Steady in uncertain times

As the Euro zone fights to avoid disaster, people worldwide are on edge. Having slowly climbed our way out the depths of the recession of 2008, there is renewed fear of a recession around the corner.

For many countries the recession never ended. Spain has a youth unemployment rate of 46.2 per cent, a number that is awful no matter how you look it. Greece is lurching from one crisis to another, and is now putting faith in a new prime minister, Lucas Papademos, in the hopes that he can somehow salvage their fortunes, both literally and figuratively.

Attention has now turned to Italy, a country with over US$2.6 trillion in debt, and a stagnant economy. Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi has announced that he will step down, as the government tries to re-establish the legitimacy and political capital to make difficult decisions.

Closer to home, the United States continues to struggle. Though they are not in danger of collapse, tens of millions of their citizens have lost their jobs, and see no prospects for employment on the horizon.

There is one nation in particular that has managed to weather the stormy seas of the global economy: Canada. Around the world we are held up as an example of a strong financial system, a pro-business environment, and an example of a prudent and balanced economic approach.

Canada had no bank bailouts, our debt to GDP ratio remains very manageable, and our taxes remain low enough to stimulate spending.

An article in the Financial Post recently discussed how Canada was ranked the number one country in the world to do business. We have created over 600,000 new jobs since the end of the recession, whereas the United States and many other nations have lost jobs in that time.

By no means is Canada or any nation out of the woods yet. Europe is still in trouble, and so long as our neighbour to the south continues to struggle, our economy will face some difficulty. But despite these challenges, there is reason to be optimistic. In light of recent economic uncertainty, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has announced that Canada’s policy will remain flexible and respond to changing conditions. If past is prologue, this approach should help Canada ride out the stormy economic seas better than most.

Spencer Fernando is the Comment Editor of the Manitoban.

illustration by s. arden hill