James Leroy Wilson's blog

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Model for the U.S.?

Mark Steyn gave a lecture at Hillsdale College on, "Is Canada's Economy a Model for America?" His answer, No. Canada's prosperity depends largely on the American market. And it has socialized health care (ten-month waiting list for the maternity ward), high taxes, protectionism (a foreigner can't even own a bookstore), subsidies (the government even helped with the travel expenses of demonstrators at the 2001 Summit of the America's) , central planning (how many foreign-born strippers do we need?), giant public sector.

On top of that, there are outrages such as Quebec's prohibition of English signs, and the absence of freedom of speech as Americans understand it. For instance, a man can be hauled before a "Human Rights Commission" for publishing the famous Danish Muslim cartoons. Canada has had hate-speech laws for decades, and even deported a man to Germany to stand trial for holocaust-denial - even though the "crime" was committed on Canadian territory. Canada, like the U.S., can also detain "terrorist suspects" on secret evidence.

But my point is not to bash Canada. Rather, to point out that in spite of all this, Canada is tied with the United States in the Fraser Institute's Economic Freedom Rankings, and two years ago, the State of the World Liberty Project had Canada listed as the third freest country in the world, and the U.S. eighth.

If both are in the top ten, and are among the "freest," then the world isn't very free. But for all its faults, Canada isn't as bad as the United States. And that's embarrassing. Once the freest country in the world, the U.S.A. doesn't even have bragging rights on its own continent.

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