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Ontario, Canada
28th June

Well I sat up last night watching the Canadian elections and the results were...
 Overall Election Results
Party Elected Vote Share
LIB 135 36.71%
CON 99 29.61%
BQ 54 12.40%
NDP 19 15.69%
NA 1 .13%
OTH 0 5.47%

And so this is the first minority government in 25 years for the Canadians.  I must say I was mightily impressed with the speedy way they got in the results and in fact I heard that the US got in touch to find out how they did it :-)

For those that don't know the BQ are the party of Quebec that want independence and I guess somewhat like our own SNP.

This election made me think about Canada as a nation and in some ways it seems somewhat like the UK in that while it is a huge nation with some 32 million of a population it does have the same types of problems as the UK.  Ontario is where most of the population lives and so it is a bit like the South of England. The west of Canada seems to be a bit like our North of England and Cornwall and the BQ would seem to be like Scotland.  This may well be an over simplification but that's my general impression.

For those considering coming to Canada you have to be aware of the huge differences all over the country and you're just not going to see it all even in many visits.  House prices are certainly significantly below those in the UK and the cost of living is also well below the UK. Talking to Pearl in Guelph she commented that she gets a coffee for CAN$1.00 whereas in the UK she's going to pay 1.00 so 2.5 times the price.  Likewise folk will often pop in for a breakfast and so you can get bacon, eggs and toast for around CAN$3.00 which is around 1.20.  That is why folk eat out a lot more than they do back in Scotland.

Most houses over here have basements and so while the house might look small there are hidden rooms underneath :-)

With almost 32 million of a population I note the following figures from Statistics Canada...

Place of birth 5,448,480
United States 237,920
Central and South America 304,650
Caribbean and Bermuda 294,050
United Kingdom 606,000
Other Northern and Western Europe 494,825
Eastern Europe 471,365
Southern Europe 715,370
Africa 282,600
West-Central Asia and Middle East 285,585
Eastern Asia 730,600
South-East Asia 469,105
Southern Asia 503,895
Oceania and other countries 52,525
Source: Statistics Canada, Census of Population.

The general impression on service is that Canadians seem to take pride in giving good service in the many bars and restaurants whereas the general impressions of Canadians is that Scotland doesn't on the whole give good service although the food is certainly up to spec.  There is a lot of criticism from Canadians about our organisations like VisitScotland, Historic Scotland, etc.  As a lot of Canadians are very proud of having Scottish roots they are particularly disappointed about the lack of information coming out of Scotland.  Mind you I've been saying this for many years now that the marketing of Scotland plc is pathetic and to be honest this has been completely confirmed by the people I've met in the USA and Canada.  I really don't care if our Scottish organisations think they're doing a good job as I can tell them with real authority that they are not but of course they won't listen to me :-)

Anyway... all that said there is a clearly massive opportunity to do more business between Scotland and Canada and it's just a pity that these opportunities are not being addressed in Scotland.

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