Losing G7 Status
MARTIN CHARLTON COMMUNICATIONS
If investor confidence is not totally dead in this country, it is at the
very least in the critical care unit with a questionable prognosis.
With TECK giving up on its Frontier project and more recently
Warren Buffett throwing in the towel on a Quebec liquefied natural gas
project, coupled with the disruptions generated by blockades and a general
thesis apparent on more than a few protesters’ signs to “Shut Canada
Down,” the evidence condemning investment in this country is no longer
an opinion. It has moved to the realm of fact. The common theme behind
all of this is also clear … it’s about ideology, not economics or governance.
The lightning rod for the highly charged feelings on all sides of this is the
prime minister, who is getting a post-grad education in the differences between
leadership and being a boss through this process. He is the target of
supporters, opponents and the disappointed who expected more.
One constituency is comprised of those who figure a leader is one who
can simply issue decrees or orders. Given this group’s disdain for major
projects, they envision that power is something of a magic wand that can
cancel the oil sands or a pipeline. However, that thinking completely ignores
the responsibility of those in positions of authority to ensure the
financial preservation of the organizations they are responsible for managing.
It’s that whole fiduciary responsibility thing.
On the other side are those looking to invest and generate a return.
Falling out of that premise are wealth, employment and taxation.
That is why this topic is so polarizing. There is a hope that the prime
minister will follow through on his promises to get rid of the fossil fuel industry
in saving the planet on one side and a fear that he will kill the national
economy, if not the entire country, while doing nothing for the planet.
The casualty in all of this is investment. The latest numbers show
business investment is falling as capital is being redirected to friendlier
jurisdictions. While those on the “opponent” of development side either
don’t understand the value of investment or simply don’t care are skeptical
that capital will indeed move even though they see it as a badge of honour
if the money is moved, in fact.
As investment moves to other friendlier jurisdictions jobs, wealth, tax
revenue and confidence will follow the money – the employment will be
held by people in those other jurisdictions diminishing Canada – so our
economy will decline.
Fewer workers hoping to draw on increasingly strained public services
is a ticket to dissatisfaction and unrest. This declining economy will be expensive
for our prime minister, too. Not only will he preside over Canada’s
internal unity being tested, he will likely be dropped from the G7 meetings
because we don’t qualify any longer and that will subsequently undermine
his bid for a UN Security Council seat as we lose global clout.
It took the country 150 years to achieve the international status we enjoy
today and ideology trumping a mature leadership approach is threatening
to set us back 100 years.
Ironically, the prime minister is more likely to undermine Canada’s
standing in the world rather than elevate us to global leader in fighting climate
THE BOTTOM LINE
It took the
years to achieve
set us back
48 | Quarter 2 2020 | saskheavy.ca