Frank Stronach: Why Canada is the Best Model for the World

Canada is a global model of tolerance, where people of different races, religions and beliefs live together in harmony

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The signs have been unequivocal over the past decade or so: the United States of America, long the wealthiest and most powerful nation on Earth, is beginning to decline in terms of global dominance and economic clout.

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Struggling with debt and a US dollar that is in danger of losing its status as the world’s reserve currency, America is slowly losing economic power on the world stage. The country’s global influence also appears to be receding, as evidenced by America’s humiliating withdrawal from Afghanistan and its weak response to the Russian-Ukrainian war.

Within its own borders, the signs of decline are even more evident. The gap between rich and working is widening, with increasing numbers of people living in poverty. The United States is also divided along other lines, including race and culture. The American ruling class offers no practical solution to help the country in its current situation and does not seem to care about the well-being of its less fortunate fellow citizens. Many other facets of American society no longer work – from crumbling infrastructure to irreconcilable partisan bickering and political gridlock, not to mention rising crime and homelessness, high rates of poverty in inner cities and illegal migrants pouring into the country.

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China and Russia, the world’s two greatest military powers after the United States, are certainly not models that other nations aspire to emulate. China and Russia have consistently exhibited totalitarian and anti-democratic tendencies. Although their economic strength and raw power are increasing, people do not want to live under the boot of an autocratic regime. The European Union, on the other hand, has become far too socialist, with a huge bureaucracy governing every aspect of daily life and commerce through endless rules and regulations.

So who will the world look up to as a role model?

I believe Canada can be that model. It is clear that Canada will never have the economic and military strength of the world’s superpowers, but when our society is measured by its ability to provide wealth, freedom, human rights and opportunity to its citizens, then Canada behaves very well.

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Canada is a leader in many ways. We are blessed with a diversified economy that includes an abundance of natural resources — from fish and forest products to oil and minerals. It has always baffled me, however, that we haven’t done more to turn our natural resources into value-added products instead of just selling raw materials to the rest of the world. But we are also leaders in financial services, food production, artificial intelligence, biotechnology and real estate development.

Canada also has great democratic rights and freedoms that are admired around the world, even though some of these rights have been violated and compromised by our country’s response to the pandemic. And unlike the United States, Canada has fewer powerful and entrenched special interests that often stand in the way of change and reform.

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For me, an ideal society must meet certain minimum standards. It should be a place where no one goes to bed hungry and where everyone has access to shelter and decent health care. Canada is one of the few countries in the world to come close to these standards for the majority of its citizens.

And although Canada faces many challenges, including economic inequality and environmental pollution, our country still stands above most nations on earth.

Canada is a global model of tolerance, where people of different races, religions and beliefs live together in harmony – something you don’t see in most other countries in the world. Of course, we can still do much better, but we have given the world a model of how a multicultural society can work successfully.

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In short, as an open and welcoming society with a tradition of innovation, humanitarian compassion, and a track record as a champion of democratic rights and freedoms, Canada is well positioned to pull together all the building blocks of what would constitute an ideal society.

People around the world still see Canada as a land of unlimited opportunity and they still yearn to come to our shores, much the same way I did when I immigrated here in the early 1950s. C t is Canada’s population — more than any other factor — that makes us a great country.

During my career, I have conducted business in dozens and dozens of countries around the world. But few countries compare to Canada. That’s why I believe that over the next decade, as countries and their citizens search for a new model, Canada will stand out as a shining example of what the rest of the world could be.

Frank Stronach is the founder of Magna International Inc., one of Canada’s largest global companies, and an inductee into the Automotive Hall of Fame. He can be contacted at [email protected]

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Rebecca R. Santistevan