IS CANADA ONE OF THE BEST PLACES TO BE IN THE WORLD?

The Toronto stock exchange has punched through the 15,000 level for the first time in its history. The TSX has gained 23 per cent since January; The Dow Jones has dropped 18 per cent in the same period. Which inspired one Bay street capitalist to exult: “Canada is probably one of the best places to be in the world.” I expect that sentence would be true even if you were to omit the word “probably.”

Look at Canada’s record. Low unemployment, low inflation, low interest rates. We have a whopping trade surplus; the U.S. has a whopping trade deficit and is in hock to China for billions. We have a health care system that covers everybody; American politicians are debating the fine points while 47 million of their countrymen are not covered. The credit crunch that is pulling down the American economy, is much less prevalent in Canada.

Every government in Canada – federal and provincial – is showing a surplus. Washington is trillions of dollars in debt. Unlike the States, there is no abortion debate in Canada that amounts to anything and same sex marriage is legally protected.

The Canadian federal system – open and flexible – is the envy of the world.

Canada stalwartly stayed out of the American quagmire in Iraq. But we are making a major military effort in Afghanistan where the real terrorist threat is.

Other than to follow a job, is it likely any Canadian would want to move to the States?

Is there a better place to be than Canada?

Where?

I should add that some American politicians are making noises about opening up and renegotiating the Can-US free trade agreement, NAFTA. Hold on folks. If the USers monkey with NAFTA Canada will recalibrate the energy supplies we pour every day into the States. By the by, how many Americans do you think know that Canada supplies more energy to the U.S. than any other country on the face of the other. If you upset us we can cut you off.

Here are the astonishing facts:  Canada provides 100 per cent of U.S. el4ectricity imports, about 35 per cent of its natural gas, 17 per cent of oil and that does not count uranium and other metals.  Canada has not overtaken Saudi Arabia as the main supplier of oil to the U.S.  I wonder how many Americans know that?

19 Comments »

  1. 1
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    My heart is torn in this regard. While I agree with you I also have a very emotional attachment to my birth country Switzerland. I love them both but I live here for more than 30 years and have found a network of people that really care. And that includes the lonely that exist here too because people move a lot. My experience is not so much material, although that was one of the reasons we had to emigrate because I lived ina mixed race marriage and you probabely know that the Swiss have a party that wants to keep foreigners out.
    For me there are advantages and disadvantages in both of the countries.
    I love both Canada and Switzerland and I will always defend them if anyone attacks them verbally.( Sometimes even if secretely agree!)
    I am very thankful for all that Canada has given me. And for all I was abel to give to it. It has changed my live.

  2. 2
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Yes Canada, although having a few flaws, is one of the best place to live in the whole world. We have our tensions and our (very small) conflicts. But on the whole what a place this is. Even if in the thick of winter I hate my father for having left his native Patras, I am, most of the time, grateful that he procreated me in Canada…and yes in spite of all, in Québec.

  3. 3
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Tarry sand, Paul Martin, and Donald MacDonald.

    That’s who Canadians have to thank for the low unemployment rate, the low inflation rate, and, well, I don’t know enough about economics to say what is the cause of low interest rates.

    Tarry sand is self-explanatory.

    Paul Martin, as Finance Minister, balanced the budget (a tradition continued by his successors even to the point of creating an annual surplus to pay down the national debt).

    Donald MacDonald, the former Liberal Cabinet Minister under Trudeau, headed that commission some 20 years ago recommending Free Trade which was then implemented by the government of Brian Mulroney.

    But Canada also has the luxury of not spending a whole lot of money to defend itself because no one dares mess with the neighbour of the United States. So we’re spoiled in that sense (and never manage to say “thank you” either).

    Would Canadians want to go to the States? Well, I ask you: where do 100s of thousands of Canadian seniors go every winter?

    Where does Neil go every weekend?

    If they handed out Green Cards to any of the 30 million Canadians that asked for it, I suspect that a large percentage would not only take them but would not hesitate in using them.

    Asking Canadians whether they would move to the States is a little like asking Atheists whether they believe in God. They will snidely say “no” yet would be the first ones to sneak in the door to meet Him given the chance.

  4. 4

    Tony:

    I expected a vigorous response and you delivered.

    Am puzzled about your reference to my weekends. In the winter they are often spent at my ski club in the Laurentians. Most of the rest of the year I am in Montreal especially during the summer which is chock-a-block with jazz festivals etc.

    It’s true that I spend two weeks of the summer in Maine and the occasional weekend in Vermont. In fact a friend and I are just now planning a motoring trip through the Adirondacks if only the darn weather there would clear up.

  5. 5
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Comparing us the U.S.A. makes it seem like we’re the best place to live!! But come on…. Darfur almost looks better than the U.S.A. right now!

    And even after considering my last sentence I would agree with Tony that many canadians would jump at the chance to move/work there if they could get a green card (which is ridiculously hard to get BTW!).

