While our standard of living is better than most places on earth, we have no special vaccine that would guarantee our future, even in the short term. In this upside down world we live in, country after country is slipping into hopeless long-term poverty.
When upheaval reigns across the world it’s tempting for countries to be protectionist and build barriers to world trade. How many times have we listened to claims that it’s Chinese slave labour that’s the problem. We could blame everything on Arab oil if you like, that’s an often-used line.
The reality is that blaming our vulnerability on others won’t put food on our tables and won’t keep our social systems funded. Moreover, diverting our attention and efforts away from the core things we need to do would help put us into the poorhouse.
In the past few years our export of oil to the United States has climbed to more than 24 per cent of their consumption. They buy more oil from Canada than they do from all the Persian Gulf countries combined. Should the USA go into recession their demand for oil would drop.
Who do we sell to then? The other big purchaser of energy is China. But, we would need a pipeline, to say, Kitimat or Terrace. A great many scientific environmental groups would be out screaming and hollering to stop any attempt to build such a pipeline to the coast.
Speaking of these lobby groups, did you know that Americans funnel over $50 million dollars a year into high profile environmental groups in order to destabilize our oil industry. The David Suzuki Foundation picked up a mere $10 million from these sources.
My latest information is that Americans are on track to provide over half a billion dollars to ensure our oil sands and other economic enterprises are thwarted by bad press and a bad image. Kill off the oil sands and stop a west coast pipeline or indeed, ban oil tankers. These folks don’t appear to worry if we all get sent to the poorhouse just as long as they can stall our prosperity.
We might not be able to stop the flow of money into Canadian lobby groups, but we can start to realize people with their own agenda are manipulating us. That agenda doesn’t provide jobs and it doesn’t pay our taxes.
This same kind of game goes on when it comes to international trade. We need to have our eggs in many baskets when it comes to selling what we produce. But, now that we have a government that is working to expand our trade agreements we see all kinds of efforts to block and stall our success.
We are told we can’t sign an agreement with some countries because of their human rights record. Every effort is made to stonewall these agreements in the House of Commons. The history of our world is that as countries prosper and put their people to work, civil indicators improve. Fair and open trade is a positive step forward for everyone.
To date the momentum of working out trade agreements with more and more countries is on track. More agreements have been negotiated and signed in the last five years than in the twenty years before that. A large agreement with the European Union is well under way and we certainly would be ahead if we could conclude an agreement with India.
What we need to do as Canadians is to insist that our needs as a nation must come before the mostly manipulative jargon we get from these American subsidized Canadian lobby groups. We need to recognize that jobs and food come before utopian dreams.
Not every animal is threatened, not every stream polluted and none of us will be able to pay for environmental work if we can’t earn enough to eat! It’s time we pushed ahead with our eyes wide open.
Working wisely with respect for our planet does not have to mean going hungry.
Mel is a retired Director of Operations for a large Canadian corporation. He is a noted world traveller and has studied geopolitical issues for many years. His most noticeable interest is in the effects of different types of governance and organizational behaviour.