Hip to be square: The Economist exposes the world’s envy of Bay Street’s boring banking

Hip to be square: The Economist exposes the world’s envy of Bay Street’s boring banking

Safe, sound, snoozy (Image: Jason Michael) 

As the United States struggles through banking reform, Canada’s quick recovery from last year’s recession hasn’t exactly prompted lawmakers down south to adopt a more Canadian way of doing things. This isn’t all that shocking, since we weren’t exactly an inspiration during their messy health care debate earlier this year. Still, it’s nice that The Economist is giving us props for our even-handedness, even if the compliment is a bit backhanded.

How has Canada avoided the plagues that are afflicting everyone else? The short answer is a mixture of good policies and good luck. The main reason for the country’s economic resilience is that neither its financial system nor its housing market magnified the recession. The banks remained in profit. House prices held up fairly well and are now rising. And for that regulators deserve a chunk of the credit.

May we also add, as evidence of our rebound, the impressive 108,700 jobs Canada created last month?

While The Economist lauds our boring banking system, even while it dubs it an oligopoly (we prefer the more badass term “cartel”), it can’t resist further jabs: “The result is that Canadians pay more for financial services than others, and there is little innovation.” While that may be true, if “innovation” means scoring a $500,000 mortgage without any proof of employment, we’re OK with our Bay Street yawnfest.

• The least-bad rich-world economy: the charms of Canada [The Economist]
• Canada’s resilient economy: the goldilocks recovery [The Economist]
• Canada adds stunning 108,700 jobs [Globe and Mail]
• Slate: the Stock Market who cried wolf [Slate]