I started traveling to Canada in the 1980’s. Some of the first things I noticed; clean streets, polite people, a generally safer feeling walking city streets at night. The latter statement may receive some push back, but I can compare this to my other business travel experience in cities such as New York, Detroit, Philadelphia, Chicago, Houston and Los Angeles. In at least three of those cities, I became aware of the corner ceiling mirrors in elevators to check before entering. After all, you never know who might be lurking just around the corner of the door. Barbed wire was frequently placed at the top of chain-link fences to protect parking lots.
I found it amusing the Canadian sales representative I met in Toronto, specifically wanted me to be with him when we went into Hamilton Ontario. He felt safer with me on trips to industrial areas near Toronto or Montreal. Seriously, Hamilton? Nothing I saw there came close to the level of violent crime in cities I mentioned, or when I was in Oakland California in the ’70’s. Since that time frame, New York improved under Mayor Giuliani.
I enjoyed traveling and meeting people in Halifax – Nova Scotia, Quebec City, Toronto, Vancouver, and was often asked my opinion on the differences between the U.S. and Canada. That’s not an easy or quick question to answer, but what I found interesting in this interview, were a few observations made by a wealthy Canadian. It’s one man’s insight and perhaps serves no more value than my own.
Here are my take aways from Kevin O’Leary. The U.S. has committed a lot of it’s resources to waging war, “police action”, on areas of the globe which have historically been in turmoil for a millennium. The mortgage financial upheaval in the U.S. was a self-inflicted wound by permitting mortgages to buyers with an inadequate stake in personal equity. Combining the problem with a lack of regulation of the finance industry which sold volatile derivatives, affected global markets. What was interesting, was his agreement that regulations in Canada requiring 20% down for buyers was a good idea, however he seemed disturbed by the government regulation of business.
This is classic justification for anyone who attempts to look at themselves as critically as they would someone else. It’s very difficult, and that’s where the U.S. in general, has not challenged itself to understand that having economic power, transferring a significant amount of it into military action, isn’t always appropriate. I still like the idea shared by my former father-in-law; “kill them with kindness“, “bomb them with tractors“. In a way, that’s sort of the Canadian method in International affairs. Someone from the U.S. in general, (many exceptions to this statement), tend to be more confrontational. The Canadian, more accommodating or let’s work out a solution to our issues.
Of course, your mileage, chewing satisfaction and thoughts may vary from this post. I invite your comments below.
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