July 09, 2003


Canada and the UN are no longer bestest friends:

The United Nations has ranked Australia as the fourth-best place in the world to live.

Beating Australia to the top three places are Norway, Iceland and Sweden ... The list has upset Canada, which held the number one position for seven years in a row.

It is now ranked eighth.

The meanest thing about this demotion is that Canada is the only nation that cares what the UN thinks. This is callous.

Posted by Tim Blair at July 9, 2003 12:40 PM

The other thing that will gall them completely is being behind the USA... :-)

Posted by: MommaBear at July 9, 2003 at 12:57 PM

Not really.
What's more important is that it gives Chretien one less subject to talk about.
As for being behind the US? Nope, looked at my map and we is still on top ...


Posted by: J.M. Heinrichs at July 9, 2003 at 01:04 PM

A more accurate line: the Canadian government cares what the UN thinks.

Posted by: tim at July 9, 2003 at 01:14 PM

I would rather not be on any UN list.

Posted by: Gary at July 9, 2003 at 01:49 PM

Too right Gary.
For, Norway, Sweden, Iceland, corrupt little socialist shitholes that they are hardly smack of the stuff of envy.

Posted by: d at July 9, 2003 at 01:54 PM

Heh, from this article:

"We have been sold on the idea we are No. 1. ... We have invested so much energy, capital and enthusiasm into the UN rating. We have set ourselves up for a fall in a way by doing so," said Mr. Jedwab.

How pathetic is worrying about how highly the UN ranks your standard of living when the chair of the committee that concerns peoples' countries' standard of human rights is chaired by Libya?

Posted by: Russell at July 9, 2003 at 01:54 PM

Clearly it's not cold enough here. If it wasn't for that damn global warming we'd be numero uno. Bob Carr's right, sign Kyoto now and let's show those herring suckers who is really number 1.

Posted by: PJ at July 9, 2003 at 02:28 PM

I don't care what the UN says. I don't want to live on the Artic circle. 6 months of perpetual darkness, spending a whole day putting on a parka ensamble, eating salted oily fish and committing suicide are over rated in my opinion.

Posted by: Charles at July 9, 2003 at 02:31 PM

Maybe someone should rank the countries based on how many people leave home to live there. The US and Canada would still do well - but does anyone really want to move to Iceland?

Posted by: Tim at July 9, 2003 at 03:02 PM

The Human Development Report is a useful collection of statistics on all kinds of stuff (GDP, education levels, life expectancy, infant and maternal mortality, and so on), but the Human Development Index is a monstrosity--a creature of UN bureaucrats and NGOs seeking to advance a worldwide statist agenda. No problem is too intractable for large-scale government intervention.

The Australian statistician Ian Castles--of IPCC-debunking fame--wrote a great critique of the 1997 HDI a few years ago for the journal Population and Development Review. The bottom line is that no-one should take HDI rankings very seriously, and even the UNDP admits that it's almost impossible to distinguish between the top dozen or so countries.

Posted by: murray at July 9, 2003 at 03:18 PM

Iceland ?

Lord-help-us-our-volcanoes-are-melting-our-glaciers-and-our-gene-pool-is-an-inch-deep fucking ICELAND ?!?!

Posted by: Carl in NH at July 9, 2003 at 03:45 PM

Perhaps they bribed the U.N. with free kippers packed in ice.

Posted by: d at July 9, 2003 at 04:11 PM

I demand a re-count!

For Pete's sake, let just go over that again.

Norway? Iceland? Sweden? WTF? I can now die happy knowing the UN's stats are all based on last night's bingo numbers.

It really sucks sitting in the backyard drinking beer in summer when I could be freezing by arse off on a frozen lake hunting seals...

Posted by: Jake D at July 9, 2003 at 04:29 PM

I was pretty impressed with our 4th place until I saw the ones above us!
Iceland? Norway? Jeesus!! Brass monkeys obviously didn't vote!

