As the U.S. and other nations struggle to defuse some potentially disastrous fiscal time bombs, The Canadian Century makes a compelling argument that the world should be looking to Canada for lessons on how to get reform right.
â€”Robert Kelly, Chairman and CEO, BNY Mellon
Crowley, Clemens and Veldhuis tell a compelling tale of Canada’s economic policy history over the past 100 years from the perspective of Sir Wilfrid Laurier’s vision. Many Canadians will be familiar with Laurier’s boast that “the twentieth Century would be filled by Canada”. There will be less familiarity with his policy prescriptions and hence perhaps scepticism that the authors’ approach can work. But it works exceedingly well. First because Laurier’s ideas, once highly controversial, now seem so sound. Who now doesn’t believe in individual freedom and responsibility; competitive taxes with fiscal balance and; self-confident engagement with the United States? Second because the authors strike exactly the right balance with enough detail to keep the most ardent policy wonk captivated while writing in a breezy style that will engage non-economists. And as with a good novel the authors leave us in suspense. The policy successes of the Redemptive Decade, highlighted by the federal and provincial governments slaying their deficits, have put Laurier’s vision of Canadian world prominence back into our grasp. But some serious challenges, including the return to deficits and Canada’s ailing productivity performance, make that grasp a bit shaky. I urge people to read this compelling tale and then like me, anxiously wait for a sequel to see how the story ends.
â€”Don Drummond, Senior Vice President and Chief Economist, TD Bank Financial Group
The Canadian Century reminds us that the temptation for governments to solve all our problems with higher spending always ends in grief â€“ a lesson the US will soon learn. Itâ€™s a reminder that prosperity can be ours if we remember Wilfrid Laurierâ€™s legacy of liberty, lower taxes and smaller government.
â€”Patrick Luciani, author, Economic Myths
Crowley, Clemens-Veldhuis draw an intriguing link between the 19th Century convictions of Wilfrid Laurier â€“ individual liberty and responsibility, minimal taxes and rules, maintenance of an open, competitive edge vis-Ă -vis the US â€“ and the policy prescriptions needed to ensure a brighter 21st Century for Canada. Their thoroughly documented analysis of the â€średemptive decadeâ€ť which ushered in Free Trade, the GST and deficit control demonstrates how Canada has acted in its own best interest. Moreover, they show that if we establish a real advantage vis-Ă -vis the US on tax and other policies that will increase both our attraction with emerging powers and our leverage with the US. The question the authors pose is whether we have the wherewithal to finish the job.
â€”Derek Burney, former Canadian Ambassador in Washington
This timely and provocative book will remind Canadians that the smart fiscal and trade policies pursued by governments of all stripes in the past two decades has made Canada a star at the beginning of this Century. But history should not repeat itself. What we have achieved recently is what Wilfrid Laurier understood to be the right path forward for the last century. Instead, wars and economic depression led to inefficient government spending, high taxes and deficits, and protectionism. Canada should avoid this poisonous policy recipe in the coming years to fulfil Laurier’s dream of a truly great nation of the North which we should rightly be.
The authors provide a compelling â€“ and optimistic â€“ analysis of both the challenges and the triumphs the future offers our two dynamic democracies and make the case why the US-Canada partnership is so worthy of our leaders’ time and attention.
The book is also an endorsement of the too often maligned Canadian federalism. Our founding fathers got it right. The provinces have come into their own as incubators of change, innovation and experimentation with application to the national level.
Entrepreneurship, hard work and self-reliance are deeply ingrained in our psyche. During the redemptive decade of the nineties these virtues were resurrected.Â In tandem with concerted actions by the different levels of government, we put right the debt and despair created by a couple of dark decades when we wobbled towards what the Wall Street Journal described as “third-world status”. Limited government, light taxes and fiscal discipline, argue the authors are the ingredients that bring gold in the Olympiad of nations.