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#1? #6? #15? Take Your Pick – We’re all of ’em

iStock_000002554429Medium2-300x199A link has been circulating on Canadian social media about a report that in terms of personal freedom, Canada is ranked number one. It has been primarily been circulated by former Conservative Cabinet Ministers and their supporters and was posted on my Facebook time line by former Conservative Cabinet Minister Pierre Poliviere. I thought that being ranked number one was quite nice and I wondered who it was that had ranked nations so took it upon myself to try to find out.

It wasn’t all that difficult to track down as it turns out. Canada’s ranking was determined by the Legatum Institute as part of a larger report they issued recently on the state of 142 countries. What is the Legatum Institute, I hear you ask? I had never heard of them either so I took a brief trip over to their web site.

Here’s what I learned.

Legatum is a private investment firm headquartered in Dubai. The Legatum Institute is an independent policy and advocacy organisation within the Legatum group of companies and is based in London. It published a report called The 2015 Prosperity Index; a finding based on eight sub-categories – personal freedom being only one of those eight.

Norway was rated #1 on the Prosperity index. Canada was ranked 6th which, quite frankly is not too shabby considering the number of countries in the rankings – but it did reveal that the strutting around about being the freest nation in the world was a bit disingenuous.

Canada was ranked number one scoring 92% but Norway, New Zealand and Iceland tied for second at 90% and Ireland came in third at 89%. In other words, there really isn’t much difference between the top five countries in terms of personal freedom.

Where it gets a bit more revealing, however, is when you look at all eight subcategories. Those categories are: economy, entrepreneurship, governance, education, health, personal freedom and social capital. So how did Canada fare overall?

In terms of our economy, we ranked 8th behind such countries as Singapore (1), Switzerland (2), China (3), Norway (4) and Germany (5). In other words our economy was beaten by countries both larger and smaller than our own.

When it comes to entrepreneurship, Canada is well down the list. Sweden tops the rankings followed by Denmark, Switzerland, Iceland, Norway, the UK, Austria and Finland. Canada is ranked  a distant 15th.

Canada was 6th in terms of governance which is a direct reflection on the government of the day – the former Harper government. Switzerland, New Zealand, Denmark, Sweden and Finland made up the top five countries.

We were 2nd in terms of education but despite our very expensive public health care system, ranked 11th in the health category.

Our approach to safety and security only managed to garner a 6th place ranking which was surprising considering how much rhetorical importance the Harper government put into the issue.

Canada ranked 8th in terms of social capital.

As I said at the outset, being ranked first overall in terms of personal freedom is nice but it’s a bit misrepresentative to brag about the one category in which we just barely managed to eke out a first place finish while ignoring the other seven in which we didn’t do so well.images

Considering how Canada ranked compared to some other countries, perhaps a bit of modesty is in order or at least a bit of acknowledgement that there is room for improvement.

Despite all the crowing by Conservatives about being number one, we’re not. Canada is number six – a decent, free country with opportunity for most if not all but we still have work to do if we want to continue to move our nation forward.

Bragging about being the freest country in the world when the difference between us and the other top five ranked countries is negligible is a tad desperate and causes me to think that some folks need reassurance that Canada is doing ok as a nation.

We are and have already accomplished much. All we need to do is to stop the desperate and pointless partisan bragging (and whining and complaining), unite as Canadians and focus on moving our nation forward – together.

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