It’s Great Up North

I was going to write this in french and put in some of my thoughts on the Boisclair victory and the renewed promises of a referendum if the PQ wins the next election. But I don’t feel like it so I’ll just quote from this Guardian article written going from the US to Canada.

And that, in short, explains why leaving America for Canada is done with no enormous regret. Behind you lies the weight of American touchiness and hysteria, the radio shock jocks, the twerpish, bow-tied TV pundits, the religious nuts who deny evolution with the phrase ‘intelligent design’ and the madness that descants on the ills of passive smoking, yet allows a tax break on SUVs that consume one gallon every 12 miles. This is to say little of a President who seems only confident when he is standing at a podium as commander-in-chief with bristling military types behind him talking about ‘Amraaaaka’.

If only on the grounds of Canada’s economic success, Americans should take more notice. Last week, the Liberal government announced that it would cut C$30 billion out of the budget because of the enormous fiscal surplus, currently running at about C$13.4bn a year. Just over C$5bn is to be given back to Canadians on taxes collected this year. And in the future, some of the the surplus will be spent on training, the settling of new immigrants and student grants.

The main point, which you never hear in Britain or America, is that Canada alone among G7 countries is balancing its budget. When you compare its performance with the Bush administration’s (the US trade deficit is $706bn; the budget deficit is predicted to be $521bn this year), it’s a wonder Canadians aren’t a bit more cocky. But during a week in Toronto, I didn’t hear the tiniest bit of chauvinism, economic or otherwise.

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