Monday, June 30, 2008

Canada losing ground?

We are, according to this.

Someone counter-intuitively, the report ranks us number 2 in education, but mediocre in practically everything else. Perhaps that says good things about our future, at least, though it cautions that Canada trails in PhD graduates, who can be expected to be the drivers of innovation.

And innovation is where they really nail us, 13 out of 17. Since our economy is largely resource based, even moreso now with the reliance on Alberta's oil industry, there is less incentive to develop new technologies and new industries that could be competitive all over the world. That is a problem going forward, evidenced by our falling productivity. Mediocre productivity and economic growth cascades into our lower rankings on social and health policy:


The report links Canada's lack of innovation to flagging economic performance,
which means there is less money to spend on services such as health and
education.

"Canada's deteriorating transportation infrastructure, its longer
hospital wait times, and the collective sense of urgency about the affordability
of social programs are all directly linked to Canada's lagging productivity,
which in turn is linked to its innovation problem," the report said.


All this is certainly cause for concern, but there are ways to reverse these trends. Our government is not short of funds; targeted tax cuts and incentives could help boost productivity and promote innovation, and improving public infrastructure and transportation is essential as we leave the era of cheap oil. Broad reform of health care could eliminate hospital wait times and lessen the financial burden of Medicare in the future.

I would not characterize our challenges as fundamental as those facing the US, but they are there, nonetheless.

3 comments:

Life Insurance Canada said...

I think it was interesting report. I believe Canada is still one of the most developed countries in the world, but nothing lasts forever and the sooner we start to act not to lose the position, the better. I am interested especially in health care. As a life insurance broker Toronto I am fan of private health insurance and I think it's spreading is inevitable for the future. Health care consumes more and more money and we can't pay everything by taxes. Castonguay was right...
Take care
Lorne

Desmond said...

Yes, I believe a dual public and private system is the best solution to our health care ills. Most European countries with socialized health care nevertheless allow the sale of complementary private insurance, and this has the effect of virtually eliminating wait times. Those who can afford it can skip ahead of the line without being a burden on the public system.

The Quebec SC ruling is just the beginning; I think we'll see real impetus for reform over the next few years.

Boris said...

Hey, go out on the streets and do the following experiment:

1. Go out on the streets and find a job in one week.
2. Go to a hospital and get treatment quick and effective.
3. Keep your job for many years, save some money and buy a house.

The reports simply says, this "is over."