Here’s a little song that was popularized by the Kingston Trio in 1958, fifty-five years ago:
They’re rioting in Africa, they’re starving in Spain,
There’s hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain
This whole world is festering with unhappy souls
The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles
Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch
And I don’t like anybody very much
Things certainly don’t change very much. Substitute Egypt (or Turkey, or Syria, or Portugal) for Africa and say Sudan or Somalia for Spain and it could have been written last week. As we celebrate another Canada Day and contemplate the strife and hardship in the world outside our borders, it is worthwhile to reflect on our good fortune in living where we do. Here are some of the things for which we can be grateful.
1. We are rich. Not the richest in the world, but rich all the same.
Moreover, we are richer than we used to be, about 50% richer than a generation ago. The chart below is adjusted for inflation to show the change in “constant” dollars.
2. We are healthy. Healthier than ever, and as a result, we are living longer than ever before.
Most Canadians, particularly those under 65, regard themselves as very healthy.
3. We are very well educated. Canada leads the G7 in post-secondary attainment.
4. We are working. Canada suffered less unemployment than most of the developed world in the recession, and now has a record number of employed persons.
5. We are safe. We live in a safe country that is getting safer year by year.
The news media make much of scandals, be it Senators fudging their expenses, municipal officials involved in graft or worse, and so on. All these misdeeds are to be decried, but should not distract us from the big picture. On the things that count, Canada is doing very well.