Well, my worldview, anyway……Canada is still a backwater, almost an anachronism amongst 1st world countries. We are last amongst the first. Even Hong Kong is way, way ahead of us. (Yes, we are now back in our old stomping grounds – Hong Kong)
“In what categories are you talking?”
Good question. Answer: in all the categories they measure, we are last. In all categories that I measure, we are first.
This is what I mean: Canadians pay extra for second rate product and services and we know it. From gasoline to housing to cell service to taxes, we pay more and we get less. See airfares, produce, etc. Economically, we are the ‘dupes’ of the first world.
Asia is cheaper and more modern. Way, way more efficient. Furthermore, the HK/Chinese have modernized systems to the extent that it feels like we are in the Stone Age using pigeons for messaging and horses and buggies in which to get around. The MTR (HK’s subway) moved more people last night than all of Canada did yesterday (not a factual statement but I’d guess well over 5M moved a good distance within a few hundred square miles last night). An amazing feat. They move like ants into speeding trains that are clean and fast and move a thousand people from tracks to street level in seconds.
I keep up with the news back home and read about multiple car-pileups closing highways that have fewer lanes than do the the third world freeways of Thailand! Fact: the Trans Canada highway is still just two lanes in many places!
We can’t seem to do what they do. Our trains fall off the tracks or get stuck in non-existent traffic. We have two lane highways everywhere. We have traffic lights on freeways! We run empty buses as an attempt at public transit. Seriously? Give the contract to move people around the lower mainland to the HK city engineers and the traffic congestion that is from the North Shore would be eliminated within the first year and the entire lower mainland to Victoria better connected within 7. No question.
Don’t get me wrong. I love my BC. I love it partly BECAUSE we don’t have all that. “Why?” Because having all that means having all those people. I’d rather hunt Wooly Mammoths for dinner than suffer this kind of congestion every day. It’s mind numbing.
But make no mistake – on the leading edge of the modern world, Canada is just not cutting it. But Hong Kong is. And, get this: the HK government is awash in excess cash. They are NOT tightening belts, they are building, constructing and shipping and manufacturing AND providing services. These guys are busy.
What do we do? We ship tar and raw logs to China. We sell fish and minerals to China. We sell our land to China. We sell our viable companies to China. We even sell citizenship to China. We are clearly NOT doing the right thing. They may NOT be doing it either (see: the environment) but they are doing a helluva lot more than we are. We are dupes led by a dope. It is embarrassing.
Worse than embarrassing? They will soon buy BC.
I am usually proud to say “I am a Canadian” but lately it feels a bit more like saying, “I am part of the nation whose government is not as smart as yours.” And I feel as if that sentiment would manifest in a number of places like Japan, Singapore and maybe even South Korea. We seem to be blessed with the resources but are somehow learning challenged. We can’t run with even the little dogs. It’s embarrassing.
If the path of modernity is flawed and corrupt and self destructive (like some of us suspect) being old fashioned may save us. But, if man marches inexorably on technologically and productively (as are the modern economies invested) then we will simply fall into ‘colony’ status.
I think we are already.
I know u arrival Hong Kong yesterday…. Do you have free time today?
Yes! Dinner with you. Email Sally.
What can be done for people who drive down hill at 120 kilometres per hour on black ice, in whiteout conditions trying to pass a maintenance truck that is plowing, sanding and salting. The recent crash of 21 vehicles on an alpine road in obscenely horrific driving conditions offers a clue as to why your province is backward.
LikeLiked by 1 person
OK. Maybe we are just stupider. Occam’s Razor. But I think it is more than that. I really think we ‘as a people, a society and a government’ do not think long term. We do NOT invest in our future so much as our income stream. I think we are truly provincial in our approach to things – in every sense of the word.
Our view of life is coloured by our way of life. If you live in the bush, you become bushed. You have to step out now and then to get some perspective. I suggest a visit to Hong Kong for anyone who wants to see the truly MODERN world.
