"So, we can't laugh at Canada, anymore?"

Discussing the S&P downgrade with a young person today, I mentioned this chart, showing the 18 countries with better credit ratings than ours.

When he heard that Canada was #3 on the list, he said, “wait…then…how can we joke about Canada anymore? It’s no fun at all if we make fun of you know, their basic Canada-ness, and they can come back with, ‘ayeh, well what aboot yuer credit rating, eyah?‘”

Canada, of course, has had its own share of problems — what nation hasn’t — but as Instapundit quotes, the country, at least provincially, has seen seen some effective changes, recently:

[Saskatchewan] joined an elite club of provinces on Tuesday when Standard & Poor’s upgraded its debt rating to triple-A. The only provinces to share the triple-A honour are western neighbours Alberta and British Columbia.

The new rating caps off a dramatic turnaround for a province that was a fiscal mess in the 1980s, and in more recent years saw skilled workers leaving in droves for oil-rich Alberta. But no longer. Saskatchewan is now home to everything from potash to grain and oil, and the money from these resources has made balancing the provincial budget far easier.

Emphasis mine. More:

Rather than quickly spending its newly-earned wealth, the provincial government has put its tax revenue toward paying the bills. S&P gave special credit to Saskatchewan for its “low-and-declining debt burden.” . . . Saskatchewan’s unemployment rate is also extremely low by national standards, sitting at 5.2 per cent, the best of any province. And the data suggests that workers are returning to Saskatchewan. The province’s population rose 2 per cent in 2010, the highest annual increase in more than two decades.

One of Insty’s readers gets the money-quote. And it’s no joke. Check it out.

If you’ve been thinking — and I know some have — that America needed a humbling, this may be aboot how it starts. Hopefully, the national psyche can take it.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • 1232523492

    Hi, Elizabeth! I’ve been reading your blog for some time now… I appreciate your perspective, and haven’t at all minded having ‘Bad Moon Rising’ running through my head all weekend, LOL!

    I couldn’t resist commenting today… I’m from Saskatchewan, and it’s a new experience (even within Canada) to be used as an example of what is being done right. Thanks for that. My American friends have long been in my prayers, and will remain so. My heart breaks over the struggles you are facing.

    Thanks again for the window on Catholicism that you’ve provided in my world… incidentally this also seems to be an area where there are vast differences between your world and mine (between how the Canadian and American Churches live the faith). Your blog has been a great catalyst in my own spiritual growth the last year or so.

    God Bless!

  • Anglican Peggy

    Nooo! I love making fun of Canada. There is no nicer more good-natured object of gentle ridicule in our neighborhood.

    Now I am sad :.(

  • KarenT

    The changes in Saskatchewan are heartening. But the national banking system has also been operated in a more conservative manner for a very long time. No attempts to force banks into serving as agents of social change or charity.

    Even during the Great Depression, Canada was spared a lot of grief because their banking system was more resilient. No equivalents to Fannie and Freddie were formed in Canada. It seems that realism, conservative fiscal practices and transparency have served Canada well for a very long time.

    The article linked below is from February 2010. The Canadian example continues to be ignored by our government, which continues to pressure banks to make unsound loans in the pursuit of “social justice”. It seems to me that the overall effect of this pressure has been to reduce the availability of loans even to the credit-worthy. Interesting how U.S. attempts to regulate businesses with the goal of forcing them to replace economic realism with charity seems to have resulted in cruelty (especially in the form of broken promises) and widespread hardship in the case of the mortgage meltdown.