"to govern is to choose." Regardless of how rich our nations have become, we can't have everything-either as individuals or as societies. But we still do not know what we cannot have. Desires are infinite; resources are finite. Is it impossible, for example, to have the best, most technologically advanced health care rapidly available to all citizens without bankrupting the average taxpayer? Is it possible to have both a premier national defense and a world-class health system for the entire population? Will a multicultural society become something more than the sum of its parts-or nothing more than a cacophonous jumble, a 21st-century tower of Babel?
Throughout our discussion, we will push a bit into the less traveled areas of public politics and look at some basic questions of national unity, political governance, and foreign affairs. Through topics such as optics on health care, crime and justice, and substance abuse, we hope too prompt thought while (perhaps) also roiling some intellectual waters.
In doing so, we hope to move beyond the hothouse of "Canada studies" both in the U.S. ( a much larger domain than Canadians might think) and Canada. Although advancing beyond the proverbial cure for insomnia (reading about a "worthy Canadian initiative") is a challenge, we seek with this effort to generate a little heat, with the intent that some light might also result. It would be even more pleasant if this ere a "green light" that led to greater mutual appreciation and understanding.
—David T. Jones and David Kilgour, from the Preface to Uneasy Neigbo(u)rs