Is Canada the Greatest Country to Live in? Elsa Ko 20 January, 2017

Canada is a great place to live according to basically everyone. But is it the best?
Beautiful Places in Canada
Canada: 13th

Our quality of life is one of the highest in the world - However it always seems to be topped by either New Zealand, Switzerland or Sweden. In my personal opinion, I believe that although Canada is one of the greatest countries to live in, it is not yet the greatest. Here's why:

Immigration & FNMI

We've got a lot of issues - particularly in our immigration systems and the FNMI situation. Most of our immigrants come from China, India or the Philippines. Our immigrant intake of 2016 was 300,000, most of them economic immigrants. We reached our immigration goal of 300 K, but we actually need even more immigrants than 300 K. There are professions we need more of, including engineers and doctors. These occupations are likely going to need to be filled by immigrants with training in that field as skilled workers. However the largest issue is going to have to be the United States of America as they attract the best and the brightest - leaving us with the rest; our immigrants often find they cannot find work untill ~5 years after immigration and sometimes it is even harder to find suitable housing due to ballooning prices that never seem to come down and increasing debts.

You'll find most agree the FNMI situation we have here is slowly improving, their society slowly leaving reserves to join advancing society. However there is the Attawapiskat youth suicide crisis of 2016 that reminds us there is much to be done. I believe the solution lies in mental health services in these communities as well as subtly directing the mind to join regular society. This will help integrate them as well as give them a way to make money and pull themselves out of poverty. Suicide rates among the Inuit are 6-11 times the Canadian average, Nunavut in particular. Depression is also a major factor in First Nations mental health, experiencing major depression at twice the national average. Smoking rates in First Nations and Inuit communities are found by Health Canada to be more than triple the rate of the rest of Canada. Tobacco is recreationally used in traditional prayer and ceremonies, despite the addictive and harmful aspects of it.

Physical landscape

Canada is a beautiful country, partly famous for it's land-scape as seen here. It has many sights to see, including plains, deserts, mountains as well as large cities. My personal preference is something more rustic and European, but we can all agree Canada is a very beautiful country.

Canada has a World Wonder - The Niagara Falls, a collection of three waterfalls in Southern Ontario shared with the USA. It is massive, with the highest flow rate of any waterfall in the world. The falls were formed long ago from glaciation when the Great Lakes were forming paths to the Atlantic Ocean.

The St. Lawrence Lowlands has some of the most fertile soil in Canada, and is also the most populated part of Canada, holding 50% of Canada's population despite being the smallest land-form region.

This valley has been carved out by glaciers moving towards the ocean many years ago much like other scenic locations in Canada and is now a popular tourist attraction. The mountains in pictures above were formed by tectonic plates colliding.

natural resources & trade

Canada is abundantly full of natural resources which has powered the country for years. However the time is going to come when they can no longer supply us. I notice that we save no resources for ourselves and instead send it to other countries (like our shipments to the USA of oil through NAFTA). This helps to fund our futile and expensive projects and pay for our exports, but what will happen when we start to run out of our natural resources? More money always invokes more greed. This is true in the Alberta tar sands, considered to be one of the most unsustainable industries Canada has. Mass amounts of freshwater is used in the production of natural gas, and I consider the oil sands not to be a success despite the great strides the oil industry has taken economically for Canada. Eventually, we would have gotten to where we are now, just in a more sustainable and longer way. In fact, oil operations are equal or greater than car emissions in Canada. Environment Canada found in 2014 that the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions (responsible for climate change) is Canada's oil industry, and that oil and gas now accounts for one-quarter of all of Canada's greenhouse gas emissions.

Alberta Oil v. Norway

Canada also has a trade deficit of 1.5B, though much lower than August 2016's 11.3B deficit. They need to lower imports, raise the dollar value and increase exports to make a profit. Canada should aspire to be like Sweden, known for its domination of world trade alongside the USA, China and Denmark. Sweden’s government shrank jobless and disability benefits to encourage employment, and the lower benefits let them have cuts on tax. In the short term, lower benefits will enrage thousands, but in the long run they can make great profits to help run Canada better. Canada is constantly working to strengthen their weak exports, with export value increasing by 0.5 in August 2016 following a near record low in May.

Some Main Canadian Industries

urban development

City v. Town

Canada is not a population-dense country but does have several major cities, the most noted being Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal. Cites like this have all the services you could ever want, and attract citizens from around the country and across the globe. The bright lights, job opportunities, and good living conditions aren't all though. Behind it, lies a web of issues including small towns, growing commutes and land management. The cities bring in people from the places around it such as small towns like Aberfoyle, a beautiful place to visit in the fall. The town dows not have all the services the tone needs, so they start going elsewhere, which creates a domino effect that ultimately ends in the town being practically eradicated: no people, no jobs, no town. Towns are destroyed left and right, but if they survive, it's the famous commute time that gets to them. Commutes can sometimes take up to 45 minutes, invoking rage and obesity, a growing problem in Canada and the United States.

Cities have many issues regarding urban sprawl, one of the largest being paving over farmland, wetlands and very fertile soil. Only 5% of this country has 'farmable' land, and places in canada continually build outwards, which in the GTA paves over some of the most fertile land in Canada. Local farms help aid the food security of the area as well as other ecological benefits such as cleaning the air, filtering water, and storing our greenhouse gases. Canada should think about building upwards instead of out with higher-density communities, and using public transit, bike paths and walking trails with greenspace and protected farmland.

cONCLUSION

Based on my opionions above, I can honestly say that Canada has a lot of issues and is most definetly not the best country to live in because it's flaws outweigh its pro's. We've got a beautiful country, but we must learn to communicate with our FNMI community, support the immigrants who come here and manage our resources to provide for future generations. Instead of expanding outwards, it would be wise to build upwards and create higher-density communities to limit damaging urban sprawl. When we do these things, I believe Canada can become the greatest country in the world to live in.

Works Cited:

https://lifestyle9.org/worlds-best-country-to-live-in-2013/3/

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/visions/aboriginal-people-vol5/aboriginal-mental-health-the-statistical-reality

http://www.hc-sc.gc.ca/fniah-spnia/substan/tobac-tabac/index-eng.php

http://www.nrcan.gc.ca/home

http://www.nationalobserver.com/2016/06/23/news/canadas-fishery-severe-decline-warns-ocean-watch-group

https://www.thestar.com/business/economy/2016/08/30/canadas-trade-deficit-balloons-to-new-record.html

https://www.thestar.com/opinion/editorialopinion/2013/02/21/urban_sprawl_is_destroying_ontarios_farmland.html

http://www.immigroup.com/news/top-10-problems-immigrants

https://www.desmog.ca/environmental-issues-canada

Credits:

Created with images by Nick Kenrick.. - "Vancouver Canada"

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