Monday, June 30, 2008

We're Number 9, We're Number 9

You can tell it's almost Canada Day. We are starting our annual self examination of our position in the world compared to everybody else. The Conference Board of Canada has produced a Report Card, comparing Canada to the other 16 wealthiest countries.
"While Canada is still in the gifted class among nations, its report card tells the story of a country moving to the back of the class because of its underperformance in almost all subjects."

Canada's standard of living has slipped to ninth this year from fourth in the 1970s, the report said.
The report compares the following countries: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Britain, Canada, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and the U.S.A. Canada tied with Denmark at number 9.

Here's our individual rankings.
  • 2nd in Education
High rate of secondary and college graduation. But fewer PhD graduates mathematics, science, computer science and engineering.
  • 9th in Health
Canadians have fewer problems today than several decades ago, but higher rates of diabetes and obesity suggest that young Canadians "may be the first generation of children in over a century who can expect to be less healthy than their parents."
  • 10th in Social
Our "social safety net" helps many people, but the U.S. has a lower burglary rate, a lower suicide rate, and greater gender equity than Canada and a continuing low ranking on child poverty.
  • 11th in Economy
A lack of innovation has hurt economic performance, where slower productivity and other factors have opened the gap between U.S. and Canadian individual purchasing power to $6,400 US now from $3,200 in 1985.
  • 13th in Innovation
Canada does not have an innovation policy, which would help commercialize discoveries and allow new world-beating industries to develop. Instead, resources are used to shore up fading industries, the board said.
  • 15th in Environment
Canada came third last in the environment ranking, ahead of only Australia and the United States. Like them, Canada has a resource-based economy and long distances to travel, but the board said the record is poor in areas such as climate change, smog, and cutting waste. "Canada now generates more waste per person than any of its peers," the board said, and is producing more greenhouse gases as petroleum and forest products exports rise.
I'm blaming Steve for the environmental ranking. 

Not for causing all of it, just for ignoring all of it.


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