Canadian economy may be entering its own ‘Greece situation,’ according to Andrew Coyne

Paul Wells & Andrew Coyne recording an episode of The Paul Wells Show at the University of Toronto's Munk School. Photo credit: Faryat Tabassum 

The Canadian economy has not seen improvement in the past decade, and it’s unlikely to improve because of the aging population, according to Canadian columnist Andrew Coyne.

Coyne participated in a taping of the Paul Wells Show podcast on Jan. 29. The podcast, run by Wells, covers topics around global politics and community. 

“We are about to enter a society unlike any that’s ever existed,” said Coyne, who is currently a columnist for the Globe and Mail.

Canadians are seeing stagnant older populations unlike anything that has been seen before. With fewer people of working age, Canada has far less revenue circulating than previous generations, Coyne said.

Twenty-five per cent of the Canadian population is between the ages of 56 and 75 as of 2021. Between 2001 and 2021, the population of Canadians aged 85 and older had doubled, even seeing a 12 per cent increase since 2016. In 2046, this number is expected to triple to 2.5 million.

Coyne bantered with the audience about Canada having its own “Greece situation,” referring to the country’s financial crisis. During the 2000s, Greece wound up in loads of debt due to inconsistency between the country’s understanding of an economic system, and the pre-existing laws of the European Union. Due to its shared currency, the lack of economic adjustments in Greece had negative ripple effects throughout Europe. 

Canada could be following in these footsteps, according to Coyne.

“There’s a common currency, but you’ve got independent fiscal authorities that can borrow as much as they like in any currency they like. That’s Canada,” he said.

He listed reliance on government subsidies and lack of population control as some of the potential causes. And the Canadian health care system may not be financially prepared for the record breaking population of the elderly, potentially putting the quality of care they receive at risk.

Coyne said that the notion behind demography and health care are “hard to change.”

“God knows we’re not going to be able to reform health care,” Coyne said.

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The idea of increased productivity was proposed as the “only solution” by Coyne, he stated that this solution was looked at even in 2014 when the economy was at the same stage as seen today. Coyne finds it “sad and disgraceful” that certain industries in the nation which were once self-reliant are now increasingly dependent on government funding, citing journalism as an example.

“If you don’t have a growing economy it’s concerning,” he said. “And it’s only very recently that this government has been able to become aware of this problem.”

Coyne touched on a wide variety of topics during the podcast taping, including his opinions on Bill C-18, possible outcomes of this year’s U.S. presidential election and Trudeau’s relationship with the Liberal party.

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Posted: Jan 30 2024 10:52 pm
Filed under: News