Pax Canada: A Global Leader in Morality
Updated: Jun 30, 2020
The longest period of peace ever witnessed in the Roman Empire is commonly called "Pax Romana" – brought on by Emperor Augustus, it was recorded to last around 200 years. It was a time of minimal military expansion and conflict, as the territory surrounding the Mediterranean Sea thrived in a very rare peace, under Roman Law. Skip forward a few thousand years and a similar situation has made its appearance in the modern world – international consensus, brought on by one single actor. This actor is Canada; although it does not control the world by way of law, it does so by way of morality. Some may even say "Thank God for Canada!" and claim that Canada is the leader of the free world. Many factors coincide to create this envious effect that Canada has on the rest of the world.
The Globe and Mail researched the topic of the growing international praise for Canada; it asked people around the world what they think of the northern country. A woman who resides in Annapolis, Maryland said; "People used to talk about Canada with mild interest. In these politically volatile days, people express envy. They want to know how difficult it is to get citizenship, whether their professional credentials will transfer, how much tuition costs for non-Canadians."This suggests that the political atmosphere plays a large role in making Canada popular again – whether that be the fall of the Harper government in 2015 or the rise of the Trump empire in 2016.
So what separates Canada from the rest of the world? How is it better than other countries? What makes people want to move here so bad?
First of all, let's take a look at life inside Canada – who Canadians are, and which values they cherish. The first one that comes to mind is federally-covered health care. A concept that is still inexistent in America, Canada got it in 1968 (51 years ago). The Canada Health Act specified in 1985 what could and couldn't be covered in free health care legislation and led to our current-day situation in which most services are covered, except glasses, prescription drugs, etc. which most Canadians get insurance for. Healthcare has placed Canada above other countries in a major way – since the introduction of federally-covered health care, male life expectancy increased by 4 years for men and 2 for women, which means that Canadian males have a general life expectancy of 78 years (compared to 68 internationally) and Canadian females have one of 82 years (compared to 72 internationally). When asked what Canadians are most proud of, health care is their top answer.
Apart from healthcare, what values do Canadians cherish? Their rights to abortion come to mind – with the Morgentaler Supreme Court case of 1988 making any law banning abortion unconstitutional because it violates women's right to security of person, a right granted by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. This pro-choice mentality has also set Canada apart from the rest of humanity as a poll conducted by Ipsos shows that 77% of Canadians feel abortion should be permitted, compared to 71% globally and 58% in the US.
Canada also protects its minorities and seniors – discrimination protection and pension plans in Canada are above average. Another reason someone gave when asked why they are proud of the maple leaf country is this; "In many ways, Canada has been a global leader in areas of human rights. In July 2005, we became the first country outside of Europe (and fourth in the world) to legalize same-sex marriage nationwide." Hate speech laws are in place which makes all vocal attacks on a minority group illegal. Furthermore, the Canadian Human Rights Act also prohibits discrimination against any group based on gender, sexual orientation, race, etc. since 1977. It created the Canadian Human Rights Commission and Tribunal, which both serve as a barrier against discrimination for minorities in Canada. Seniors are also heavily protected – "Canadians over 65 are much less likely to live in poverty than their American counterparts". This is a result of the Canadian Pension Plan (CPP) and the Old Age Security Pension. An article found on Zoomer explains both of these plans perfectly: "First, in 1952, the Liberals led by Louis St. Laurent introduced Old Age Security (OAS), a benefit paid to all Canadians age 70 and over (now 65 and over). Lester B. Pearson's government introduced two more senior-friendly programs: the Canada Pension Plan in 1966, to help provide an income for working Canadians after they retired, and the Guaranteed Income Supplement (GIS) in 1967, a benefit to help lift very-low-income seniors out of poverty. A 2015 global survey found that Canada spends 4.3 percent of its GDP on pensions, well below the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development average of 7.9 percent." The last part of that quote is the most important in our case and portrays how Canada spends less of its GDP on pensions and yet is still able to deliver stellar benefits to its older citizens.
In addition, citizens of the Great White North also cherish their immigration policies. The Globe and Mail reports that the growing international anti-immigrant sentiment is not reflected in Canada; "Six-in-10 Canadians chose "disagree" when asked the question "Are immigration levels too high?" in the February survey by the Environics Institute for Survey Research – a finding that has remained relatively stable for a decade. Eight-in-10 said immigrants have a positive economic impact. Compared with last year's survey, more respondents believed that immigrants adopt Canadian values. Most of the national results extended a steady 30-year trend toward greater acceptance of immigrants." It appears immigrants are just as appreciative as Canada as Canada is of immigrants, as they were found to be the proudest Canadians in a CBC poll.
To conclude, all of these factors combined with the fact that Canada is the eighth safest country in the world and only has a 0.9% homeless population makes Canada alluring to international actors. More recently, Canada was declared to be the best country when it comes to the quality of life, and second overall as the best country in the world.
I would finish by saying this, however; being one of the best does not automatically make us perfect. Canada has come a long way since its residential school days, but that is still Canada's past. It cannot be ignored, and reconciliation should be at the forefront of any future plans; along with the pressing national emergency that is climate change. Canada lacks in these two sectors in 2019, and it would be egotistical not to mention them.