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Why Canada’s Recession Rate is Slower

By karlsie Jan 19, 2009

By A.B. Thomas

Sometimes I get the feeling that when important issues are being discussed, some people get lost in the shuffle because of certain demographic qualifiers used to engage the reader. Historically many of these

qualifiers happen to fall upon the gender of the reader.  I, in a grandiose manner, have decided to take it upon myself to make this a unisexual statement, so I have presented the information in terms for both men and women.No two other countries in the world are as closely linked as the United States and Canada in terms of life consumerism and lifestyle preferences. Many movies have used Canadian cities and vistas for American backdrops because of our similarities in our aesthetics. Yet in the past few months the economic stability of the two countries has shown that there is a sharp contrast between the two. The question is, if the American government is spending trillions while Canada has been reluctant to spend, why isn’t the United States pulling out of the downward trend while Canada’s economy is only slowing down at a less severe rate?

The Explanation for Women:
There are four factors that can explain the differences in the economic hardships being faced by the populations of Canada and the United states. The slower deceleration of the Canadian economy compared to the American one is a mixture of several factors: The Canadian government, NAFTA, American entitle-istic characteristics and a false perspective based on media presentation of facts.

For the past several years there has been a minority government in Canada, meaning the party who has the most seats in our House of Commons is in control but cannot pass legislation without cooperation from at least one of our three major opposition parties. Cooperation does not come easy among the these parties; one is a separatist bloc, one is a party concerned primarily with being government and the third is anti-business and wishes for a more socialistic state. The separatists, the Bloc Quebecois, whose only goal is the succession of Quebec from Canada and therefore cares nothing about legislation that does not impact Quebec, is the second largest opposition party. In the Canadian system, two provinces can control the House of Commons with their Members of Parliament – Ontario and Quebec. There are a total of three territories and ten provinces yet these two provinces have  more seats than all the rest combined and for that reason the Bloc Quebecois has considerable power in the federal arena though their only concern is for the province of Quebec. The minority government has been using the Bloc as their allies in order to pass legislation that they want through, though amending passages of the bills in order to mollify the Bloc and their Quebec concerns.

When the American economy started to plummet in earnest in early October, we Canadians were in the throes of a federal election which effectively stopped all government business. At the end of the campaigning, we ended up with yet another minority government with the difference being that the four oppositional parties had decided two days afterward  that combined, they had more of the popular vote and therefore should form a coalition to overthrow the newly elected government. The government reacted swiftly to this: they called the parliamentary session over to stop the new opposition coalition from calling a non-confidence vote and either taking over government or taking Canadians into another election. These actions have caused the Canadian government to be in no position to pass legislation quickly in reaction to what the North American economies were doing in the world markets.

A secondary factor from the Canadian government’s side is that it has to move slowly with the appearance of transparency where as the American government is spending trillions of dollars that it does not have to be publically accountable for. The reason was a large scandal that the media broke with the illicit movement of federal monies to various Quebec advertising companies from 1993 – 2004 leading to a commission that saw the usually untouchable bureaucrats being charged and found guilty. This outcome has caused the bureaucracy in the Federal government to pause before acting without the assuredness of having the legislative body of Canada to be the scapegoat for any appearance of ill or shrouded spending. The inaction of the Canadian government and its bureaucracy has stemmed the usage of stop gap measures that the American counterparts have been doing in response to the economic crisis. While inactivity may seem counterproductive, at this point it is allowing the federal system to assess areas and brainstorm on effective solutions rather than using bubblegum to fix leaks in the Hoover dam as the American government seems to be doing.

Another factor that I believe has helped the Canadian economy from falling as quickly as the American is the NAFTA agreement it has with the United States. A few years ago I thought that the number of issues being argued over between the two countries such as lumber ( American loggers had pressured their  government in an attempt to have this resource excluded from the agreement in an effort to stem the flow of the money coming to Canada because of our much lower valued dollar) that have ended up mired in the world courts and the respective legislative bodies as a negative. In light of the current economic situation I have developed a new opinion that this has partially saved Canada. The reluctance of the American government to negotiate an agreement, meant Canada had to find other buyers for its raw materials other than their largest trading partner. This spreading out of where Canada focused its selling power (mostly to Asian countries and inter-provincially) has countered the lack of spending capital from the American manufacturers who traditionally would have bought the raw materials in the first place.

