Canada in the Global Economy

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Canada in the Global Economy

Over the past few years, Canada's economy has done comparatively well and has demonstrated some resilience to the fluctuating global economy. However, Canada remains to be relatively less competitive with respect to other developed countries. In this paper I will attempt to take a closer look at Canada's position in the global economy today and examine the relevant issues.

Competition is an important driver of innovation and productivity growth. Looking at the domestic Canadian economy, perhaps one of the most significant barriers to a strong domestic economy is the lack of intense competition among domestic firms. There are many reasons for this. First of all, the size of the Canadian economy is too small to support the development of large corporations. The US on the other hand, has about a ten times larger population, and therefore, a much larger market and demand are in place for larger multinational companies to build. As a result of the lack of sufficient domestic demand in Canada, only a small number of larger firms are developed in each industry. Furthermore, Canadian firms seldom treat research and development as a priority. Unlike in the US, innovation is not a corporate culture in Canada. This can be partly due to the lack of intense domestic competition, causing firms to spend resources on other areas instead of R&D because there is no real urge to innovate and maintain competitiveness.

The government also plays a major role in determining the level of domestic competition. In the past, the Canadian government had not been supportive to introduce rivalries in its domestic industries. There had not been any clear and well defined competition policies; there were however, numerous policies enforcing tariffs for imported products that had been protecting domestic firms from competition from abroad. Although some can argue that such protectionism was necessary in the starting phase of an industry, but Canada has still been maintaining some of these protection policies even today for well developed industries such as the cable and electricity industries. These protective policies do not promote domestic rivalries and therefore lead to a lack of productivity gain that can be achieved through competition. Although many of these protective policies are now non-existent anymore, what these policies had d...

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...competition that drives productivity gains. Innovation from Canadian firms is limited, resulting in stagnant productivity improvements. The Canadian labour force is also relatively weak and the working environment relatively non competitive. In the future, Canada will be moving towards a service-oriented economy that continues to rely heavily on exports. The concept of competitiveness will become more and more crucial for the success of the Canadian economy.

It is therefore imperative for Canadian businesses to continue to improve productivity and develop the culture of continuous research and innovation. Intense domestic and foreign competition also needs to be in place to drive productivity gains. The role of Canadian government will be to make Canada an attractive place to work, live and invest. This will bring in valuable human as well as financial capital that will be conductive to achieving competitiveness. The government should also realize and deal with social and environmental issues as a matter of priority with a strategy to move ahead of other developed countries and avoid future burden on the economy when these issues start to become a bigger problem in the future.

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