Canada is No. 1, goshdarn it
So, a U.S. News and World Report study picked Switzerland as the best country in the world, and here in Canada, we’re supposedly second. Really?
Somewhere, someone is clearly confused. So let’s look a little closer — and you have to look close. If you want to take a good hard look at Switzerland, first you have to find it on the map. Canada? Heck, we are the map.
Switzerland’s just 41,000 square kilometres and change. Canada? 9.985 million square kilometres. We could tuck 215 Switzerlands in here, and still have room for, I don’t know, Spain and France.
[More: Read further for a Swiss perspective on Canada's claims.]
And look at the survey: Switzerland won without being the best in a single category, making it the consolation winner. The best it did was third place in “open for business,” which is a little like being picked “most spirited” in your high school class.
Canada, meanwhile, came first in the world for “quality of life” — and that should be the end of the competition right there.
For quality of life, the study included, “a good job market, affordable, economically stable, family friendly, income equality, politically stable, safe, well-developed public education system, well-developed public health system.”
Open for business? “Bureaucratic, cheap manufacturing costs, corrupt, favorable tax environment, transparent government practices” — their words, not mine. In fact, the winning country in the “Open for business” category was Panama, with a 5.7 out of 10 ranking for corruption. (The voters in this competition? Primarily “informed elites” and “business decision-makers.” Maybe that’s why the Swiss did so well, even after scoring zero on “affordability.”)
Sure, Switzerland might have things like chocolate, a skilled labour force, gold, top-secret hidden bank accounts and gorgeous backdrops for spy-villain movies.
But we’re world-renowned for being friendly.
Except at hockey. We’re very good at hockey. Switzerland? Less so. The biggest pluses for Swiss hockey? The symbols on their jerseys, and the NHL players who played in Swiss leagues during the NHL lockout.
The famed Swiss neutrality?
Anyone can be neutral. It takes much more thought and debate to switch back and forth, depending on the hawkishness of your current government.
Then, there’s national cuisine. How can you be the best country in the world and serve fondue?
Bread dipped in melted cheese? That’s not a recipe — it’s a happy accident.