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Tuesday, December 14, 2010

THE BEST PLACES IN THE WORLD (Part 23: Honorable Mention--Canada)

The following continues the serialization of the final chapter from SIMPLE SOLUTIONS FOR HUMANITY:



            Gems of Canada: Vancouver / Toronto / Montreal

While the Canadian outdoors are what are truly grand, their cities are neat. You can camp in the wilds, but you more probably will want to live in proximity to some metropolitan area. Vancouver has a Chinese tinge and Montreal a French overtone, no, make that, prominence. A memorable way to appreciate Toronto is to drive over the Windsor Bridge into Detroit.

Canada is the second largest country in area (Russia is almost two times bigger). It severed its federal dominion status from the United Kingdom in 1982 and became a parliamentary democracy. However, Queen Elizabeth II remains the head of state, so it is also a constitutional monarchy. Canada, while a close partner of the U.S., maintains full relations with Cuba and chose not to participate in the Iraq War.

The country ranked #6 in the UN Human Development Index (dropped to #8 in 2010), Foreign Policy Magazine Globalization Index (#7 in 2010) and Yale/Columbia Environmental Sustainability Index (#12 in 2008 and completely dropped out of the top 30 in 2010--tar sands???). The Economist gave Canada a #8 (#14 in 2010) rating in the Global Peace Index, the Wall Street Journal ranked it #10 (#7 in latest survey) in the Index of Economic Freedom, and IMD International listed it as #10 (remained #10 in 2010) in World Competitiveness.  In general, Canada seems to be slipping.

What’s wrong with Canada?  Among some troublesome areas, perhaps a mediocre national medical plan, plus, there is that French flap about secession and their women’s Olympic curling team only winning the bronze medal in Torino 2006 (but rose to silver in 2010, while the men got gold both times). By the way, the Winter Olympics are coming to Vancouver in 2010. You can’t find too many bad things about the country, except, maybe it might be too cold for some of us, especially me.

Canada tends to have an easier immigration policy, so you might not need to jump over an electric fence to enter. Also, it has the highest per capita immigration rate in the world, with most now coming from Asia. Go to www.canadavisa.com and see if you qualify. If you are not in the U.S. and are looking for a better place to live, try Canada.

The final honorable mention will be Florida.


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The Dow Jones Industrials in the final hour is +68 at 11,497, a bit more than 10% higher than at the start of the year.  World markets were mostly up, gold increased $2/toz to $1400 and petroleum steady at $88/barrel.  

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