Friday, June 17, 2011

Why Canada?

St. Jacobs Farmers Market                Photo by WeiWong

Last weeks blog prompted a question from an old college friend.  Why are you moving to Canada?  Of course this is a question we debated with a long time.  I have lived in Ohio my entire life while Ing has been here for over half her life at this point.  The easy answer is that we have decided to move in order to be close to Ing’s family in The Great North.  However, I couldn’t help but consider the question in a different way.  The fact is many people are trying to come to Canada.  In fact, the papers I described filling out in the last entry are taking longer to process because of the unusual number of recent applicants.  So it isn’t just me.  There are a lot of folks who want to go to Canada.  Why?  I decided to do a little research.
            I typed in “Top Ten Reasons To Live In Canada” and read the many thoughts people have about Canada.  Not so surprisingly there were many that wrote about beer and hockey.  Still others were hyper political in nature and had an ax to grind.  The Canadian writer Wendy Matheson produced a light hearted top ten list that includes snapshots of typical Canadian perspectives.  For example, she makes the statement that getting sick won’t cause you to lose your house.  She also notes that federal political campaigning lasts only a month.  The list is on her blog.
            A few weeks ago Ing brought an article from The Street to my attention.  It’s titled, “How Canada Beats the U.S.  In the article Canada is praised for its regulatory standards for financial institutions.  Apparently they have some rules that we don’t.  Subsequently they not only weathered the financial melt down of the past two years but are actually thriving.  Oh boy.
            Finally, there is the Human Development Index (HDI) published by the United Nations every year.  Newspaper headlines often declare the country with the highest HDI as the best place to live.  The HDI measures four areas for every country in the world.
Productivity: How well people are able to increase their productivity.
Equity: A measure of people’s access to equal opportunities.
Sustainablity: The ability for future generations to have the same opportunities as previous generations.
Empowerment: A measure of people’s ability to fully participate in the decisions and processes that shape their lives.
Anyway, Canada has beat the United States in the HDI for fifteen out of the last sixteen years.  Apparently Norway is the best place to live and has been for several years now.  The Scandinavian countries always seem to do well.
            There are a few things particular to the area we are moving to that I am looking forward to.  Our home is going to be very close to Laurel Creek Reservation which includes a large lake and bike paths.  Waterloo is serious about their bike paths.  From where we will live we could bike all over the city and into numerous parks while staying on bike paths.  In general there are a lot of natural areas that we will get to discover.
            There are many other things I look forward to such as the multiculturalism, ethnic foods, farmers markets, Tim Hortons, Oktoberfest, and eventually when I learn more about  But as I said before we are moving to Canada to be closer to our Canadian family.  I’m not dodging the draft, I’m not running from the law, and in fact, our life in Ohio has been pretty darn good.  But of all the countries that we could be moving to in the world...I’m happy to go to Canada.  It seems like a nice place.

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