Why Canada ranks eighth for peace

If not for our soldiers overseas, we would have ranked higher

Why Canada ranks eighth for peaceCanada is the eighth most peaceful country in the world, according to the 2009 Global Peace Index. We might have done better, if it weren’t for the troops in Kandahar.

Canada’s mission in Afghanistan prevented a top five spot, says Clyde McConaghy, president of the Global Peace Index. We also fell in the ranking because of our “high military sophistication,” scoring a three out of five for “the actuality and likelihood of gearing up for violence.” Canada slipped further because of a high likelihood of a terrorist attack and an increase in jailed criminals.

Still, we’re up from 11th place last year, and the Global Peace Index report attributes that rise to an “improvement in the score for the level of respect for human rights.” Canada’s politically stable climate also helped us to secure a top-10 place. “There are some areas that could be improved,” but Canada does “really well,” says McConaghy. “Actually, it’s an example.”

The recent edition of the Global Peace Index was composed of 23 indicators including human rights, gender equality and democratic participation. Weights were assigned to the indicators to produce a final score. This year Iceland fell from first to fourth place because of an “unprecedented collapse in the country’s financial system.” New Zealand is now on top, followed by Denmark and Norway, and Iraq remained in last place, despite improving its score. It had the highest possible score for homicide rate, level of violent crime, and potential for terrorist attacks.

McConaghy says there are “tentative signs” of a causal relationship between peace and the strength of the economy, and he hopes the study will direct policy and business decision makers to make peace, not war. “Canada would benefit US$200 billion per annum in terms of economic activity in absence of violence,” he says.

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