Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Canada: A great place for business and a great place for life!

Sorry that this is
July 1st is Canada Day…for those of you who aren’t Canadian.  It represents the day in 1867 when Canada was granted Dominion Status…a sort of semi-independence from Great Britain.  Today, many consider Canada one of the greatest places on earth to live.  Notice I say one of the best. I think it is arrogant for any country to claim to be the greatest.  I love Canada, but I have been in other great parts of the world.  The people of Atlanta GA are great…London, England is one of my favourite places to visit and I love Mexico!  There are many great people and great places all over the world.  Here is why I think Canada is a great place to live and to work.
Financially, we have a great banking system.  Our national banking system is uniquely Canadian.  Our banks are big and considered safe.  According to “Ranking the Brand”, All of the Big Five Banks made the ‘top fifty’ list for the safest banks in the world.  What makes Canadian Banks unique is the fact that no one person can own more than 10% of the banks.  Any Canadian with a pension fund or broadly based mutual fund is probably a bank owner.  A strong Credit Union and Caisse Populaire (Quebec) provide local financial services for both individuals and small businesses.   The result is a conservative and stable banking system, which required no government bailout during the recent financial crisis! 
We live in a stable society.  Although income inequality is an issue, Canada sits in the middle of the G7 and the GINI co-efficient has remained stable over the past ten years.  At the same time, Canada has the second highest Per Capita Purchasing Power adjusted GDP in that same G7 group.   Social stability, together with a good education system provides a sense of hope.  Entrepreneurs need a combination of stability and hope to ensure flourishing entrepreneurship.
Canada is a country finding balance.  I would love to report that there is no racism or sexism…but that would not be true.  We are getting better, but there is still work to do.  Socially, our medical system is good, but waiting lists for so-called elective surgery force people to use private clinics or remain inactive for over a year!  Government regulations have a tendency to go overboard.  For example, Vancouver has banned doorknobs for all new construction.  Neighboring suburb Coquitlam forbids off switches for bathroom fans!   Economically, we swing from high debt to emerging as one of the first nations with a surplus after the financial crisis.
Therefore, at 147 years Canada is still a work in progress.  As we strive to find the right social, environmental, legal and economic balance, I hope that we never find it.  My hope is that we remain a dynamic country of change and development, of freedom and hope, of happiness and being “Our True North Strong and Free”.

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