My old friend Willy from High School days gives me his diary to look at, and I like to report some of the stuff he puts in there. Some of you might recall a column a couple of weeks ago reporting his conversations with his buddy Joe about his bright idea Canada should amalgamate with Haiti.
Most of the feedback I get about my writings is positive; I even had some guys say “Haiti, Good idea”. However, I got clobbered at the coffee shop one morning when a couple of good old boys verbally stomped on me for reporting what they think is a misguided notion.
“Gee whiz, guys’, I protested, “It was just some stuff from a couple of old codgers out in Partridge township, it’s not like anybody is going to pay any attention, much less take their ideas seriously.”
“Yeah, well”, they snarled, “keep your smarty-pants ideas to yourself.”
After a bit we settled down to some serious conversation, and I think I understand where they were coming from.
They think our country is bankrupt now, or almost so, and adding a basket case with millions of uneducated poverty-stricken people would be disastrous. They point out that the only growth industry we have is service, and we can’t build prosperity flipping hamburgers for each other, somebody actually has to produce the meat. And afford the hamburgers. They pointed out that we have destroyed our manufacturing base with endless government interference and regulation; we once led the world in forestry and mining and water power equipment, now those industries have disappeared in favour of branch plants of American interests. They added that we have tied up our resources in endless political correctness and ‘environmentalism’ so our resource-based industries are dying, witness Dryden’s mill being forced to reduce itself to producing only raw materials, no finished products.
They point out that our clever leadership thinks expanding our ‘knowledge industry’ will repair our economy and solve our unemployment problem, especially among ‘educated’ youth. Apparently our leadership haven’t noticed that the ‘knowledge industry’ is completely portable, can be done from anywhere in the world, and the government excesses which killed our manufacturing are still here. Microsoft, Google, etc. started with an individual working in their father’s garage. They asked me, has anyone looked seriously at the barriers facing small business here? Who will invest in ‘knowledge industries’ in our under-motivated and over-regulated province, after Nortel and Blackberry went down the tubes? I don’t think they expected me to answer these questions.
The good old boys bottom line was, if we are bankrupt but just haven’t hit the wall yet, what good would it be for a tropical isle to join us? No money to develop their country, and no jobs for their unskilled. They cautioned me, if you have to report Willies Diary, leave out the stupid political stuff.
Wow. Didn’t know there were such deep thinkers actually reading The Contrarian. I don’t know if I agree with them, I kind of like Willies Haiti idea, maybe it would change the direction they say we are going. But I thought I had better report their position if I want to go to that coffee shop again.