Business climate lessons from Canada

Those of us who remember a left-leaning Canada with a European-style welfare state, bloated public sector and all the rest could hardly ever have expected a headline like this one from Sunday's Seattle Times: Canada's Economy the Envy of the World. And before anyone jumps to the wrong conclusion, Canada's success is not due to elevated public spending, but to a thoughtful and profound retrenchment, says the WashACE Blog.

Although the AP story in the Times doesn't give a lot of detail, Fred Barnes takes a long look at the Canadian turnaround in a recent Weekly Standard article:

Beginning in the mid-1990s, Canadians came to grips with their fiscal crisis; they cut spending at both the national and provincial (state) level, reduced the size and payroll of government, slashed debt, and produced what Paul Martin, then finance minister and later prime minister, called smaller, smarter government.

Canada is now in a far better economic situation than the United States; its unemployment rate is lower, its budget deficit breathtakingly smaller (after nearly a decade of balanced budgets), its debt burden far lighter, its banks more stable.

Source: Richard S. Davis, Business Climate Lessons from Canada? Really. How to Do the Reset, WashACE Blog, June 21, 2010.

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First published by the National Center for Policy Analysis, United States

FMF Policy Bulletin/ 29 June 2010

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