Too true. We want first world services but we do not want to pay for it. The howling for austerity is on the rise proposing the cutting of social services and entitlements to balance a budget. It is deeply confounding and perplexing. A local radio station daily runs prom that says, “We are taxed to death.”
LikeLiked by 1 person
Those people do not mean they are taxed to death. They mean that they do not perceive any value to the taxes they have paid. We all feel as if our taxes are wasted or do not achieve the progress we want. No one likes to pay taxes so Justin can go to India. Or Kinder Morgan can get subsidized. That’s just stupid. But we would all pay more taxes if there were no hospital waits or we had quick, honest, common-sense justice. Or, better yet, corporations paid their own way in every way. Especially environmentally.
The NO MORE TAXES chant is really just a simple complaint about value perceived for money paid.
Sounds like Oz. Bloody big country here. That does change the economics.
True. Big country. NOT many people. But, really? Two lanes for the Trans Canada? Trains that don’t carry people? Trials that take ten years? Products built in Canada costing more than they do in the US (and they import them from Canada!). I honestly believe that more infrastructure spending goes a long, long way. Same for better education. I am NOT convinced that heavy regulation and process works to do anything. Stupid people screw up anyway. Rules ad nauseum just make for more credentials needed and job protection. So, we should use more first aid attendants, nurse practitioners, para legals, small claims type courts and all that.We have ‘professionalized’ ourselves to the extent that none can afford the professionals.
LikeLiked by 2 people
The 2018 federal budget for Canada is forecast to be $311 billion. What cuts would austerity make?
I absolutely agree, Dave. You need a degree to join a rock band these days.
LikeLiked by 1 person
The budget is essentially a status quo budget. They all are. Lobbyist generated.
We need to tax exempt alternative energy, tax big oil, stop subsidizing it. We need to spend more on capital intensive health programs (like MRIs). To stimulate the economy you do not need subsidies, you need to encourage the small guy, the start-ups. Give a leg up to the dreamers. We need to build our own BIG infrastructure NOT beg P3 and BIG Business to do it and give them grants just to get started. If you are giving grants, give ’em to small guys. Education has to get both feet out of the industrial age. We need innovative learning programs and a lot fewer classrooms but a lot more courses. We need to get leaner but bigger.
Someone has to revisit DFO with an eye towards PROTECTING the resource and NOT exploiting it. We need to……..the list just goes on…
You offer a nuanced thought on taxation but for many people, “ Taxed to death” is not a slogan but is believed literally by many. It’s true that hospital care Is prioritized in the emergency room, with the most gravely ill fast tracked. Some use the emergency service as if it were a drop in care clinic. ‘My child had a cold.’ Many provinces have eliminated fees for the medical services plan. A free national pharamacare programme is proposed for 2019. For reasons of austerity Court houses have been closed and positions in the courts have gone unfilled. Does austerity promote justice? In Canada a stay in the hospital costs nothing but some think that is not value for taxes paid. 95 countries have a national pharmacy programme, but listen. You will hear the voices, “we can not afford it, it will not be good value for the tax payers.”
Dave you are correct that further innovation is need. Where you are living you have often talked about the philosophy of OTG. A placed based in part on a collaboration, sharing, mutually supportive community with a medium of exchanged mostly not based on money. In the big smoke it seems it is more like ‘life boat.’ Resources are limited and the lesser thans got to sink or swim on their own.
Its ironic and counter-intuitive for a call for innovation to be coming from a guy who wields a chainsaw and gets water from the stream. I know that. But I am inclined to think we are, as a world, heading towards Hell in a handbasket rather than modern technological heaven with healthy air and thriving species. So, I am betting on the basics. But that doesn’t mean the ‘modernists’ or techies are wrong. Maybe, just maybe it will be a brave new world and all will be well living with screens stuck to your face and chips embedded in your fingers. I don’t know. And judgment is silly. It will be one way or the other. I happen to enjoy my life more than the screen-watchers seem to enjoy theirs but that’s subjective. Maybe the screen-watchers in their multitudes riding the subways to and from work are happy in a way I do not understand.