This week I’ll be traveling in Canada, talking with experts, business owners, and workers about the surprisingly strong recovery that Canada has experienced following the Great Recession.
Over the last five years, Ontario and Quebec have actually grown jobs. People I’ve spoken to so far credit better government. Canada’s strong bank regulatory scheme prevented big failures.
In fact, not a single bank failed in Canada, during a time when hundreds of American banks were toppling.
And there is no mortgage crisis here. While US homeowners face down a tsunami, fewer than 1% of Canadian mortgages are in arrears.
But there’s also a sense that Canada’s strong economic performance transcends this moment of turmoil.
When you compare the struggling towns across northern New York with their counterparts the Canadian side of the St. Lawrence River, it’s hard not to see a growing gap in vitality and private investment.
And when you match booming Kingston, Ottawa and Toronto with comparable American cities in the region — Buffalo, Detroit, Chicago — you see growth on the Canadian side and contraction in the US.
So here’s the question:
If southern Ontario is building a stronger, more diversified economy than the North Country, what are they doing that we can emulate?
What’s happening here in Kingston — where I’m writing this blog post — that allows the population to grow and new businesses to open?
And can those ideas be copied in Watertown, less than two hours away?
Both communities sit in beautiful areas. Both have prisons and big military bases providing a foundation for the local economy. But Kingston is clearly pulling away, offering its citizens more opportunities, more prosperity.
Tune in this week as we talk about the very different political and economic climate in Canada — what is it that’s making a difference? And as always, share your ideas below.