    I suspect several counties in Europe (switzerland eh Heidi!) would be as nice to live in, and I’ve always loved Australia.

    “Asking Canadians whether they would move to the States is a little like asking Atheists whether they believe in God. They will snidely say “no” yet would be the first ones to sneak in the door to meet Him given the chance.”

    HEY!!! How dare you! 😉

    Seriously – dismissing the flawed statement about atheists( 😉 ) Tony makes some really good points!

  6. 6
    Joe Agnost Says:

    Oh yeah – how did I forget quebec!!! Having to put up with the quebec BS should knock us down a few pegs…. and the wasted money on bilingualism should knock us down a few more.

    There, I feel better now…. Paul? Neil? Anything to add? 😉

  7. 7
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Joe, adding a pinch of salt to the ocean will not make it any saltier since it is already saturated.

  8. 8
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Neil: I stand corrected. Perhaps I was projecting my own fondness of Vermont and assumed you went there each week-end.

    Heidi: I have twice spent extended periods in the Swiss Alps: 6 months in St. Moritz in ’77 and 4 1/2 months in Murren in ’74. Murren especially was paradise (no cars allowed) and have wanted to revisit ever since. Chocolate, cows, and wonderful scenery…how can anyone NOT like Switzerland?

    Joe: I actually plagiarized the line about Atheists sneaking in to see God from Maharishi Mahesh Yogi.

  9. 9
    Chimera Says:

    “We have a whopping trade surplus…”

    This is not necessarily a good thing. It means that we are owed money/goods by those who may or may not be able to repay their debts to us. If they renege for any reason, we will be “out of pocket” by that much.

    “We have a health care system that covers everybody…”

    …sooner or later…in its own sweet time…if your necessary treatment is on the “acceptable” list…maybe…if you live long enough…

    “Every government in Canada – federal and provincial – is showing a surplus.”

    That tells me only one thing: We are horrendously overtaxed! I want my money back!

    I hate jingoism. Of any stripe. I don’t understand the need to be “loyal” to something that doesn’t even know you exist.

  10. 10
    Tony Kondaks Says:

    Chimera:

    I love your line “I don’t understand the need to be ‘loyal’ to something that doesn’t even know you exist.”

    Is that your own?

  11. 11
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    If Canada doesn’t know we exist, considering our extensive social security network, then the USA not only doesn’t know it’s pouplation exists, it negates the existence of same, save for war purposes.

  12. I often think it would be great to live someowhere warmer, in the US but I would be afraid to give up the great health care system in Canada.

  13. 13

    Best of Canadian Gal,

    I am with you on warmer weather. If only our winter were three months as it should be. Thanks for your comment.

  14. 14
    Heidi Gulatee Says:

    Tony: Just to add the wonderful cheeses,and the watches. The country side scenery I really miss. You just made me homesick.

  15. 15
    Chimera Says:

    Tony, if by your question you’re asking if the wording of that sentence originates with me, the answer is yes. I’m not quoting anyone else. If you like it, go ahead and use it.

    Paul, “Canada” is a non-sentient, physically dominant area of geography situated on the northern portion of a land mass known as a continent. It is “separated” from another non-sentient, physically dominant area of geography on that same land mass by an artificial line of demarcation known as a “border.” Purportedly sentient beings have colonized either side of that line of demarcation, both groups claiming to “love” their particular area of geography.

    Geography has no emotional content. It cannot “love” you back.

    Is that clearer?

  16. 16
    dez Says:

    Canada is already getting warmer. Your tundra is melting.

    Give it another twenty years and Vancouver will have the same climate San Francisco has today. Another twenty and it will be more like San Diego.

    I’m exaggerating. At least I hope I am. 🙂

    Health care. Mmmm. Let me think about that one. The majority of HMO’s in the US have similar problems to what Chimera mentioned – a lot of treatments are not covered, the wait for treatment can be long, and their bureaucracy can be extremely impersonal.

    But, that seems like a small complaint when you have no coverage at all, like many Americans. And even if you have an HMO, PPO, or PFFS, there are many physicians that don’t accept the plan you happen to be on.

    When you add up all the ways people die because they don’t have even the most basic health plan, it becomes apparent that the leading cause of death in the US is poverty.

    My retirement plan: Move to Canada.

  17. 17
    Paul Costopoulos Says:

    Chimera, it is clearer but it is a most reductionist approach.

  18. 18

    Neil, rather than bore you and your readers with another one of my long-winded rants, I decided to post a contrarian (at least relative to this post) response on my blog. Call it an inter-blog babble.

    Thanks.

  19. 19

    the commentator:-

    I just read your contrarian view. Informative and interesting. You argue vigorously. I would like to leave a comment but there are too many hoops to jump through.

    You are welcome to leave your long-winded rants here any time.


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