Canada slides out of U.N.’s top 10 list

Dear editor,

The United Nations has just released its 2013 Human Development Index and Canada has slipped out of the top 10 countries.

Dear editor,

The United Nations has just released its 2013 Human Development Index and Canada has slipped out of the top 10 countries.

In the 1990s, Canada held first place for most of that decade.

The Canadian Press posted on March 14 that the 2013 report “reviews a country’s performance in health, education and income” and places Canada now “in 11th place, versus the 10th last year.”

One of the main findings of the report is The Rise of the South, with countries that had previously struggled with poverty and inequality “now on a steady developmental climb.” This rise, interestingly, “has a direct impact on wealth creation and broader human progress in all countries and regions of the world.”

It is of note that Prime Minister Harper said at some point in the 2004-2006 period that Canada was a failed socialist welfare state like Sweden, Norway and Finland. At that period Canada and those other three countries were all scoring at the top of the U.N.’s indices.

Today, unfortunately, the other three countries are still near the top and Canada isn’t. Why? We need to think about this.

The U.N. Development Program credits three factors for the developmental gains of the countries which were on the bottom and have now risen.

They are that the southern nations are being proactive and pragmatic in developing policies for their private and public sectors. They are not only tapping into global markets, they are also investing in social programs.

The report suggests that international institutions need to be more representative, transparent and accountable.

We could apply these suggestions to local boards, couldn’t we?

The regional hospital board, which met last week, was too timid to insist it has a right, on behalf of taxpayers, to see the whole business plan for the two hospitals.

The United Nations can teach us locally, as well as federally and provincially, about transparency and accountability.

Gwyn Frayne,

Courtenay

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