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Canada Pays Price for Environmental Extremists, Anti-Development Agitators and First Nations Obstructionists

June 3rd, 2019 · 14 Comments

The chickens have come home to roost.

Canada has dropped OFF the list of Top 10 competitive countries in attracting investment, development and jobs.

The International Institute for Management Development, based in Lausanne, Switzerland has ranked Canada as 13th in its 2019 ranking of financially attractive countries … slipping from 10th last year … continuing our decline to our WORST ranking since the index began in 1997.

“The ranking takes into account a wide range of ‘hard’ statistics such as unemployment, GDP and government spending on health and education, as well as ‘soft’ data from an Executive Opinion Survey covering topics such as social cohesion, globalization and corruption,” reports the UK’s Daily Mail.

“This information feeds into four categories – economic performance, infrastructure, government efficiency and business efficiency – to give a final score for each country.”

Top 10 in this year’s list: Singapore; Hong Kong; USA; Switzerland; UAE; Netherlands; Ireland; Denmark; Sweden; and, Qatar.

A big factor in Canada’s decline, according to the Huffington Post, started with the 2015 decline in world oil prices.

But it adds: “A lot of long-term problems in Canada’s economy seem to be finally catching up to us, and one major issue that expert after expert cites is Canada’s relative lack of innovation and creativity.

“The country’s business leaders have a reputation for being cautious, and following the crowd rather than taking risks on new ideas. That means Canada has fewer opportunities to create new businesses, and it makes the country uninteresting for foreign investors (except those looking to park cash in our housing market, that is).”

WHY aren’t business innovators and foreign investors as ready and willing to take risks and spend huge bucks in Canada anymore? And putting their money … creating development, jobs, expanding the public revenue base elsewhere?

I put it to you it’s the NEGATIVISM they see and hear towards development so often, so loudly, so stridently in Canada these days … from a minority of Canadians … the anti-development activists, environmental extremists, perpetual anarchists and First Nations obstructionists … but who too many governments pander to at all levels.

Judging from Canada’s decline in the rankings, I’d say increasing numbers of “global corporations” feel too many Canadians see them as enemies … especially when it comes to resource development and mining. (Some, in fact, have already given up and walked away, even after investing/losing hundreds of millions of dollars trying to get projects going in Canada.)

That word gets out.

How many billions in lost investment has Canada lost so far … and will it lose in the future …. because of our slip down the world’s investment competitive rankings?

None of this is to suggest we should not address the problems of the environment, development impact concerns and even land claims/jurisdictions.

However, the goal must be to seek solutions … ways to get to “YES” … not just to blockade, obstruct and prevent … but to get those developments/projects/investments/revenues/jobs.

And get Canada back in the Top Ten on next year’s competitive index … not see us drop further down.

Ironically, it’s often the very people who scare away investment … the anti-development crowd, environmental extremists, anarchists and First Nations obstructionists … who seem to scream loudest, demanding MORE public housing, MORE for welfare, MORE services/facilities on Reserves, MORE for public transit, MORE for health care, MORE for education and even MORE public spending to fund guaranteed incomes.

ANY country slipping to its WORST ranking ever in the competitiveness index will find it increasingly difficult to meet those demands. And Canada is no exception.

Especially, as long as our governments continue to pander and surrender to the loud obstructionist extremist minorities … and ignore the interests of the larger, but quieter, progressive majority.

Harv Oberfeld

(Reminder: You can get First Alerts of all new postings on this Blog by following @harveyoberfeld on Twitter. No spam … just First Alerts of any new postings.)

Tags: British Columbia · International · National

14 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Gene The Bean // Jun 3, 2019 at 11:38 am

    Harvey, being ranked 13th out of 195 countries in the world by the Swiss equivalent of the Fraser Institute is not a bad thing.
    The International Institute for Management Development is just another business centric educational institute. I would say they have the same cache as Greenpeace or the SPCA – they are in it for what they believe in and only what they believe in.

    I believe Canada is open for business as long as it makes sense for everyone. For far too long Canada has been raped and pillaged by multi-nationals that leave nothing but problems behind. Short term investments, short term jobs with long term problems and its just not worth it.

