U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders gave a talk at the University of Toronto Sunday morning and congratulated Canada for its universal health care system.
“I know that Canadians are a well known throughout the world as gentle and kind people. Be a little bit louder, and stand up and fight, stand up and fight for what you have achieved and defended,” Sanders told the eager crowd of students.
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Sanders has been in Canada for the past week to learn how its health-care system functions. The socialist-democratic senator introduced a bill last month to bring single-payer health care to the United States. He says that while no system in the world will be perfect, it’s his job to ask questions that will make the American system as efficient as possible.
“Look, I’m in politics, I get criticized everyday, I’m sure the premier gets criticized every day. Nothing is perfect and people have different points of view about everything. But when you accomplish something significant, by guaranteeing health care to all people, stand up and defend that all over the world,” said Sanders.
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Sanders then gave students the example of paid parental leave, saying that women in the United States are often forced back to work before they’re ready due to financial burdens.
“Let me give you another example. We’re fighting for this, we’re making a little bit of progress, in the United States of America today, there are women who are giving birth, right now today, and they will be forced to go back to work in four or five weeks because they need the income to take care of their family. It happens all over the United States,” said Sanders.
“Now here, as I understand it in Ontario and nationally, if you have a baby you get a year’s paid leave … That is again an enormous accomplishment that allows a mom and a dad to bond with the baby, not force a mother to go back to work before she should. Stand up and defend that paid leave,” he continued.
Tickets to Sanders’ talk sold out within seconds of being released online. Sanders was a candidate in the 2016 United States presidential election, but lost in the primary to eventual Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton.
— With a file from the Canadian Press
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