For anyone that follows global political affairs, Fareed Zakaria of CNN is a household name. His weekly show, Global Public Square (GPS), is a fantastic summary of political events of the past week. His fact-based insights approach is exactly what more of our news stations should be adopting. If you don’t have time to watch the show, his podcast is perfect for your Monday morning commute.
Dr Zakaria is no stranger to Canada. He was most recently in Toronto for the launch of the Asia Pacific Foundation’s John H. McArthur Distinguished Fellowship. He will be here again for the Munk Debates on April 28th. I would highly recommend his show to anyone interested in keep up to date on political affairs.
In the latest episode of GPS, Dr. Zakaria spoke to Scott Gilmore, a former Canadian diplomat. The discussion revolved around the definition of The Great American Dream, and the metrics used to measure the progress against that “dream”. Gilmore argued that regardless of which set of metrics one picked to measure that progress, Canada fares better than the US. From education, to home ownership rates, to life expectancy, we are several points ahead. Another very important metric cited was the correlation between the incomes of parents and their children. This is a measure of social mobility, and how easy it is for someone from a lower economic status to rise to the top. Even in this metric, Canada fares far better.
Despite the fantastic statistics, the segment on GPS ended with an important warning for all of us. We can not take our progress for granted or get arrogant. We have a golden opportunity to continue forging ahead, especially when it comes to innovation and startup culture. Of course we should celebrate our progress and the 150th anniversary of our confederation, but there is lots more to do if we want to continue on this trajectory.