    There are hundreds of abandoned drilling, extraction and fracking sites in Alberta-Bama alone. It will cost BILLIONS of taxpayer money to clean up what multi-nationals have just walked away from. They made their profits, provided a few jobs and now say screw everyone else ….. doesn’t work for me. Decades of corporate welfare and “business friendly” rules and regs just cater to the corporatist elite who don’t care about workers, communities or the environment.

    If corporations cant get their act together and be responsible for more than shareholder profit and CEO bonuses then they can go pound sand. For far too long every thing has been in the corporations favour. That needs to change.

    Again, the Scandinavian countries have already laid down the blueprints. If you want to invest here we are essentially partners. You make a decent profit while providing long term jobs, environmental stewardship and community investment – long term. You pay royalties and taxes. Period. There is little or no unrest for projects there as the populace know the government has their back. A win win …..imagine that.

    The ‘progressive majority’ you speak of must be getting tired of getting the short end of the stick.

    A Con will always just sell everything out to make the fastest buck. That’s why I hope, somehow, the Liberals can pull one out of the hat and win the next election.

    Wonder how those ‘protest voters’ are feeling in Ontario right now? The older I get the more I lose faith in people to do the right thing for everyone and not just themselves.

    (Response: Unless you have another list … I see only 63 nations were ranked … the others didn’t even make the list. As for allowing development/resource extraction etc ” as long as it makes sense for everyone” … an IMPOSSIBLE restriction to place on any project … especially when we keep it real and admit there are some very loud activist/environmental extremist/anarchist types who oppose ANYTHING proposed by any large companies, especially those that want to extract resources. No wonder Canada has dropped in ranking! h.o)

  • 2 e.a.f. // Jun 3, 2019 at 11:46 am

    Saw the headline, read the article and went back to read the headline. Reminded me of a line,

    “one person’s terrorists is another person’s freedom fighter” or words to that effect.

    we do need to achieve a “balance” but that is going to be difficult. Its the definition of what is obstructionist, balanced, etc.

    If we look at oil wells, they’re great, until the day the oil companies walk away and Alberta has all those abandoned oil wells which will cost a few billion tax dollars to clean up.

    Mining is great, but the subsidies some of them receive, not so much–hello B.C. Look no further than the mine owned by a B.C. Lieberal contributor. didn’t have to pay his electricity bill, because he couldn’t afford it, just the interest. we didnt’ get that. we get cut off. Mount Polley–dam failed, land ruined.

    the Indigenous people who have lived in Ontario for over 30 years with mercury poisoning, can’t imagine why they don’t want mines. Still nothing has been done to address their health care needs. As I recall the Canadian government did nothing to identify what their health issues were. That was left up to some Japanese scientists who heard about it and determined it was mercury poisoning.

    Now the e.g.s I give may be judged as extreme, but these aren’t the only ones in our country. Corporations come in destroy our land and water, exploit our resources, pay little to nothing in taxes and then move on. We pay for the health care costs, WCB, environmental clean up. Younger people have had enough.

    Now as to Indigenous people. On the day the M&MIWI comes out, the title of “obstructionist” isn’t a good term. I know that wasn’t intentional nor do I consider you racist.

    Its not that First Nations are “obstructionist” in my opinion. they’re just holding the Canadian government and the corporations’ feet to the fire. Treaty’s were signed with little thought to the future or that these First Nations were in fact First “Nations”. It may be the “white” people outsmarted themselves. There are approx. 634 ?First Nations in Canada and 198 of them are in B.C. They aren’t “obstructionist”. they’re all involved in nation to nation discussions and when you have 634 of them, its a lot of discussions. “white people” tend to forget First Nations/Indigenous people do not speak with one voice. sort of like the E.U. only more players. there are 50 distinct Indigenous languages, 30 of them in B.C. and those 30 languages have 60 dialects. Almost half of today’s Indigenous people are under the age of 30. Many are trying to figure out who to address the needs of people and that may differ from First Nation to First nation. We, of European descent created this problem. Now we get to live with it.
    time for another coffee. good topic.

