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  • Written by Mel Hurtig
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Some Important, Some Astonishing, and Some Truly Appalling Things All Canadians Should Know About Our Country

Written by Mel HurtigAuthor Alerts:  Random House will alert you to new works by Mel Hurtig

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On Sale: December 28, 2011
Pages: | ISBN: 978-1-55199-269-3
Published by : Douglas Gibson Books McClelland & Stewart
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Synopsis|Excerpt|Table of Contents

Synopsis

Renowned as a passionate Canadian, bestselling author Mel Hurtig has combed through world statistics to see how Canada really measures up — and the results are astonishing, and often shocking.

This book is about how Canada has changed, very much for the worse, in the last twenty years. As a result of these profound (often hidden) changes, we are no longer the people we think we are. To take one example, the Canadian media usually leaves us with the impression that Canadians are really heavily taxed. Yes, compared to the U.S.A., the usual point of comparison. No, compared to other countries with our standard of living, other OECD countries, for example; there we come in 23rd on the high-tax scale.

The shocks in this book build up, chapter by chapter. How do we rank in the world in voter turnout? Try 109th. Number of physicians per 100,000 population? Try 54th. Our rank in reducing pollution? 126th out of 146 countries.

Some of the statistics are internal, comparing Canada then and now. They back up two of the book’s most powerful themes: the failure of Canadian big business to turn record profits into ongoing investment in our country, and (no coincidence) the sellout of our assets at a rate that no other country would allow.

This statistics-based book ranges across all areas of our lives — including health, wages, productivity, culture, the media (“the most concentrated in the world”), and much else. Mel Hurtig’s message is that we can’t do anything to fix the direction we’re drifting in unless we recognize it — and recognize The Truth About Canada.


From the Hardcover edition.

Excerpt

Preface

This book is about how Canada has changed, and changed very much for the worse, under the governments of Brian Mulroney, Jean Chrétien, Paul Martin, and Stephen Harper. It is also about how, as a result of the profound changes that have occurred, we are no longer the country we think we are, and no longer the people we think we are.

In chapter after chapter, you will discover just how very different we’ve become from our long-time self-image and from what has been our international image. You’ll see how far we’ve departed from the principles and the ideas that helped Canada become one of the most admired countries in the world and the country the overwhelming majority of Canadians have so cherished for so long.

An important feature of The Truth About Canada is the fascinating international comparisons it contains that show how we stack up against other countries around the world, but principally against the other OECD developed countries. It’s no exaggeration to say that you will find a great many of these comparisons disappointing, shocking, and even appalling.

Another main theme in the pages that follow is the dismal failure of our powerful corporate leaders to use their gigantic, record-breaking profits and reduced taxes to adequately invest in our country and to conduct reasonable levels of research and development that would help make Canada more innovative, more productive, and more competitive so we can raise our overall standard of living. You will find many of the facts that follow relating to big business in Canada both disturbing and dismaying.

A further theme is the unparalleled sellout of our country in a manner no other developed country would ever dream of allowing. While this has been taking place at an accelerating rate, the purposeful dissemination in the print media of false information about rapidly growing foreign ownership and control of Canada goes a long way towards explaining why our myopic politicians have failed to take action on this and other related problems that are very quickly robbing us of our ability to plan and manage our own future.

The chapter on the Free Trade Agreement is subtitled “The Most Colossal Con Job in Canadian History.” When you read it, I hope you will ask yourself why you have never read any of this information in our newspapers or magazines, or have never seen anything remotely similar on television. God knows, you’ve been inundated with an abundance of right-wing, continentalist propaganda to the contrary. The chapter on the media in Canada should help explain why this important information has never before been available to you.

When you read the economic chapters in this book, on foreign ownership, trade, investment, productivity, competitiveness, and taxation, I hope you will be aware of the fact that exactly the same people who have left us in these weakened positions have for some time been very secretly planning more of the same in private, high-level meetings designed to integrate Canada further into the United States.

