Canada

Canadian Freedom

|

Will Wilkinson draws attention to one result of the latest Cato/Fraser Economic Freedom of the World Report: Canada is now ranked as freer than the U.S. of Archie; 7th freest compared to our 8th.

I'm not prepared to argue with their economic calcalations; still, Canada certainly remains a bad place to speak your mind about certain things.

In other Canada freedom news: amazing and celebrated alt-cartoonist Chester Brown is running for parliament as a Libertarian.

Many years back, I wrote an article that generated more hate mail than anything I ever wrote–over 200 emails–for the website suck.com. (Sorry, the late, lamented website Suck.com.) It was a bit of japery mocking Canadian attempts to distinguish themselves from America. I never thought "more freedom" would be one of those distinguishing characteristics.

Advertisement

NEXT: Coup-Monger Against a Background of Bars

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. First the dollar became worth less than a Loonie, and now this? The end of the world is nigh. What next, their women are hotter than ours?

  2. Sorry, the late, lamented, and blocked by work website Suck.com

    Would someone be kind enough to paste it into the comments please.

  3. The Cato website shows Canadian economic freedom plateaued and US economic freedom peaked in 2000. I guess the Patriot Act and the post-Enron regulations hurt our score.

  4. LOL, Does Canada accept refugees from the US? It gets much worse here and I gotta get the heck out. This is getting ridiculous.

    Jiff
    http://www.FireMe.To/udi

  5. Wars of Northern Aggression

    Last month, Canada’s prime minister Jean Chretien announced that, what the hell, he’s going to call an election over a year before his term expires. Ostensibly his party’s current popularity and success is why he’s chosen now to exert one of the curious (to Americans) powers a leader in a parliamentary government has. We wonder if it’s just a publicity stunt to remind Americans that, hey, we Canadians do things a little differently up here.

    Canadians feel their very identity and souls embattled by creeping Americanism. And they are fighting a constant and futile battle to defend themselves – whoever that may be. With no Dudley Do-Right to protect the poor Nell that is Canadian culture, the Canadian government has taken lately to threatening criminal charges against 200,000 confused Canucks who use satellite dishes to watch contraband US TV programming.

    Canada has no satellite TV of its own, and so Canadians hungry for must-see TV have to use a widespread gray market in dishes, using bogus US addresses for billing purposes. Canada’s “Minister of Industry” John Manley, bitter that the FCC rejected a plan to let a Canadian company share satellite space with the American Tele-Communications, Inc., accused the FCC of having “spurned the bid as part of a broader US government effort to weaken Canadian culture.” (Yeah, and CIA agents have similarly sabotaged the careers of Triumph, Margaret Atwood, and the comic strip For Better or Worse.) Fear of an American planet is such that the satellites beaming the cultural pollution of trash TV are called “death stars” by hysterical Canadian nationalists.

    The Canadians try their hardestnot to have their culture weakened, heaven knows. They are proudly culturally nationalistic, enforcing stringent Canadian content rules on everything from TV to magazines to pop music, in a desperate attempt to provide some legal protection for their the-same-only-worse culture when a free market would wipe out even a pretense of difference.

    Those rules enforce complicated formulae for percentage of Canadian content with varying points of Canadianness awarded for directors, producers, writers, and performers of programs. For example, if Canadian Bryan Adams co-writes a song with Brits and records it with American crew in the Bahamas, the content is only one-forth Canadian, at least under the “music, artist, production, and lyrics” system – “MAPL,” get it?

    Canadians fight with the kind of nationalistic fervor (and they aren’t even afraid of calling it nationalistic) that has made Pat Buchanan a political pariah. They scrap against the American giant to protect a culture that, at its most successful, produces such defiantly distinctive fare as the Porky’s saga. Fact is, almost 80 percent of Canadians live within 100 miles of the American border – they might as well be Americans in fact as well as in cultural detail. When America indulges in one of its own twinges of us vs. them nationalism in labeling the domestic vs. foreign content of autos, it counts Canadian parts manufacturing as if it were American. The Canadians don’t know, but the Americans understand.

