We Built This Place

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We built this place

What is happening to Canada? 

We built this place.  First, French, and later English nations working together, often in tension and sometimes in conflict, to move furs across a wild land to build a home and native land.  After 1776, we stood on guard against American imperialism.   We hued wood and drew water until we were the worlds best at it.  We built a modern nation with glowing hearts that everyone around the world looks to as a model. 

My great, great grandparents came to Alberta to hack a life out of the wilderness.   I often say that Alberta is a state of mind.  You can be here for generations and still not get it.  Or you can be here for six months and completely embrace it.   What is happening to our state of mind in Canada?

Can you imagine investing years and years and billions of dollars trying to do something that simply makes sense; something that, ironically in this case, will reduce global emissions.  Only to have it taken away hypocritical cut by hypocritical cut.

This is what we just did to the Malaysians.  These are people who, through their national oil company, Petronas, believed the rhetoric.  They believed Canada really was the best in the world.  A place like no other that could be trusted to produce their natural gas.  Natural gas produced to the strictest standards in the world that would create a more prosperous and cleaner future for them and us.  Their LNG project was a bright example of why the world needs more Canada.

However, after the way we treated them, I wouldn’t recommend wearing a Canadian flag on your backpack travelling around Malaysia.  Best to stick to Holland where they still remember the Canadians of seventy-five years ago, the ones who stormed Normandy.

I have done business all over the world.  Like the Malaysians, I’ve seen assets lost through the pecuniary application of rules with no regard whatsoever for their original purpose.  The rule of law originally had the laudable goal of harnessing people’s natural desire to pursue their own happiness in order to create peace, order and prosperity for all of us.  And yes, that includes a clean environment to enjoy our and our children’s prosperity in.

It was a revelation to me, working in the former Soviet Union, to realize that it was not arbitrary totalitarianism but rather a capricious culture of rules, regulations, and laws that was the problem.  Due to the number and complexity of all the rules and regulations, no one could possibly avoid breaking at least one of them.  It was a tyranny of rules.  It turns out the rule of law is much different as a concept than the proliferation of laws.

So what has happened to Canada?  Malaysians did not lose their investment in kleptocratic Russia or Ukraine, but in democratic Canada.  Sadly, they are not the only victim.  There are many examples across our country.  Those who know me realize that we struggle daily in Quebec to avoid becoming a victim of the same thing.

In Russia and Ukraine one could at least understand the logic.  These were selfish people looking to usurp the good work and investment of others.

In Canada we usurped the good intentions, work, and investment of Petronas, and for what?  Some weak general sense of do-gooding or a feeling that the vacuous Leonardo DiCaprio and the grasping Al Gore might approve of us?  Has our Canadian state of mind really become so shallow?

Personally, I would much rather wear a Canadian flag on my backpack and be liked by the good citizens of Malaysia than prostrate myself before the rich and famous of Beverly Hills.  Canada is rapidly going from international nice guy to international patsy.  Every Canadian ‘celebrity want to be’ political leader will keep selling us out until we stand up and tell them that what they are doing is not Canadian.

It’s time we stood up for the rule of law; and stood up for the country our First, French, and English nations worked so hard to build.  Let’s be the Canadians the Dutch remember us as. 

We won’t get there by ripping off the citizens of Malaysia to keep Greenpeace in their lucrative so-called ‘not for profit’ jobs.

We built this place.  We are the best in the world.  It’s time to start acting like it before people around the world come to realize we only used to be.