Big business, in the form of the Business Council on National Issues and its well-financed successor, the Canadian Council of Chief Executives (the very same people who helped put Canada, as you will see, into two terrible so-called “trade” agreements), are now covertly planning “deep integration” with the United States, a process that will rob us of our ability to maintain our independence, protect our sovereignty, and preserve the important values so many of us cherish.

I hope you will be angry after reading The Truth About Canada, very angry. Angry at greedy, hypocritical, intentionally misleading corporate executives, and angry at the remarkably inept politicians who have allowed a small and wealthy plutocracy to sell out our country and our destiny for their own selfish motives.

The Truth About Canada is the result of many long days, months, and years of research. It certainly will be regarded as my most controversial book, and will bring immediate cries of protest from the usual Neanderthals at the Fraser Institute, the C.D. Howe Institute, the CCCE, the increasingly continentalist Conference Board of Canada, and, of course, the house organ of all of them, the National Post.

One editor asked me if I was not apprehensive about the strong criticism such a tough book will inevitably bring. The answer is simple. You cannot ever expect to accomplish anything important without bringing criticism from the entrenched forces this book describes, criticizes, and blames for what has gone wrong in our country.

I have been very fortunate in having some of the best minds in the country available to me for consultation as I wrote The Truth About Canada. You will find their names on the acknowledgements page. Many of the most important pages of original research in this book are the result of their help, for which I am very grateful.

Whether it’s our pathetically low number of doctors, our high comparative levels of both adult and child poverty, our truly awful record of educational funding, our shameful levels of foreign aid and peacekeeping, our abysmal voter turnout comparisons, our totally inadequate research and patent performances, our high infant and under-five mortality rates, the broad deterioration in our social programs, our increasing gaps in distribution of income and wealth in Canada, our treatment of our aboriginal peoples, the rapid decline of our manufacturing sectors, our serious post-secondary education problems, our continuing and very dangerous decentralization, our coming confrontation with the United States over water, our mind-bogglingly stupid NAFTA agreements regarding oil, natural gas, and water — in any or all of these topics, and in many more, you will frequently encounter vitally important and newly documented information that will make you cringe. Whether it’s our pathetically low number of doctors, our high comparative levels of both adult and child poverty, our truly awful record of educational funding, our shameful levels of foreign aid and peacekeeping, our abysmal voter turnout comparisons, our totally inadequate research and patent performances, our high infant and under-five mortality rates, the broad deterioration in our social programs, our increasing gaps in distribution of income and wealth in Canada, our treatment of our aboriginal peoples, the rapid decline of our manufacturing sectors, our serious post-secondary education problems, our continuing and very dangerous decentralization, our coming confrontation with the United States over water, our mind-bogglingly stupid NAFTA agreements regarding oil, natural gas, and water — in any or all of these topics, and in many more, you will frequently encounter vitally important and newly documented information that will make you cringe.


From the Hardcover edition.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements
Preface

Part One
1. Health Care in Canada and Our Tragic, Inexcusable Shortage of Doctors
2. Poverty in Canada

Part Two
3. Aboriginal Peoples in Canada
4. Canadian Social Policy
5. Employment and Unemployment in Canada
6. Ottawa’s UI/EI Cash Cow
7. Welfare in Canada
8. Immigration and Emigration

Part Three
9. Wages in Canada
10. The Distribution of Income in Canada
11. The Distribution of Wealth in Canada
12. Big-Business Bellyaching and Actual Corporate Profits in Canada

Part Four
13. Big-Business Investment in Canada
14. Research and Development
15. Productivity in Canada
16. Manufacturing in Canada
17. Cars, Trucks, and Auto Parts
18. Corporate Taxes in Canada
19. Personal Taxes
20. How Competitive Is Canada?

