Canada Day- a time to reflect on economic justice

Canada Day- a time to reflect on economic justice

“We believe that no nation can survive politically free but economically enslaved.” -Tommy Douglas, 1943

Canada Day is not just celebrating the incorporation of four provinces 146 years ago, it is a celebration of a country that has succeeded. Not only in building an identity separate from the British empire, but also creating a system that works for many of its people.

Canadian women get fifty weeks of paid maternity leave, American women get zero. Americans spend an average of $8,500 per person on healthcare (a majority left to the individual), Canadians spend $4,400 (almost all publicly subsidized). American spends twice as much of its GDP on defense spending than Canada, if we ignore the massive amount of debt interest in the US budget due to past wars. Its economic safety net has led to a lower abortion rate than in the US, despite far more liberalized abortion laws.

Canada hasn’t addressed all its problems- the oil industry needs to be brought into line for environmental reasons, as does respect for the indigenous First Nations. But it’s been running the race towards economic justice for over a half century.

America has hardly started.

(picture from ThinkProgress; using data from

Author: AJM

Writer, sociologist, Unitarian Universalist.

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