Letter: Just asking questions about Canada's future

The editor:

Canadians are on record as being an unselfish collection of residents inhabiting one of the globe’s premier democracies.

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But selfish is different from self-sufficiency.

With all the global attention focused on COVID-19, the virus that will go down in infamy, we, as self-respecting Canadians, have to ask ourselves a few questions regarding self-sufficiency.

In the new world order, we have to be concerned about how our PM, Sunny Ways – the Sequel, reacts to the authoritarian leader just to the south of us, President Donnie Deflector. The problems don’t end at Donnie; they include deals that are being made with other foreign dictators and maladjusted rulers of regimes also in the midst of the virus battle.

So how self-sufficient are we now? How self-sufficient will we be? You can look at it from a Saskatchewan or overall Canadian perspective. Doesn’t matter.

What are our basic requirements and do we have the ability to supply and apply them ourselves without having to do hardcore deals with other governments and people who we might rather not have to do business with on a regular basis?

There may be long-range problems on the horizon, such as electricity. Yes, I said electricity. Can we and do we produce our own, in our backyard?

So far, it seems we do. But we are producing it using traditional fuels and methods. We use our water for hydro electricity, coal, gas and some nuclear, most of it Saskatchewan or Canadian made. Our generators are made in Canada, or can be made in Canada. That’s a fact.

How about the future?

Are the wind generators and solar panels being manufactured in Canada? Are all the materials used in their construction coming from Canada? I’m guessing no. Does this mean we are relaxing our self-sufficiency scales? Are we confident that someone else can and will build and run our electrical grids? 

How about oil and gas, two other necessities, at least for the next few decades? We have them in ample supply, but have great difficulty in sharing them efficiently.  Two-thirds of Canada’s population currently relies on foreign sources to fill those energy needs. In other words, it’s something we could do, but we refuse to do it thanks to internal politics.

How about water, one of life’s necessities?

We still have plenty, but there have been rumblings lately that folks such as Donnie Deflector want to purchase a lot of Canada’s clean water. When will the ask become a demand? The minute we start selling and/or sending this vital resource to a previously unnatural and foreign location, we open a big gate of hurt. Do you see a future world in which British Columbia water is shipped or pipelined south to feed the parched deserts of California? Temporary solutions have a habit of becoming permanent.

Let’s wander over to the vehicle dealerships.

Could Canada ever manufacture cars, pick-ups and semi-trucks using only Canadian materials and expertise? Or, do we remain beholden to the United States on that file too?

Computers?

Can we build them using our own resources and materials, or has China already captured that entire cycle of materials and manufacturing capabilities? Of course I include cell phones in that question.

Food processing?

There is still hope, but generally speaking, even though we are a huge agrarian society, we appear to be anxious to pass the processing end of the game on to others, not in Canada, who insist they can do it more cheaply and efficiently. How good are they? How safe?  

How about pharmaceuticals?

I understand 90 per cent of our current general pharmaceutical materials are from China. I expect we do some processing and checking here … but really? Are the pharmaceutical companies that insular and dominant?

It appears that all we can really hope for in the current world order is that a certain degree of Canadian safety standards will prevail to protect us, at least on general terms.

Currency is another power point we have to consider.

The American dollar is used as a global benchmark currency. This allows the U.S. to rack up over $24 trillion in debt with no one offering a whimper of protest or a call on the loans.

The Canadian dollar, on the other hand, is, again, the country cousin to the American dollar and it slides up and down rapidly. An additional $200 billion debt load sends our Parliamentary gurus into a “circle the wagons” mode as we await repercussions.

I won’t even enter into the military preparedness file, it’s self-evident that it’s not self sufficient, not by a long shot. 

So, how about our post COVID-19 world?

Following the easing of most of the current rules surrounding COVID-19, I’m wondering what the new world order will offer as the fresh global realities surface.

What will be the new standards for health and happiness? What will our expectations be? What should they be? Will we have less or more to say on the world stage? What will Canada’s influence, status and self-sufficiency ratios be in the future global arrangement? 

Just asking. 

 

Norm Park

Estevan

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