    This feud is really about product differentiation when you don’t really have that much to differentiate. Of course, it’s an American tradition, and mostly harmless and fun. Such sundry entertainment items as sports teams, colas, fast food, and cold cereals all work by goosing that atavistic instinct to shout “go team!” – humans, as any grade school kickball game could show you, love to take sides, especially about things that are otherwise meaningless. Sometimes, though – as in the occasional kickball game – the side that’s always losing starts to take the game a little too seriously, and gets really upset, bawls, and ruins the game for everyone. Canada is the bawling sore-loser of our inter-American cultural kickball game.

    As if we cared. Those of us who don’t have to deal with them generally don’t think much of Canadians at all, though a sort of humorous, we-don’t-mean-anything-by-it mock enmity floats up here and there, now and then. It figures that America’s best-known Canadian stereotype, the MacKenzie Brothers, themselves arose as a parody of Canada’s domestic content laws.

    Pollyannas about pointless, meaningless national/ethnic squabbling like to think that such enmity is based on ignorance – that if only we all got to know each other and live among each other, we’d realize we’re all the same. My Florida upbringing gave me little reason to hate Canadians, but when I relocated to a city in upstate Washington from which I could actually see Canada on a clear day, things were different.

    People hated their awful little coins, cluttering the vending machines. (Canadians also call their money “dollars,” though their dollar is worth significantly less than ours. Ha.) People hated their arrogant and unearned sense of difference and superiority to vulgar Americans. (Even unearned contempt for America and Americans is a trait the Canadians stole from us.) People hated that the most powerful radio station’s playlist was warped by Canadian content laws into 4-songs-an-hour doses of the likes of Sass Jordan and Rush.

    What’s more, people enjoyed hating them. The one benefit of Canadians’ insistence on their uniqueness is it gives Americans a reason to bear a mock-xenophobic grudge against someone not even really xeno. It was fun, it gave you something to talk about, and it seemed relatively harmless since we knew if it did come to blows, there’s no way we’d lose. As one Canadian scofflaw using American satellite TV told the Boston Globe, she didn’t feel that a smidgen of Melrose Place every once in a while would make her succumb “to some strange Yank impulse to invade Cuba or pack a handgun.” But as the kid on the kickball team soon learns, to his chagrin, one should never show that kind of fear….

    Canadians, of course, have many of their own cultural triumphs (or acts of vengeance) to crow about vis-?-vis the United States. The two top-selling recording artist of 1996, Alanis Morissette and Celine Dion, are both native Canadians. Like you could tell.

    So what is the difference? Americans know. The difference is, we’re Americans. What Canadians don’t seem to understand is that, for all practical cultural purposes, so are they.

    1. hahah I’m not going to take the time to bother writing a lengthy or well-edited response to your comment about Canada – US culture, I will simply take a moment to scoff at your laughable and misguided patriotism. funnily enough, if the date at the top of your comment is accurate, september 18 2008, it can be noted that Jean Chretien has not been our prime minister for years. You haven’t even skipped just the current leader… you forget Paul Martin, and then the party-change to Stephen Harper.

      heres the real message. read ANY non-american (american in the REAL sense) publication, and they will say canada is better at ANYTHING. the great thing about canada is we don’t have to feel petty competition because the ENTIRE WORLD recognizes our superiority while hating americans for every reason that is so apparently seen in your comment.

      this is not a debate, nor do i wish it to be. my purpose was to tell you that it was morbidly amusing reading your bag of garbage you have vomited in this comment section.

      oh, on the topic of your higher “dollar” (like you invented the word…?) our economy is not a shithole, like yours, and last year our dollar valued more than yours. oh, and too bad about the hockey game 😉

  6. In some ways Canada is freer, in others much less. Overall I would still place the US first. But I guess it depends on how you score it. My main criteria is not the Nolan chart, but how much government affects my daily life. How much does government make its presence known?

