Special Topic2

THE GREAT NORTHERN POWER THAT COULDN’T

By: John Hibberd      May 23, 2019

INTRODUCTION

This is a fictional story that could be true, of a great northern country called Canada that is squandering its opportunities. Canada is blessed with an abundance of resources in the form of mineral ores, coal, oil, gas, wood, freshwater, food and other resources. Its most important resource is the skilled work force that manages the national resources for their primary industries, in a second to none manner. Yes, Canada has a prestigious global reputation of not only having talented know-how but also for applying best in class sustainable environmental and resource management policies, that very few other countries even come close to. With Canada’s know-how and resource base, it is in a great position to become very financially rich and a great power in the near future. Unfortunately, Canada does not see this bright future and has been making decisions and policies to prevent this from happening. Competitor nations are taking advantage of Canada’s denial to be a world power by competing with and even buying access to Canada’s rich resources.  Looking at Canada from a distance, this sounds like some oxy-moronic issue that is too idiotic to be true. Why would a country sacrifice opportunities to be a supplier to the world, that in turn would improve the financial, economic, quality of life, and relative influential power for its citizens and for the nation as a whole? The answer is unstable, short-sighted, misguided, and self-serving regional and federal politics, along with an array of anti-development special interest groups. This negative political environment is why Canada is better known as “The Great Northern Power That Couldn’t.” Therefore, what is required for Canada to change and become “The Great Northern Power That Could?” The answer is based on the hypothesis that the political goals must be in line with, and must compliment, the economic goals for a country to have a successful competitive, sustainable, and growing economy. The validity of the application of this hypothesis to Canada will be discussed.

REASONS FOR LOST OPPORTUNITIES AND THE CHANGES NEEDED FOR A PROSPEROUS FUTURE

This fictional Canada could be richer and have no debt if regional and federal governments had not sabotaged the primary resource industries, and other primary and secondary industries. Just dream how rich citizens could be by supporting activity focused on meeting the global resource demand boom. Just think how richer first nations (aboriginal groups) would be if they were convinced that the development that got blocked would pay for more jobs, better houses, better services, and better quality of life on many of their reserves. There would be less unemployment and fewer welfare handouts needed to so many, so that assistance can be focused on those with critical needs. More specifically, first nations would be predominantly better off and more self-reliant. If political policies could support this dream then the economy would grow and in turn stabilize both the political goals and economic goals in Canada. Actually, if this dream was to come true, much of the poverty, neglect, and the indebtedness in Canada would disappear, especially on the reserves. Canada could actually explore opportunities to self-finance Canadian development projects and not have to rely so much on foreign investment, like they currently do. Canada could even purchase a much greater share of interests in other countries on a scale that pales current trends.

The analogy I think of is a rich man who owns a huge and bountiful forest and is told by his leader on an annual basis that he can only grow food on 1 acre, chop one tree, and hunt one rabbit. However, in a neighbouring shrubbery (not a bountiful forest), many poor men, that follow another leader, are told to develop everything, chop trees down, grow food on cleared land, hunt all animals and get rich quick by selling to the rich man over there. Unfortunately, the rich man is worried about getting cold, slowly starving, and has so much money he’ll pay the poor men to get what he wants. Over time, the rich man becomes poor and weak, while the poor men get very rich and powerful. However, the poor men have used up all their resources and the one time rich man is forced to sell an ever greater portion of his huge bountiful forest so the one time poor men can exploit their new purchases and get even richer. Eventually, the rich man is living in poverty and works for the poor men that are his new ruler. The rich man and his leader represent Canada and its government leaders. The poor men and their leader represent China and its government leaders. This is what is happening and Canada’s wealth is being transferred to countries like China.