Posted by: Richard Moss at July 9, 2003 at 04:39 PM

Norway, Iceland, Sweden,

This must be International Seasonal Affective Disorder month.
But at least Sweden has some babes.

Posted by: wallace at July 9, 2003 at 04:40 PM

Not for very much longer. The top three countries' populations are all shrinking.

By the way Tim, you should do a cross reference of this stupid list with the Amazon Rainforest Depletion Country Comparison Index. Then we could see which pariticular piece of Amazon rainforest would've been the best to live in.

Posted by: Brad at July 9, 2003 at 05:02 PM

Wow Australia at number 4. Oh shucks, you are too kind you UN arseholes! If Australia was governed by the UN we might be as developed as Somalia or Rwanda(or whatever it is called this week). Keep the UN away from the poor. They are part of the problem not part of the solution. War is needed to kick out the despots. Then give the people free trade, property and individual rights, rule of law, democracy..then they can have whisky and sexy.

Posted by: AussieJoe at July 9, 2003 at 11:02 PM

i'm sure people are just lining up to emigrate to those top three...ho yeah

Posted by: Mr. Bingley at July 9, 2003 at 11:35 PM

The (excellent) Canadian blogger Colby Cosh has a column on the Human Development Index in today's National Post, and the trauma of Canada being dropped to eighth place. Sample quote:

I expected thickets of arcane calculations representing a complex, although no doubt wholly bogus, substructure of science and theory. But no. The bogosity, the perfect, serene arbitrariness of the thing, is right there on the surface. An intelligent high-schooler equipped with an up-to-date almanac could have compiled the figures, or indeed invented the index itself.

Posted by: murray at July 10, 2003 at 03:21 AM

Note that Iceland's low immigration rate can be explained by other means than quality of life.

Prior to 1998, it required an Act of the Althing for an adult immigrant from most countries (i.e., anywhere that isn't Norway, Sweeden, Denmark, or Finland) to become a citizen of Iceland. Now that's loosened up a bit -- you can be naturalized if you get the nod from the Minister of Justice after meeting residency and other requirements.

Would you immigrate to a country knowing you need the arbitrary permission of either the MoJ or the Parliament to ever become a citizen?

Posted by: Warmongering Lunatic at July 10, 2003 at 07:43 AM

"...you need the arbitrary permission of either the MoJ or the Parliament to ever become a citizen..."

As I understand it, on the plus side you have a good chance of running into the MoJ in the pub there; I'm told that it's so small that you have a good chance of randomly meeting high ranking gov't officials. (my friends who've visited Iceland have had said good things about it, but the small size is always commented on).

Posted by: Ben at July 10, 2003 at 08:06 AM

"The list has upset Canada, which held the number one position for seven years in a row."

Yeah, it's been horrible: the riots, the protests, grown men weeping openly.

"Canada" was significantly less upset than when we lose to the US at hockey (now there's blow to our national pride). I can imagine there was some consternation in the PM's office though, since he's been bleating about this continuously for 7 years as if it actually meant anything.

Posted by: Sean E at July 10, 2003 at 09:12 AM

Norway, Iceland, Sweden & Canada are in the top five. Can anyone see a link here? Who did the poll? Esquimaux?

Australia's obviously up there by mistake, they were thinking Austria.

Posted by: Michael Gill at July 10, 2003 at 02:24 PM

Ladies and gentlemen,I believe a diplomatic ploy has been missed: it is a cunning plot to winkle Australia from US and Britain.
Of course its cunning,a bloody stunner by Koffee toffee stick Anan and our friend Blicker Blix.Unless it was delivered by another UN village idiot aspiring to take up where they left off.
Ha! Foiled.

Posted by: d at July 10, 2003 at 05:37 PM

The UN list makers are secretly huge Bjork groupies. There's yer explanation

Posted by: Shewolf at July 11, 2003 at 04:52 AM

A load of Bjork you might say.Norwegian for,U.N. bullshit.

Posted by: d at July 11, 2003 at 12:07 PM