Thirdly is the entitle-istic nature of the American population. There has never been any doubt that the United States is one of the most powerful nations in the world. As the country song goes, “Proud to be American” resounds loud across the global consciousness. The problem with this is that it has produced a certain percentage of animosity in the American psyche towards other nations in the circulation of monies. There is an insatiable thirst by the American consumer population in having everything, which means that in order for companies to supply these demands it has to have products that are within consumer buying parameters and profit percentages for the companies themselves. This has lead to a large percentage of the manufactured products to be produced outside of the United States because to manufacture them in American would put the products out of the consumer price and lower profit goals. Canada is similar.  However, because of the traditionally lower world interest in the strength of our dollar some of the products are made in Canada and have a population who are willing to pay higher prices as we are used to a higher tax rate than our American counterparts.

The illusionary factor comes in from the numerical differences in population. Mainstream media likes to play with sensationalism in sound bites that will alarm the general public in an effort to increase advertisement dollar sales. When the news says 524,000 Americans have lost their jobs then moves onto Canada where 34,000 jobs were lost, it gives the impression that the Canadian economic structure is stronger than the American. However you have to look at the bigger picture.  Canada’s estimated population of 33,517,000 is a mere 10% of the estimated United States population or around 306,110,000. When you look at the unemployment numbers for the two countries in December 2008, with the American rate being 7.2% and the Canadian rate being 6.6%, there is not that large of a variance between the two.

There is no denial that Canada is slipping into a deep recession just as the United States has begun to. The difference is that Canada does not have the spot light on it that the United States has at this time. How Canada fares will be seen in the coming year; whether governmental stability can be attained, the economic readjustment of the consumer needs versus wants, and how other countries react will determine whether Canada follows the United States in the swiftness of the realignment of the economy or will continue to slide on a much more measured and controlled angle.

The Manly Explanation:

Government is like an erection. A really hard erection with no sensitivity, as we all know, leads to a major case of blue balls – painful and continues for an eternity; like those commie bastards and dick-tater types. The American government is currently like an overly sensitive erection. A sexy little bank type that shows a little attention and gives a wink…and the government is quickly putting on a long overcoat and hoping that the little oopsy isn’t dripping down his leg and onto the floor. Canada, on the other hand, is having an ideal erection; hard but sensitive but with some stamina. You know it’s going to be a big mess but it ain’t gonna happen ‘til that hot little bank’s panties are on the floor.

The American government famous for not really paying much attention.  upon hearing that Canada had the Queen as its constitutional head of state, thought that the funny sounding guy at the “Uh-Nn” said that Canada had a cross-dressing queen as the head of state. The Americans didn’t want to seem homophobic so they let the John guy go, but upon hearing that someone named Paul had become the new queen then yet another guy named Steve, they knew that they had to do something. Why would the American government feel that action was required? Action was taken because of yet another misunderstanding about the national emblem of Canada, the beaver. In another one of them thar “Uh-Nn” sittin’s the beaver was described as a “big hairy rodent” but since once again the American delegate was trying to look down the delegate from Sweden’s ample bosom instead of listening, all he heard was “Canada” and “Big hairy ho dent” and that got the American’s deciding that they shouldn’t be paying for it but get it free so they set up the “Have-ta” agreement with the cross-dressing queen in order to get some. It turned out not so good for the American government because instead of showing their timber, Canada decided to show them ours. Why is this? Put it in high school terms. Canada is a nerd; The United States is a jock.

So there you have the jock going around and getting every piece that he sees because everyone wants the BMOC in their stable. In contrast you have the nerd who stays at home looking at porn on the computer and making the rug underneath his desk really crusty. Hometown chicks don’t dig nerds, what kind of rep would they get if they put out for a guy who in animal terms is the on the lower scale of physical traits that would ensure survival back in the caveman times? The only time he has the potential to get some is when he goes out of the district on a mathematics competition in hopes that there are women who don’t realize they are nerds in the first place.

