Canada’s the fifth most economically free country; but Ontario, Ottawa and Alberta are endangering that

Canada’s the fifth most economically free country; but Ontario, Ottawa and Alberta are endangering that

Canada ranks a remarkable fifth in the world in economic freedom, just behind Hong Kong, Singapore, New Zealand and Switzerland.

The “land of the maple leaf” is far ahead of our southern neighbour, supposedly the “land of the free.” The United States ranks 16th out of the 159 countries and territories measured, in the most recently available data from 2014, released Thursday by the Fraser Institute.

Economic freedom is a core “Canadian value.” Canada has been in the top 10 since 1970, when the first measurements became possible. Canada’s success is deeply non-partisan and ingrained in our character. We remained in the top 10 under Pierre Trudeau, the level of economic freedom increased under prime ministers Brian Mulroney and Jean Chrétien. It declined slightly under Stephen Harper but never enough to threaten Canada’s position in the top 10.

Economic freedom is simply the ability of individuals and families to make their own economic decisions free of interference from overly ambitious governments or crony capitalists — it’s arguably the best measure of the extent to which markets shape the economy.

Hundreds of research articles have used the Fraser measure to explore the effects of economic freedom. When people are free economically, other freedoms often follow. Economic freedom has been found to promote growth and prosperity and other positive outcomes such as higher levels of tolerance and democracy. Just try to think of a prosperous economy (at least one not based on found resource wealth) or a stable democracy in a country without free markets.

Economic freedom remains a key ingredient to Canada’s long-term prosperity and success, and helped us rise quickly out of the financial crisis of 2008.

Typically countries with high levels of economic freedom either suffered relatively little from the crisis, like Canada, or have made a strong recovery, like Ireland. Countries troubled by low levels of economic freedom such as Greece, Italy and Spain, suffered deep recessions and are still struggling to recover.  Read More:

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