Sheltering near the maple syrup stall, local restaurant promoter Melissa Grecco says Canada escaped the fate of the US. “We felt the effects on corporate bookings, companies not spending money on staff or booking on a limited budget. But we didn’t feel it as much as the US. And within the last couple of months our business has exploded.”
So Canada is now one of the top performing industrialized economies. How did they manage it?
For a start, painful reforms in the 1980s and early 1990s. Canada’s government, based in the stone neo-gothic Parliament building in Ottawa, along with individual provinces, were able to afford an economic stimulus package. Whilst other nations borrowed, Canada had a budget surplus for over a decade. According to James Flaherty, Canada’s jaunty finance minister, it was also down to a more cautious approach.
The G8 and G20 is a crucial opportunity for Canadian policy makers, eager to vaunt their successes to leaders gathered in Toronto. And Canada need only point to growing businesses like Magmic. The Canadian IT firm makes games for the Blackberry, Apple’s iPhone and iPad.
John Criswick, who founded in the firm in 2002, says the recession was painful but the odds have been tipped in his favour because he is in Canada. “The recession definitely had an impact on us. We are half the size we used to be. But we are growing out of that and being in Canada has aided us in that recovery. It is pushing us beyond what our competition is doing in the US.”
The Canadians, it seems, have answers for even the toughest puzzles and they are keen to share their strategies with the rest of the world. Perhaps this is why, in this economy, we all want to be Canadian.