Part Five
21. Education in Canada
22. Culture in Canada
23. The Media in Canada

Part Six
24. Foreign Investment, Foreign Ownership, Foreign Control
25. Foreign Takeovers
26. Canadian Investment Abroad
27. The Free Trade Agreement
28. NAFTA
29. Trade in Goods and Services
30. Globalization

Part Seven
31. Foreign Aid
32. Defence, the Military, the Arms Trade, Peacekeeping, and the Arctic

Part Eight
33. Government in Canada
34. Decentralization
35. Energy Policy in Canada
36. Water
37. Gross Domestic Product
38. Standard of Living and the Quality of Life

Part Nine
39. Reforming Our Dysfunctional Electoral System
40. Women in Canada

Conclusion
Glossary
Notes


From the Hardcover edition.
Mel Hurtig|Author Desktop

About Mel Hurtig

Mel Hurtig - The Truth About Canada

Photo © Don Hammond Photography Ltd.

Mel Hurtig has been a bookseller; a political activist (founder of the Council of Canadians and leader of the National Party of Canada); a publisher, and a writer. He is the author of The Betrayal of Canada, A New and Better Canada, and an autobiography, At Twilight in the Country.

Author Q&A

At 214 doctors per 100,000 we are in 54th place in the world…A 2007 poll revealed that over 2 million Canadians have tried but failed to find a family doctor during the previous year…Canada now has about a third fewer doctors per population than other OECD countries.

Total per capita health spending in the US is almost two and a half times the OECD average. In Canada it is one and a quarter times the OECD average.

Canada has the fourth highest obesity rate out of the 30 OECD countries.

Canada has the lowest percentage of OECD adults smoking tobacco daily.

Canada’s overall environmental performance is far behind other OECD countries with a rank of 28th out of 30.

In a February 2005 study comparing 141 countries, Canada ranked a horrendous 126th in reducing our pollution.

Canada, with 0.5% of the world’s population emits 2% of humanity’s greenhouse gas emissions… 46% of Canadian industrial greenhouse emissions in 2002 were attributed to exports.

The Canadian industrial average is 3.8% of revenues spent on research and development. For the energy industry it’s 0.75%. For the oil and gas sector it’s 0.36%.

In 1989, 15.1% of children in this country were living in poverty. By 2006, that percentage had grown to 17.7% or almost 1.2 million children.

In 2006, Canada’s poverty rate was worse than 18 other OECD countries.

In one month in 2006, 753,458 Canadians obtained food from a food bank; 41% were children.

More than 4 in 10 First Nations children are in need of basic dental care…Diabetes is 3 to 5 times more common than the Canadian average and tuberculosis is 8 to 10 times more common… Aboriginal people are about 3% of Canada’s population, but they make up about 20% of all prison inmates…58% of Natives living on reserve aged 20 to 24 have not finished high school.

In social spending as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product, Canada is in 25th place out of 30.

In most western European countries low-paid jobs are between 8% and 12% of the total; in Canada they make up 21% of all jobs.

During the first half of 2007, Canada’s private sector dropped some 90,000 jobs, the largest decline in over a decade and a half.

In the five years before the Free Trade Agreement came into effect in 1989, employment in Canada grew at an average annual rate of 2.9%. In the five years from 2001 to 2005, it grew at only an annual average rate of 1.84%.

The 1990s saw the highest rate of unemployment in Canada of any decade since the great depression.

The US prisoner rate per 100,000 population was 725 in 2004, compared to the OECD average of 132.4 and Canada’s rate of 107.

Corporate profits: in 1992 before taxes they were 4.7% of GDP. In 2006 they were up to 13.9% of GDP, the highest in history…Since 1990, the average after inflation increase in hourly earnings until 2006 was only 10 cents.

In January 2007 the top 100 Canadian CEOs made between $2.87 million and $74.82 million. Meanwhile, the average Canadian worker earned about $38,000 a year and the average person working for a minimum wage made $15,931 a year.

By 2005 the highest 20% of Canadian families owned 69.2% of all net worth… The poorest 40% owned only 2.4%.

In 2005, over $22.3 billion of foreign controlled corporate profits left Canada, mostly for the US.


From the Hardcover edition.


  • The Truth About Canada by Mel Hurtig
  • February 03, 2009
  • Political Science
  • Emblem Editions
  • $18.95
  • 9780771041662

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