This morning, Maclean’s released an article titled, “Canadians pile up debt faster than anyone in the world“.
I don’t know about you, but I am so fucking sick of reading these sort of headlines.
Don’t get me wrong, I love reading Maclean’s, and they are not the only offenders. For months, every week there has been a new article published by a major news source about Canadians’ infatuation with debt. Painting Canadians as weak minded, impulse driven, irresponsible consumers who can’t get enough of our large homes, gadgets, RVs, clothes, and just general lifestyle inflation. I am sick of the victim blaming.
May I introduce to you, the concept of Country Pricing.
CBC News did a piece in 2013 explaining country pricing which is linked here, but country pricing is the concept that manufacturers can set prices at vastly different prices depending on what each country’s population is willing to pay for said item.
Here is the best example of Country Pricing. I grew up in the Niagara Region, and lived there until I was 18, and still travel there frequently. For years, (until our exchange rate became so poor), it was extremely common for locals to drive across the border to do their groceries. Hell, my husband even did this for years. Why? Because prices were significantly cheaper in the United States. However, it isn’t just groceries. One quick Google search and you can see that everything from clothing, electronics, household goods, cell phone costs, etc. are usually priced cheaper in the United States.
It is bullshit to put 100% of the blame on Canadians consumers for being in debt, when higher costs of living were not something we signed up for. Stagnated wages are not okay. There are higher costs of goods, just because companies can, and will do it.
Fruits and vegetables, warm clothing, a cell phone, baby products are all necessities for me to live, unfortunately. And because it is a necessity, I have to pay any price that some goods sell for.
I didn’t want to rant and I also don’t want to be seen as an anti-government whack-a-doodle, however we need to stop talking about Canadians being in debt and being painted as irresponsible, when we should be discussing new ideas and how we can help consumers to create a better Canada. Of course there are always going to be some people who are reckless with money and have poor personal finance skills, but we need to look at the whole picture.
Personally? I’m also trying to purchase things second hand more, purchase some large ticket items with friends, (for example, you can share a lawnmower), and have a strong sharing economy within my social circles.
Let’s start discussing ideas instead of pointing the finger at Canadians who are just trying to stay afloat.