When God designed animals, he didn’t necessarily have the needs of butchers in mind. He made pigs with a big slab of belly which is meat and lard interleaved, not much good for meat, and not much good for lard. It was salted and smoked along with other parts, and by a miracle of good marketing, it became a custom that a couple of slices of this stuff, named “bacon” is an essential part of a good breakfast. This throwaway part became the most expensive part of the hog.
Then of course there were ribs – mostly bone, not much meat, another throwaway part which by good marketing became a valuable part.
And hot dogs and bologna – made out of the parts one might not want to imagine, and would certainly throw away if we could recognize them, they have gone up in price until that is where the profit is.
And chicken nuggets – ground up beaks and feet, or whatever, made salable.
And the final triumph, wings. Not that long ago, wings were the part of the chicken thrown away as not worth bothering with, now with the miracle of modern marketing, we are getting to where we might keep the wings and throw away the chicken.
The point is, marketing works. We have a couple of hundred lodges spending their winters marketing our part of the world to sportsmen in Illinois, Iowa, Wisconsin. Whenever I meet somebody from those places, say on a Carribean cruise, or in Mexico, and tell them where I live, they have a pretty good idea what I am talking about. It is ‘o yes, my neighbour goes to Red Lake every year’, or ‘my nephew has a friend who works at Sioux Lookout every summer, you live in such a lovely part of the world’. Think of your experience, and I bet it is similar – there are 30 million Americans who have a pretty good idea of what we are all about. Of course they know squat about Canada in general, might have heard of Montreal, and might have a vague idea of where Toronto is. But they know us here in Sunset Country – marketing works.
And now we come to Toronto – the center of the universe, where decisions affecting our lives are made every day. I have had lots of occasions to meet with Toronto-based people, many government workers, and all are utterly clueless as to who and where we are. Northwestern Ontario is somewhere even further from Toronto than Kirkland Lake, and in that general direction, and life here is pretty much as depicted on ‘North of 60’. Those few who have actually traveled the Trans-Canada will burst into a paean to the vast amount of absolutely nothing but spruce trees, and some will even recall Dryden as the place that smells so bad no sane person would live there.
But we don’t have lodges marketing our area to Toronto. Those who should be, our municipalities and chambers of commerce, are busy un-marketing us – emphasizing the terrible conditions they have to contend with, the terrible climate, yata yata yata, so they can get more and more special government support. Far from seeking equality with other parts of the province, they seek special status as incompetent basket cases.
In spite of special northern this and northern that, the fact is that we would be much better off if we were taken seriously as an equal part of the province and nation. One example – while government policy (high lockage on the Welland canal) was dooming iron mining in the northwest, dooming Ear Falls and Atikokan, and causing more economic devastation per capita in those communities than ten SARS epidemics in Toronto, nothing at all was said in either parliament. However, at the same time there was a lot of talk about how to save a tiny, obsolete oil refinery employing a few hundred in Montreal, and one cabinet minister even resigned over that.
Quit talking about what a terrible place this is, and start marketing it as the best place to live and do business in Canada today, quit fishing for welfare and start acting like we are in business, and in a generation Toronto might think as highly of us as Iowa does. Dryden observer, july 25, 2012