  7. Thank you Canada for John Candy and Rush.

  8. The key point of the study is not that the US is less free than Canada; it is that over the last several years the US freedom ranking has fallen from 2nd to 8th.

    It is only a matter of time until we’re invaded by a higher-ranking country that wants to bless us with the benefits of freedom and democracy…

  9. New Zealand? Chile? UK?!?! WTF?!!

  10. Canadians… so sensitive. I recently watched a Canadian movie where a guy was committing acts of terrorism over the loss of Canadian hockey talen to the Americans.

    They’re so sensitive, up there. If you know what I mean…

  11. Wilkerson mentions wiretaps, are they really part of economic freedom? In what economic areas does Cato say that the US gotten worse?

  12. Just slightly OT, but is there any way someone could change the CSS of suck.com so that the articles are actually presented in a readable format? That would be so awesome.

  13. Brian Doherty, this is gold:

    With no Dudley Do-Right to protect the poor Nell that is Canadian culture, the Canadian government has taken lately to threatening criminal charges against 200,000 confused Canucks who use satellite dishes to watch contraband US TV programming.

  14. Jozef,

    Where did you dust thqt rant off from? Jean hasn’t been around for a while.

    Anyway, love this site. Economically, I would think that we (Canadians) and the US are on equal standing. I live in Alberta where we are probably more economicall free than most Americans.

    Other than the egregious abuse of the Human Rights Commisions, my gut feeling is that we now enjoy far more liberty up here in Canada than the US. The combination of the abuses of the Bush administration and your ongoing war on drugs appears looks to an interested outsider that your society has become much more authoritarian with a side order of police state.

    Here’s hope that sites like this will help the US rediscover the concept of Liberty.

  15. Which reminds me:

    Why is the people who most fervently believe in their country’s culture, also believe that it’s extremely fragile and thus most apt to be destroyed and diluted by by foreign invaders?

  16. Mike:

    Our war on drugs is also your war on drugs.

    You have a slightly higher tolerance for marijuana than we do, but for everything else? Not so much.

    You guys are also going the way of the U.S. on the other extraneous parts of the drug war: cigarettes and tobacco.

    Here’s hope that sites like this will help the US rediscover the concept of Liberty.

    I hope too. But I’m not putting my bets on a positive outcome.

  17. Oh, and mike, Jozef appears to have reprinted the entire suck.com article. Why, I have no idea. The link was in the OP.

  18. Mike and Paul,

    Per Warren’s request up-thread, Jozef copied and pasted Brian’s “rant” for all to see.

  19. Why is the people who most fervently believe in their country’s culture, also believe that it’s extremely fragile and thus most apt to be destroyed and diluted by by foreign invaders?

    Somebody said the same thing the other day about religion. It’s a good point both times.

  20. Missed Warren’s request. Thanks. What’s up, Warren, those pesky IT guys got you blocked? I have a solution for that, if you do.

  21. Kolohe,

    Really? Wow, the religion angle is an even better point. The more omnipotent the god and the faith, the more fragile it is. Wish I’d have thought of it…

    I just don’t get it. I remember all of the intellecutal lefties hand-wringing over the failty of communism, grousing that communism failed because it was encircled by capitalists. Never occurred to them that communism was supposed to thrive in spite of… nay, because of capitalism.

  22. It’s a little tough to type this while I’m giving myself a big “I’m so free!!!” hug here in Vancouver BC Canada ;>) – and you know, we don’t even have Freedom Fries!

  23. Far as economics, I’d be willing to believe that. Our country seems to be going down the shitter capitalism-wise, and Switzerland seems to have done a much better job in that department with basically the same constitution. They also seem to have a much more gridlocked government and a relatively powerless president.

