DOG IN THE MANGER

THE CONTRARIAN

WILLY BRANT’S DIARY

Joe and I were having a beer after rounding up his calves so the males could be neutered.  I just put a rubber band on my newborns while they are easy to catch, and they don’t seem to have much stress or pain, but Joe follows the more traditional path of waiting until they are half grown, so we can have our own little private rodeo.

Looking at the little creek that runs behind Joe’s barn, I remarked “did you see in the Observer, guy claims that most of the fresh water that goes to the sea unused comes from Canada?  I find that hard to believe”.

Joe thought for a minute, then came up with “Well, the guy is a bit of a windbag all right, but I think he could be right.  We have a lot of water, and we sure have a dog in the manger attitude toward it”.

“What do you mean?” from me.  He says “You know, we have all this vacant land and unused water, we must be nuts to think that the rest of the world, crowded, sick and hungry in their ghettoes, will just let us keep it, vacant, because we think we can save the planet that way.  Even worse, we are doing all we can to squeeze all the rural Canadians into the big cities and leave the country even more empty.  China has already noticed, they just tied up a big chunk of rural Ontario in a huge dairy farm which just exports milk to China, no benefit to Canada at all, in fact we bent all the marketing board rules to let them do it.  I bet we would all be amazed at how much of our land already belongs to foreigners”.

“Sooo, that doesn’t sound like we are a dog in a manger”, I said.  {Note to diary –for those who do not understand this analogy, mangers hold hay, and dogs do not eat hay.  So a dog in a manger, refusing to let the cows eat, is one who selfishly denies something to others, even though he has no use for it himself.}

“OK”, says Joe, “Here is the best example I can think of.  This happened on both coasts, but let’s just talk about the east coast.  There is a good-sized, remote, clean water river, falls off a cliff in Labrador into the Atlantic.  Guy comes up with a plan, we will hang a big funnel up on the cliff so it interferes with the waterfall a bit, so the funnel stays full.  Park a big tanker ship under the funnel so the ship is filled, and haul it off to the Caribbean, where there are islands which import city water from Miami.  Guy says he can afford to pay a pretty good royalty for the water, and still compete with Miami, so can he have permission to do this?  But we tell him no thanks, we don’t need your royalties, Canadians don’t mind paying taxes, and we don’t mind the water being wasted, we have lots more. Of course we dig up oil, a non-renewable resource, and export it, but catching and exporting this constantly renewing resource is for whatever city-logic reason not acceptable. How is that for dog in the manger??”

OK, I guess he has me there.

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