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Hard Numbers: Canada's govvies boom, Americans start to care about the world, CEOs rake in record riches, Fentanyl “superlabs” hum up north, meltdown in Canada-UK cheese talks

The Canadian flag flies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa August 2, 2015.

The Canadian flag flies on Parliament Hill in Ottawa August 2, 2015.

REUTERS/Blair Gable

274,219: If you think big government is a big deal, then this is some big news: The size of Canadian public service (i.e. govvies) has swelled to record highs, with 274,219 employees in 2023, up more than 6% since 2022 and more than 40% since the middle of the last decade.


38: For a country that has more global influence than any other, Americans often show a surprisingly limited interest in what their government does abroad, but that could be changing. A new AP/NORC poll shows 38% of US voters now think foreign policy is a key issue, more than twice as many as last year. Foreign policy went from being the 11th most important issue to the second. Still, economic concerns top the list for more than three-quarters of Americans.

14.9 million: These are great days to be a Canadian CEO. A new report shows that the top 100 Canuck corporate chiefs took home an average of $14.9 million in pay in 2022, a record haul, up $600,000 since 2021. If you’re clocking that on an hourly basis, that’s more than $7,000 every 60 minutes.

2: US officials confiscated just 2 pounds of fentanyl along the vast, mostly unpoliced US-Canadian border last year. But after a number of opioid superlabs were discovered north of the border in recent months, experts are worried that Canadian producers could exacerbate a US opioid crisis that has so far been driven largely by smuggling from Mexico.

98: The great British cheese melt has arrived for Canadians, as a tariff-free import agreement covering 98% of Canada’s imports of the stuff from the UK has now expired, causing prices to rise. The measure was meant as a stopgap after the UK left the EU, which Canada has a comprehensive agreement with. Ottawa and London now have to negotiate a new trade deal.

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