With all the negative rhetoric coming from Paul LePage regarding undocumented immigrants, we may forget that Gov. LePage has his own immigration story.

In 1971, LePage married his Canadian girlfriend and moved to New Brunswick.

Did Paul LePage, the idealistic young immigrant to Canada, plan to become a Canadian citizen?

Did he look forward to a lifelong career at his in-laws’ lumber mill?

What about the young Americans who immigrated to Canada in the 1960s and 1970s looking for refuge from the draft?

By all accounts, the tens of thousands of young Americans were welcomed. There was no concept of immigration being legal or illegal.

Canadians did not protest that Americans were “taking all the jobs.” They did not talk about “securing the border” or building a fence to keep the Americans out, or claim that Americans were using all the taxpayer-funded social services.

Expatriate Americans were absorbed into Canadian culture, and when they were pardoned in 1977 and allowed to return to the U.S., only about half came back.

Paul LePage lived in Canada on and off through the 1970s until his first marriage ended in 1980.

The same Paul LePage who disparagingly calls MaineCare “medical welfare” benefited from Canada’s generous safety net.

He never had to worry about providing medical insurance for his Canadian wife and their two daughters during the marriage or after the divorce.

The government paid all the medical bills for LePage’s Canadian family.

In Canada and all the other countries in the developed world (except for the U.S.), health care is not “medical welfare” – health care is considered to be a human right.

Linda Dumey