Canada is a country that was built, in large part, thanks to primary industries. The fishing, forestry and agriculture sectors all played a pivotal part in creating the country as it stands today. These sectors have created jobs and resources that have resulted in a national wealth that puts the country in the worlds top-10 global economies by GDP.
As new technologies & information come to the forefront, narratives change. Our collective society is now doing plenty of soul-searching around the question of what our future sources of development should be.
The Future of Canadian Resources
What does the future hold? With the impending Canadian election later this fall, Canada’s resources sector will be hotly debated in the coming months.
Gauging Canada’s Perspectives
Rex Murphy has seen (and heard) it all when it comes to policy & ideas aimed at developing industries. He was the host of CBC Radio One’s Nationwide call-in show Cross Country Checkup for 21 years and offered regular Canadian commentary segments throughout his stint on CBC’s The National. He currently writes for The National Post. From the collapse of Newfoundland’s fishing industry by the cod moratorium of 1992, to the boom of Alberta’s oil sands in the early 2000s, and the pipeline debates of recent years, Rex has seen the high’s and lows of Canadian industry. Unlike most commentators, he’s actually interacted with people from coast-to-coast to get a balanced perspective on the topic:
21st Century Needs
Rex reminds us that the two key needs for our 21st-century society are energy & minerals. These comprise all we have in our computer-driven society, from the internet to our physical devices & all things in-between. Take for example our primary means of communication: our smartphones. The components within them are heavily comprised of minerals & would be rendered useless without adequate sources of energy.
In the face of this reality, Rex Murphy believes we – as a nation – are missing an opportunity. Our country was granted the richest amount of national resources proportionally to anyone on the planet.
Impediments to Development
Rather than capitalizing on this opportunity, Rex argues that we are building impediments. Recent government policies are making the essential industries prove themselves. Yet, we invest heavily in – and place a disproportionate amount of efforts into – other sectors.
Those in power, according to Rex, are heavily insulated from the facts on how we got to this prosperous state. What’s more the narrative around climate change often overlooks the quality of life in terms of economic indicators – most notably, jobs. We need to be reminded of the essential elements of what made us prosperous in the first place. The source of political and social wealth begins in the primary resource sector.
The generations before us had a mindset of building towards something. Through industries such as mining, forestry, fishing, Rex argues they had to do the heavy lifting to get Canada to the lofty international position it now holds. Now we see there’s a movement of playing down, pushing aside, complicating and overregulating the very industries that brought us here in the first place.
“It is only countries so prosperous as our own that can afford to forget the original sources of that prosperity. It is only in a country as properous as our own that we get to the point where we denegrate & deregate the essential industries that brought us precisely to where we are.“
Rex advocates for governments of all levels to not only bring a more balanced perspective to their policies but also to be accountable for their decisions. He uses the example of the Ontario power plant scandal, where a costly ($940 million) decision was made not for the good of constituents, but rather for the good of an election campaign. The worst part was the resulting spike in the cost of energy for Ontarians, hitting lower income individuals the hardest.
Instead of building impediments, Rex’s message to audiences is that we need to concentrate on what we have. Making jobs out of & protecting those industries.
In his keynote ‘Canadian Resources’ Rex shares some of his experience seeing mining in Canada to show the benefits of moving towards modern technology.
“Rex was tremendous. An absolute highlight of the show and a gentleman. It was our pleasure and honour to have him. He was really exceptional.”
-Board Member, Weyburn Oil Show Board
He’s one of the most requested speakers for audiences in the resource sector. Rex inspires these audiences, by reminding them how they are good people, doing good work, and providing good jobs to many Canadians.