The jock obviously has the better end of the deal doesn’t he; he just has to pull down his britches and wham bam it’s a thank you ma’am deal. Not so fast there bucko. At first this is a good deal but then the jock starts to lose the ability to get off by spanking the monkey. Let’s look even farther ahead where a sports injury cripples the jock – now who’s got the upper edge, the one whose mother is wondering if there is something wrong with her boy’s nose because of the amount of Kleenex he goes through or the boy who’s sitting there,  looking at the family dog with a new appreciation and going, “here, girl”?

The nerd on the other hand, isn’t really effected by having a crippling injury; sure his typing speed may go down after suffering a painful paper cut on the tip of his finger, but overall it doesn’t affect the eradication of the demon jism build up. The nerd knows that he has to be self reliant and administer the tapering off of the pressure or suffer the unbearable cruel touch of blue balls magnified to a crippling degree. A hard lesson that now faces the jock to learn.



By karlsie

Some great perversity of nature decided to give me a tune completely out of keeping with the general symphony; possibly from the moment of conception. I learned to read and speak almost simultaneously. The blurred and muffled world I heard through my first five years of random nerve loss deafness suddenly came alive with the clarity of how those words sounded on paper. I had been liberated for communications. I decided there was nothing more wonderful than writing. It was easier to write than carefully modulate my speech for correct pronunciation, and it was easier to read than patiently follow the movements of people’s lips to learn what they were saying. It was during that dawning time period, while I slowly made the connection that there weren’t that many other people who heard the way I did, halfway between sound and music, half in deafness, that I began to understand that the tune I was following wasn’t quite the same as that of my classmates. I was just a little different. General education taught me not only was I just a little isolated from my classmates, my home was just a little isolated from the outside world. I was born in Alaska, making me part of one of the smallest, quietest minorities on earth. I decided I could live with this. What I couldn’t live with was discovering a few years later, in the opening up of the pipeline, which coincided with my first year of junior college, that there were entire communities of people; more than I could possibly imagine; living impossibly one on top of another in vast cities. It wasn’t even the magnitude of this vision that inspired me so much as the visitors who came from these populous regions and seemed to possess a knowledge so great and secretive I could never learn it in any book. I became at once, very conscious of how rural I was and how little I knew beyond the scope of my environment. I decided it was time to travel. The rest is history; or at least, the content of my stories. I traveled... often to college campuses, dropping in and out of school until one fine day by chance I’d fashioned a bachelor of arts degree in psychology. I’ve worked a couple of newspapers, had a few poems and stories tossed around in various small presses, never receiving a great deal of money, which I’m assured is the norm for a writer. I spent ten years in Mexico, watching the peso crash. There is some obscure reason why I did this, tightening up my belt and facing hunger, but I believe at the time I said it was for love. Here I am, back home, in my beloved Alaska. I’ve learned somewhat of a worldly viewpoint; at least I like to flatter myself that way. I’ve also learned my rural roots aren’t so bad after all. I work in a small, country store. Every day I greet the same group of local customers, but make no mistake. My store isn’t a scene out of Andy Griffith. The people who enter the establishment, which also includes showers, laundry and movie rentals, are miners, oil workers, truck drivers, construction engineers, dog sled racers and carpenters. Sometimes, on the liquor side, the conversations became adult only in vocabulary. It’s a good thing, on the opposite side of the store is a candy aisle filled with the most astonishing collection, it will keep a kid occupied with just wishing for hours. If you tell your kids they can have just one, you have an instant baby sitter; better than television; as they agonize over their choice while you catch up on the gossip with your neighbor. We also receive a lot of tourists, a lot of foreign visitors. They are usually amazed at this first sign of Alaskan rural life style beyond the insulating hub of the Anchorage bowl. Many of them like to hang around and chat. They gawk at our thieves wanted posters. They laugh at our jokes and camaraderie with our customers. I’ve learned another lesson while working there. You don’t have to go out and find the world. If you wait long enough, it comes to you.

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