “Year of” program in 2013 under the direction of the International Program Committee. The program helps connect students, staff and faculty with cultures they might not be familiar with by highlighting one nation each academic year.

The Commonwealth Fund, a private organization that promotes equal access to affordable health care in the U.S., released a ranking of 11 countries’ health care systems in 2014. The United States ranked last. This was attributed to the expensive out-of-pocket costs that the American health care system requires. The Canadian health care system is available to everyone, for free. The system covers everything except glasses, prescription drugs and dental care.

The study shows that if the U.S. adopted the Canadian health care system, 5,400 fewer babies would die during the infancy stage. The study also shows that 57 million adults would stop going without health care because of the cost. This would ultimately cost the U.S. approximately $1.3 trillion less annually.

However, the study also found that Canadians had to wait an average of six or more days to see a doctor. Wait times in emergency rooms was also increased. Canadians spend an average of eight hours in the waiting room, whereas Americans spend four.

While health care might be a future endeavor, trade with Canada is one area that currently benefits the United States. Canada purchases approximately 15 percent of all exports from the United States. However, the United States purchases 60 percent of the exports from Canada. This provides $337 billion in annual revenue to Canada.

The United States Trade Representative, an office of the presidency, said that trade between the U.S. and Canada totaled $637 billion in 2017. Broken down, the U.S. exported $341 billion to Canada and purchased $332 billion in Canadian goods.

Earlier this year, President Trump said that the U.S. has a large trade deficit with Canada. However, the statistics from the U.S. Trade Representative said otherwise. The U.S. reported a $8 billion trade surplus in 2017. Trump called out Canada regarding the alleged trade deficit numerous times in the last two months on Twitter.

While the Midwest U.S. might call itself the “Bread Bowl of the United States,” Canada may give them a run for their money. Canada has a productive agriculture industry contributes over $110 billion annually to the economy. This is higher than half of the world’s countries.

Each region of Canada is actively seeking innovative ways to expand the agriculture industry. For example, on the Atlantic coast, the country is working to produce short-season soybean crops. This would add approximately $100 million annually.

Additionally, in Quebec a team of researchers is developing a protective shell for probiotics to be packaged in. This shell will allow the probiotic to survive the highly acidic human digestive process to deliver full benefits of the pill to the user.

The relationship between the U.S. and Canada is important, especially with the longest unprotected border in the world. This might explain why every president since Ronald Reagan made his first or second trip out of the country to Canada. This tradition was broken by Trump. He was the first president in 40 years not to visit Canada within his first year as commander in chief.

Events for the Year of Canada at UW-River Falls are expected to be announced later this year. Past events have included artist visits and installations, music festivals, education abroad fairs and lectures by respected professors. More information can be found here.