Add Canada to the List of Things Bill Maher Doesn’t Understand

The ‘Real Time’ host had some harsh words for the Great White North
Add Canada to the List of Things Bill Maher Doesn’t Understand

When he isn’t chilling with celebs in his smoke-filled bachelor pad of sadness, Bill Maher is busy hosting his HBO panel show Real Time, which regularly features editorials and “new rules” that are thankfully not legally-binding. This week, Maher’s latest attention-grabbing effort to trigger the internet took on an entire country: Canada. 

Maher began his rant by claiming that Canada is not the socialist, Timbit-filled paradise that some Americans might believe. And he’s right. But then he went on to suggest that Canada’s “extreme wokeness” is a “cautionary tale” for the U.S., because “yes, you can move too far left.” Judging from the online response, the segment was a big hit with people who have made “Fuck Trudeau” bumper stickers their entire identity. 

But speaking as a resident of America’s Hat, I would argue that Maher is wrong about the Great White North, starting with the fact that current Prime Minister Justin Trudeau isn’t some bastion of left-wing politics. In Canada’s parliamentary system, Trudeau’s Liberal party is more centrist than leftist, with other major parties occupying the more progressive sphere of Canada’s political landscape. So Maher inferring that Trudeau is an example of a woke government leader is a little like suggesting that half-frozen chicken parm made by a suburban Olive Garden is an example of authentic Italian cuisine. 

Maher smugly criticized Canada’s ballooning population growth, which increased by 1.3 million people in 2023. He said this would be the “equivalent of the U.S. adding 11 million migrants in one year.” Sorry Bill, this is a false equivalency. The actual source of the information Maher cited, Statistics Canada, noted that the majority of these numbers were made up of “temporary immigrants … including many workers and international students.” If the numbers only reflected “permanent immigration and natural increase” the number “would have been almost three times less.” (I realize this is a lot of info to throw at you, but remember, it’s all in the service of making Bill Maher look like an idiot).

Maher then implied that the influx of migrants directly led to the current housing crisis, which is “even worse” than America’s. But this has been a problem for a long-ass time. In the 1980s and 1990s, the Canadian government “began pulling back from the business of affordable housing,” thanks to the Conservatives, and soon after, the Liberals. Housing prices increased by 59 percent during Trudeau’s time as prime minister, but they increased by 60 percent while his Conservative predecessor was in power. 

But clearly the problem is wokeness, at least according to the star of Pizza Man

Maher also mentioned that Canada has the “highest household debt as a share of GDP in the G7” while also claiming that he doesn’t actually know what that means, but it “sounds bad.” Well, it is bad. It means that Canada “has the highest level of household debt to disposable income of any G7 country.” But this is due to mortgage costs and high rents, which are preventing “middle to low income” renters from actually saving money. 

Rent is skyrocketing thanks to rising interest rates and greedy landlords. In Canada’s most populous province, Ontario, the Conservative government (headed by infamous Toronto crack Mayor Rob Ford’s brother Doug) scrapped rent control for units built after 2018. This was allegedly done to “incentivize developers,” but instead, it led to a number of horror stories in which tenants’ lives were upended by unaffordable three-figure rent increases, including one couple whose rent for a two-bedroom condo went up by an additional “$7,000 a month.” It’s not like they struck an oil well in the living room, the landlord just randomly jacked up the price. 

And any argument that these absurd prices are due to overcrowding caused by immigration doesn’t exactly hold maple syrup, seeing as a staggering number of condos in cities like Toronto and Vancouver sit empty while developers are content to wait for buyers to meet their high asking prices. 

As for Maher’s criticisms of the Canadian universal health-care system, he’s not wrong, it’s riddled with problems and long wait times. But considering that the U.S. experiences tens of thousands of deaths each year due to a lack of access to health care, and a shocking 13 percent of Americans know someone who has died because “they couldn’t afford health care,” Canada hardly seems like a “cautionary tale” for the U.S. 

It’s almost as if Bill Maher doesn’t know what the hell he’s talking about? Next thing you know, we’ll find out he’s wrong about other subjects, like virology. 

You (yes, you) should follow JM on Twitter (if it still exists by the time you’re reading this).


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