A public service and part of TOC’s Lessons from Canada series.
From a lecture delivered by Mark Steyn on the Hillsdale College campus. September 29, 2007:
Is Canada’s Economy a Model for America?
I was a bit stunned to be asked to speak on the Canadian economy. “What happened?” I wondered. “Did the guy who was going to talk about the Belgian economy cancel?” It is a Saturday night, and the Oak Ridge Boys are playing the Hillsdale County Fair. Being from Canada myself, I am, as the President likes to say, one of those immigrants doing the jobs Americans won’t do. And if giving a talk on the Canadian economy on a Saturday night when the Oak Ridge Boys are in town isn’t one of the jobs Americans won’t do, I don’t know what is.
Unlike America, Canada is a resource economy: The U.S. imports resources, whereas Canada exports them. It has the second largest oil reserves in the world. People don’t think of Canada like that. The Premier of Alberta has never been photographed in Crawford, Texas, holding hands with the President and strolling through the rose bower as King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was. But Canada is nonetheless an oil economy—a resource economy. Traditionally, in America, when the price of oil goes up, Wall Street goes down. But in Canada, when the price of oil goes up, the Toronto stock exchange goes up, too. So we are relatively compatible neighbors whose interests diverge on one of the key global indicators. As we know from 9/11, the Wahabbis in Saudi Arabia use their oil wealth to spread their destructive ideology to every corner of the world.
And so do the Canadians. Consider that in the last 40 years, fundamental American ideas have made no headway whatsoever in Canada, whereas fundamental Canadian ideas have made huge advances in America and the rest of the Western world. To take two big examples, multiculturalism and socialized health care— both pioneered in Canada—have made huge strides down here in the U.S., whereas American concepts—such as non-confiscatory taxation—remain as foreign as ever.
Acadian Driftwood is a song by The Band: Steyn makes note that Quebec and Louisiana are the 2 most corrupt governments in their respective countries and that both are heavily influenced by French tradition.
Some of the details about Quebec you’ll have to read to believe.