Economic Freedom: Canadian Province Beats Out All 50 States


Move over, Texas: There’s a new “economic freedom” sheriff in town.

As Mark Steyn noted ruefully over the weekend, “It’s come to this…”

So I guess I shouldn’t be too surprised to learn that the most economically free state in North America isn’t a state. It’s a Canadian province.

That province being Alberta.

It’s no surprise to any American who’s been following the Keystone XL pipeline saga:

With its abundant oil and cowboy spirit, Alberta is the Texas of Canada, but without the chronic handicaps created by massive illegal immigration, not to mention the state’s fixation on football that, frankly, breaks at least half the Ten Commandments.

The Frasier Institute (a Canadian “right wing” think tank) has just released its annual report, Economic Freedom of North America.

Using 2011 data, the Institute places two Canadian provinces, Alberta and Saskatchewan, at the top of it’s “sub-national jurisdictions” list, followed by Delaware, Texas and Nevada.

Cato’s Daniel J. Mitchell isn’t surprised:

Back in February, I said Australia probably was the country most likely to survive and prosper as much of the world suffered fiscal collapse and social chaos.

In hindsight, I probably should have mentioned Canada as an option, in part because of pro-growth reforms in the past two decades that have significantly reduced the burden of government spending.

Before you rent the U-Haul, though, keep in mind that while Alberta is relatively rich, literate and low crime, it isn’t an all-out conservative or libertarian paradise.

The Sun News report above — about the Alberta town that’s declared pond hockey too dangerous — shows that nothing is safe from bureaucratic and legalistic concern-trolling, not even Canada’s national sport, and not even in rugged “Wild Rose Country.”

Far more troubling is what’s been called “The High River Gun Grab.”

In July, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police took advantage of a catastrophic one hundred year flood — the worst natural disaster in Canadian historyto seize hundreds of legally owned firearms from evacuated homes, along with tons of ammunition.

Cops kicked in unlocked doors just for the thrill of it, ransacked closets and other non-“in plain site” areas, and tracked mud and raw sewage through relatively unscathed upstairs bedrooms, all adding thousands of dollars in damage to already wrecked houses.

In a just world, Lorne Gunter’s stunning documentary about this scandal, Broken Trust (below) would win a Peabody Award, and all the other prizes Michael Moore usually sweeps up. The TV special is a must-see for anyone interested in property rights, gun laws and the growing militarization of the police.

When you see indefatigable, mad-as-hell gun owners fighting for their rights in true frontier fashion, you’ll understand how Alberta, despite its faults, just out-Texas’d Texas.