Postcard From Canada: In The Land Of Single-Payer, Bernie Sanders Gets Hero’s Welcome

TORONTO — Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wasn’t scheduled to return onstage to speak well being care till after 11 a.m. But faculty college students began lining up as early as 5 a.m. — the Sunday morning of Halloween weekend, no much less — within the hopes of scoring what seemed to be the weekend’s scorching ticket.

In Washington, D.C., Sanders is commonly portrayed as a radical, a politician on the perimeter. The recognition of his 2017 marketing campaign for the Democratic presidential nomination caught celebration insiders off-guard and far of the political institution views his signature single-payer well being plan as unworkable or impractical.

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But right here on the University of Toronto’s Convocation Hall, flanked by Ontario’s premier, Kathleen Wynne, and management from Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP), Sanders acquired a star’s welcome.

“He’s a bit of a folk hero up here,” stated Dr. James Sugiyama, a Toronto-based household doctor, who, after failing to acquire a ticket to Sunday’s lecture, watched the occasion with buddies on a web-based livestream at a restaurant down the road. “We’re staunch supporters and believers that what Bernie is talking about is the right thing to do.”

Canada’s common well being care system, which dates to 1968, is beloved by a lot of its citizenry — it’s a degree of satisfaction, many locals say.

Sanders’ speech capped off a weekend journey to Toronto, which included hospital visits and roundtables, and which his workplace framed as an academic tour of the Canadian well being care system — an instance of the single-payer method that Sanders typically cites in speeches on his house turf. The lecture was the one public element of the journey, which additionally grabbed headlines from the Canadian Broadcasting Corp. and different native retailers.

Tickets had been snapped up nicely upfront, although the 5 a.m. faculty college students finally made it off the waitlist. Organizers estimated about 1,700 tickets had been obtainable, which bought out in about 30 seconds, in line with Sanders’ workplace.

The lecture took on the tenor of a practiced American rally — albeit, one the place the gang was warmed up by a string quartet — that includes Sanders’ acquainted speaking factors, repurposed for a brand new viewers.

James Sugiyama, a Toronto-based physician, watched Sanders’ speech on a livestream from a restaurant down the road. The Vermont senator is seen as a “folk hero” by many Canadians, he stated. (Shefali Luthra/KHN)

Sanders’ feedback went nicely past common medical insurance, pertaining to the significance of a $15 minimal wage and combating local weather change. And there have been the usual critiques of Obamacare repeal efforts in Washington, of earnings inequality and of the affect of so-called particular pursuits.

The viewers — which included left-leaning docs, politicians and faculty college students — was there to expertise the Sanders’ magic, to “feel the Bern” firsthand. They snapped photographs and burst steadily into claps, cheers and whistles, even for insurance policies that extra clearly affected their American neighbors to the south. They gave multiple standing ovation.

“Our mission is to have the courage to ask the questions … to take on the incredible special interests who have so much power in my country, your country and all over the world,” he stated.

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