    Canada’s government film funding body – Telefilm Canada or some such thing, because the new guys in charge are social conservatives, is now refusing to fund projects that aren’t approved by a board for moral fortitude (Cronenberg is pissed). It seems in this area, as we learned with the Elephant Poop BVM a few years back in New York, you cannot have your government subsidized cake and eat it too.

  24. is now refusing to fund projects that aren’t approved by a board for moral fortitude (Cronenberg is pissed)

    Cronenberg is still receiving government money?!? Or is he just pissed on principle. If so, that’s cool. While I disapprove of government funding of movies, I have to give the Canadians credit for giving it to “The Baron of Blood”.

  25. It’s a little tough to type this while I’m giving myself a big “I’m so free!!!” hug here in Vancouver BC Canada ;>) – and you know, we don’t even have Freedom Fries!

    We’ll see how “free” you feel after Operation Arctic Storm, you maple sucking puck slapper. Canuckistan will fall like AIG stock prices.

  26. That Suck.com article was pretty funny. I assume your hate mail was from Canadians who were just shocked and outraged that a Yank could question their superiority.

  27. we don’t even have Freedom Fries!

    That’s why you’re freer than us.

  28. What a day for the server to go down at work! I missed all the Canadian fun.

    What next, their women are hotter than ours?

    You’re not seriously asking that question, are you? I really can’t speak for the rest of Canada, but women from Vancouver are hotter than most. Vancouver’s own Lululemon makes pants that are ass-tastic and ubiquitous. Plus, we’ve established that we’re obviously cylons, which is superhot.

    Considering all the above, is freedom really that important?

  29. Shut your fucking face, unclefucker! You’re a cocksucking, asslicking unclefucker.

  30. Vancouver’s own Lululemon makes pants that are ass-tastic and ubiquitous

    Yoga clothing? You must be able to do better than that.

    Considering all the above, is freedom really that important?

    It depends on how good the sex is.

  31. what the hell, he’s going to call an election over a year before his term expires

    The wackiness of Canadian politics is put into even sharper perspective for me since I moved to the US. Canadian senators aren’t elected, they’re appointed. The PM can call an election any time he damn well pleases. Members of Parliament always vote along party lines, and can be kicked out of the party if they dissent. The election is in less than a month, and I still don’t know who’s running in my (parents’) riding. Once I do find out, I’ll have to write it in on a zany looking, anachronistic piece of carbon paper!

    My dad keeps bragging to me about budget surpluses, but when I visit and scan the Jobs section of the Vancouver Sun, the majority of listings are for gov’t positions, and the ones that aren’t are related to some form of resource extraction (a field not especially interesting to this city-loving chick).

    Nowhere is perfect, is the point, and it’s silly when people on both sides of the border villify each other instead of learning from each other.

    /end rant

  32. Yoga clothing? You must be able to do better than that.

    You haven’t seen their clothes, I take it. Or maybe you just haven’t seen them on ridiculously good looking Vancouver girls. Guys tend to go a little nuts. But competition for men is crazy there, because of the over-supply of hot women. Really makes you keep up your game. (Which is actually more fun. Here in Seattle it’s too easy, with all your chubby American girls lowering the curve.)

    It depends on how good the sex is.

    Naturally. Looks only go so far.

    “I’m gonna throw on a skirt, take off my underwear, and make your pop-pop proud.”

  33. I haven’t paid attention in a long time, but back in the 80’s, Chester Brown was a pretty fricken great, albeit deranged, cartoonist.

    I’m happy to find out he’s libertarian!!!

  34. Wilkerson mentions wiretaps, are they really part of economic freedom? In what economic areas does Cato say that the US gotten worse?

    Wiretaps aren’t part of a libertarian utopia, but they’re pretty useful when you’re fighting a world war against fascist terrorism. Economic freedom is what’s really important, and it’s sliding backward, thanks to mass liberal hysteria and Pelosi and pals. I might have to move to Canada, too, if we end up in Obamastan.