This fictional story is not suggesting that Canada should rape and pillage their resources but that it should develop them in a responsible and sustainable manner. The wealth generated by Canada can then be used to finance other more efficient and environmentally friendly (green) opportunities and maybe cause improvements to occur more quickly. China has a long term plan to get richer and more powerful by raping and pillaging resources, not only in its own country but in other countries too. Many of these other countries also have less restrictive environmental and development policies than western developed countries like Canada. Unfortunately, Canada and the other stupid, short-sighted, and greedy western developed countries are financing China’s explosive development. The developed countries primary means of financing China’s growth is by buying cheap Chinese made products, instead of loyally supporting more expensive/less profitable home grown businesses that have tax paying workforces. The result is that home grown businesses close down and in some cases relocate to China, with the resulting loss in tax revenues. China in turn extorts and exploits the know-how from these relocated businesses and eventually takes them over or drives them out by using the stolen know-how to set-up competing 100% Chinese owned enterprises. This type of trade arrangement is not fair and favours the growth of China at the expense of all other competing countries. I do not disagree with investing in China to achieve better access to their local market, unless it takes manufacturing capacity and jobs away from the home developed country. In other words, Canadian corporations must also have an obligation to remain loyal to Canada and not sellout Canada by submitting to predatory foreign entities to satisfy the instant gratification of greedy owners and shareholders. Therefore, all levels of Canadian government must work with Canadian corporations to set up realistic policies to ensure home grown sustainable growth with a focus on protecting and not compromising the long term economic interests of Canada.

CONCLUSIONS

In the future, this fictional Canada could definitely be a global economic superpower and the envy of other countries if the Canadian regional and federal governments changed their policies (and politics) to be more friendly and supportive of a more competitive and expanding primary resource industry. Friendlier policies with a goal to be number 1 would help the Canadian primary resource industries help Canada to become the premier supplier of resources to the world. Canada would get rich and powerful in the process and Canadians would watch the economy grow, politics stabilize, government indebtedness disappear, along with a general improvement in the quality of life. The revenue generated from this economic miracle could help finance further sustainable and greener developments and thus assist Canada to reduce its overall pollution emission loadings, in a much shorter time period; rather than currently financing through less lucrative taxation methods. The other upside is that if Canada became a respected global economic superpower, they could influence and assist the development in developing countries, like China and India, to be more climate change/environmentally friendly. This means that Canada could help those developing countries with new development to reduce pollution emissions so that there is a much lower deleterious impact on other countries (and the world), than they currently have, and will definitely have in the future.

Currently, China is a predatory competitor to Canada’s primary industry (as well as other industrial categories) and Canada must wake up and recognize this ultimately destructive challenge. Canadian governments at all levels must develop realistic policies, with input from loyal Canadian corporations, to stop the apparent transfer of wealth to China. If Canada ignores the challenge, then it will eventually lose control of its resources via economic instability, political instability, and near tributary status to China. However, just imagine if in a near future, a Canada that recognized the foreign predatory challengers, enacted policies to protect the long term economic interests of Canada, was able to claim global economic superpower status, and remained true to its current image as a good global partner. This more prosperous, powerful, good-willed, and influential Canada, along with other friendly developed countries, will also see the need to help less privileged developing (and underdeveloped) countries develop in a more sustainable and environmentally friendly manner, than what is currently happening. This help will not only address climate change but will support the on-going work to reduce pollution, poverty, food scarcity, water scarcity, and disease, so that human quality of life, longevity, and coexistence with each other is improved. This help may also dismantle many of the socio-economic barriers to sustainable development and possibly result in trade agreements between countries that are actually fair and beneficial to all parties, rather than one-sided, predatory and exploitive. This sounds like a path towards a utopian future with peaceful coexistence, respect, and cooperation between countries, unfortunately, even in this fictional story it would be a very difficult path to follow. I do wish that this dream of a future with a Great Northern Power called Canada, that is a global economic superpower, could be true. It would then be known as “The Great Northern Power That Could.” Unfortunately, Canada in the present is still known as the “The Great Northern Power That Couldn’t.” However, you never know what the future holds, miracles can happen.