THE BLOG
12/01/2011 12:03 EST | Updated 01/31/2012 05:12 EST

Canada: Time for a Little Humblebragging, Eh?

We look around the world and see protests and threats of state bankruptcies in Europe, persistent unemployment and debt crises in the U.S., and even worries of a slowdown in China. But Canada keeps chugging along.

This headline came across my Blackberry yesterday morning: "Canadian economy expands more than expected." Ho hum, right?

In Canada, we are famously polite, reserved and humble. But it might be time for a little humblebragging (and yes, that was a clumsy plug for the great Twitter feed @humblebrag) on the economy.

We don't get that excited about solid, steady performance in boom times. But under these circumstances, Canada's economic performance is somewhat extraordinary.

We look around the world and see protests and threats of state bankruptcies in Europe, persistent unemployment and debt crises in the U.S., and even worries of a slowdown in China.

But Canada keeps chugging along.

Both the IMF and OECD have forecasted that we will be amongst the G7 leaders in economic growth in the years ahead. Canada has the strongest job creation record in the G7 with nearly 600,000 net new jobs created since July 2009, more than 90 per cent of them full-time. By a wide margin, we've got the lowest debt to GDP ratio in the G7.

Forbes said we're the best country in the world for businesses to grow, invest and create jobs. For four straight years our banking sector has been rated the best in the world.

There's lots of credit to go around: the policies of the Chretien government in the 1990s that got the debt to GDP ratio down combined with the Harper government's low-tax plan and singular focus on jobs and the economy have been a sturdy mix. There's more to do in the areas of attracting investment and encouraging research and productivity growth, but we're certainly on the right track.

The question remains: for how long? How long can Canada continue to buck the international trends? Can we do it in a period of austerity? And what happens if the U.S. economy continues to sputter?

We also worry about the exposure Canada has given our reliance on the energy industry for future growth. The Keystone decision was a scary reminder that the future of the Canadian economy is not always in our hands, and can be hijacked by special interests who say they don't like Canadian oil, but in reality, would rather the world just did without the stuff altogether, thank you very much.

But for now, it's a pretty good time to be in Canada. The economy's OK, the Leafs aren't terrible and Sidney Crosby is back tearing up the NHL. Now, if we can just get U.S. politicians to see the light on the oil sands, we'll be all set.