  35. Canadian employers have much more freedom to control their employees, but that is because the employees are all immigrants.

    Canadian police have more legal right to wrongfully search and seize and harrass you, but you are much more likely to be wrongfully searched and seized and harrassed by police in America.

  36. “I might have to move to Canada, too, if we end up in Obamastan.”

    Many people *promise* to move to Canada if their guy loses, but few seem to actually go through with it. At least you said “might,” leaving yourself some wiggle room.

  37. Dagny,

    I’m from Montreal originally (now living in south Florida) and I’ll put a general sampling of our girls up against Vancouver’s any time. But I’m sure you’re quite lovely.

    In a Canadian way, it might be like comparing South Beach and LA.

  38. “Once I do find out, I’ll have to write it in on a zany looking, anachronistic piece of carbon paper!”

    Well I would never trust your stupid voting machines and computers – A paper trail every time thanks.

  39. jean chretien??? really??? that was two PMs ago. chretien retired several years ago and was replaced by lib paul martin, who lost the subsequent election to prog/con stephen harper, who has now called new elections.

  40. It’s a little tough to type this while I’m giving myself a big “I’m so free!!!” hug here in Vancouver BC Canada ;>)

    Well, hug away, as long as you aren’t the proprietor of website that allows comments, or would care to post comments critical of a certain Peaceful Religion. Unlike the US, Canada has actual thought police.

  41. At least the Canadian government believes in the protection of the individual from most pre-employment war on some drugs testing.

    The Canadian Human Rights Commission ruled in July 2002 that workplace drug testing was a violation of citizens’ civil rights except for impairment testing in safety-sensitive positions. Canada now has some of the strongest protections against workplace drug testing in the world. “Employers, with very, very few exceptions, should not be testing employees, or candidates for employment, for drugs.” Commission Issues Revised Drug and Alcohol Testing Policy, July 10, 2002

  42. Now I’m voting for Obama just to show that Miller is bullshitting and will NOT move to Canada as promised.

  43. @TrickyVic:

    If you’re an Obama supporter, I’m sure you’ve heard of “hyperbole.”

    Isn’t it past your bedtime?

  44. Why are you skilled in it?

    Past my bedtime. Your third grade tactics amuse me.

  45. I did the State of World Liberty index a few years ago. The index was based on data from several think tank studies, including Cato’s economic freedom index. Canada ranked as the third most libertarian country in the world after Estonia and Ireland, and a tiny edge ahead of Switzerland. US was #8.

    1 Estonia – 85.25
    2 Ireland – 83.34
    3 Canada – 82.34
    4 Switzerland – 82.33
    5 Iceland – 82.27
    6 Bahamas – 82.12
    7 United Kingdom – 81.96
    8 United States – 81.96
    9 Cyprus – 81.65
    10 New Zealand – 81.24

    The survey did not include many of the tax shelter island countries that would likely have ranked highly due to lack of info. North Korea was at the bottom (unsurprisingly.) I’m going to retool a bit for the next one (hopefully later this year) because the “personal freedom” category was based on Freedom House, which isn’t incredibly informative (US was among many countries to get 5/5 that year…)

  46. When you dig into the numbers and track back the sources on this one, Canada’s higher score is basically the result of the following:

    – When asked in international surveys, Canadians feel they have more judicial independence and impartial courts than do Americans.

    – Government investment as a share of total investment is about 4% higher in the US than Canada.

    – The military is more involved with politics in the US, according to the PRS Group.

    – Americans break the law more than Canadians.

    – The US has more agricultural price controls than Canada.

    – Surveyed American businesspeople report having to make more bribes and off-the-books payments to get things done.

    – Tax compliance costs more in the US.

    In all other facets, the US and Canada were either closely ranked, or the US had a large advantage. Due to the scoring formulae, however, the above issues caused Canada to be ranked higher.

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.