By Nathan Rudyk

Canada's been on the list of best-kept business secrets for several years. While the U.S. and Europe were piling on debt over the last decade we were "beavering away" (Canadian term, means working hard) getting our books in order, bolstering our banking system to withstand perfect storms and black swans, investing in education and healthcare, and trimming business taxes.

Let's face it, we're also blessed by a motherload of natural resources that makes us one of the world's best supermarkets, and gas stations. And we're ... Canadian. Our country is a tolerant place that accepts immigrants, listens to new ideas, has a strong rule of law and respects the contributions of entrepreneurs. 

For these reasons and several others, this week Forbes Magazine ranked Canada number one in the world in the magazine's coveted "Best Countries for Business" List.

At market2world, we violently agree with Forbes' choice. Just over 12 months ago we launched, a bilingual brand built for Canada's C-11 large cities to help attract more Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Flying under this banner, the C-11 can undertake joint trade missions around the world, and otherwise create a far stronger global impact working together than competing against each other.

Please check out on the Web and/or join our group on LinkedIn. But before you click there, read what Forbes had to say about our great country's business prospects:

Canada ranks No. 1 in our annual look at the Best Countries for Business. While the U.S. is paralyzed by fears of a double-dip recession and Europe struggles with sovereign debt issues, Canada’s economy has held up better than most. The $1.6 trillion economy is the ninth biggest in the world and grew 3.1% last year. It is expected to expand 2.4% in 2011, according to the Royal Bank of Canada.

Canada skirted the banking meltdown that plagued the U.S. and Europe. Banks like Royal Bank of Canada, Bank of Nova Scotia and Bank of Montreal avoided bailouts and were profitable during the financial crises that started in 2007. Canadian banks emerged from the tumult among the strongest in the world thanks to their conservative lending practices.

Canada is the only country that ranks in the top 20 in 10 metrics that we considered to determine the Best Countries for Business (we factored in 11 overall). It ranks in the top five for both investor protection as well as lack of red tape, which measures how easy it is to start a business.

Canada moves up from No. 4 in last year’s ranking thanks to its improved tax standing. It ranks ninth overall for tax burden compared to No. 23 in 2010. Credit a reformed tax structure with a Harmonized Sales Tax introduced in Ontario and British Columbia in 2010. The goal is to make Canadian businesses more competitive. Canada’s tax status also improved thanks to reduced corporate and employee tax rates.

(Nathan Rudyk is President and CEO with market2world communications inc., the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)