Thursday, February 19, 2009

Best Presidents for Canada?

Aaron Wherry writes this week in Maclean's about the best U.S presidents for Canada. He spoke with quite a range of historians for suggestions, including me. I proposed Franklin Roosevelt, but John English also plumped for FDR, and clearly he gave better quote -- since he actually knows about that era.

English emphasizes Roosevelt's defence views, rightly, but I think of something else, a little more complex. Seems to me Roosevelt's Keynesian, interventionist, "big government to secure the little guy" ideology created space in which the Canadian social safety net, which mostly came later, came to seem possible as a public policy aspiration. We went farther with it, sure, but would it have been possible had the United States been continuously Hooverian with regard to the role of government?
Follow @CmedMoore