    (Response: Your line “the Indigenous people who have lived in Ontario for over 30 years with mercury poisoning, can’t imagine why they don’t want mines” exemplifies exactly what one of the major problems we have and why so many First Nations live in extreme poverty. If there is a mine ..any mine, anywhere, spewing mercury, YES ..STOP IT. But don’t then conclude NO mines should be allowed! That’s how you consign people … entire communities… to eternal poverty. If there are resources to be had, then find a way to do it cleanly, safely and in a way that shares the jobs and the bounty with the locals … don’t just say NO … and have everyone sit on their bums another generation, waiting for Microsoft or Amazon to open a nice, clean plant in their remote area … or for more welfare cheques from Ottawa to arrive. h.o)

  • 3 max avelli // Jun 3, 2019 at 3:16 pm

    Hey Harvey,

    It’s not all negative.

    We have the LNG Canada project on the go in Kitimat — at $40 billion, it is the largest private investment in Canadian history.

    Pulled off by an NDP government no less.

    As for the countries at the top of the list, with a couple of exceptions (and the USA is not one of them) I would not never, ever, even want to think about living there. Have you seen the price of a beer in Sweden? 🙂

    (Response: It certainly is not all negative: coming 13th on a list of 63 rated countries is still not horrible … but when billions of dollars in potential investments, revenues, jobs could be involved, we should aspire to climb higher, not drop lower. h.o)

  • 4 D. M. Johnston // Jun 3, 2019 at 6:20 pm

    Open for business may have a negative connotation itself.

    Certainly BC’s casinos were open for business, taking in billions upon billions of dollars illegal money to be nicely laundered.

    Open for business also might mean that SNC Bombardier is also open for business, just depends who they……well you know.

    Canada has lost the race for innovation, because both our industrialists and politicians live in the past.

    The real problem is that our politicians pander to get votes and lack nay vision of the future, only the next election.

    Canada is a country consumed by the past and we remain blind to the future.

    (Response: I have no doubt that the vast majority of us do want to see improved assistance/programs for those who need it … everywhere in the province and indeed throughout the country. That will take a lot more money … and it simply can’t be generated by continually raising taxes on those already working … or driving. Investment and development … and harvesting of our resources … hold the key, as long as it done in an environmentally sound and sustainable way, and the results/revenues are fairly shared. That will NEVER happen … until our governments are brave enough to resist the loud naysayers to everything … and we encourage those willing to meet decent standards … instead of pandering to those hurting our growth. h.o.)

  • 5 e.a.f. // Jun 3, 2019 at 6:51 pm

    Harvey a lot of people aren’t against mines if there were adequate controls over them, but there aren’t. As to the First Nations, why should they trust us. the First Nation with the mercury, they’re still fighting for adequate health care for their health problem. yes, in 2019. I’m sure if First Nations weren’t going to get the short end of the stick they’d be in favour of mines, but for too long people have seen the jobs go to southerners, well below 60. Now it the line we get is, Indigenous people don’t have the training> Well train them on site! if we are to be successful as a resource nation, we need to have new business models and practises. Until then leave the stuff in the ground. Its not like we get that much out of some of those deals, just some short term jobs and the mess to clean up.

    We dropped 3 points so I’m not worried. What would be interesting to know is what caused the “fall” of 3 points. this organization most likely doesn’t advocate on behalf of the environment, fair taxes for all, no corporate welfare, land claims, etc.

  • 6 Art Smith // Jun 4, 2019 at 1:21 pm

    Hi Harvey, we just returned from a short vacation in the south Okanagan, stayed in a FN campsite and golfed at a FN golf course and ate at their restaurant. They also have a winery and probably many other businesses. They seem to be doing very well thanks to the efforts of Clarence Louie whose story is available on Google for those who are interested. Much the same as us, it is not just money that is needed to prosper, it is leadership and a willingness to work together for everybody’s benefit.

    We seem to lack leaders who have a vision for the whole country. Most of our politicians only seem to worry about the next election, so we are ending up with a very fragile country, which could easily be split apart if we don’t get our act together.

    If we don’t start taking the paid agitators seriously, we will continue to see them sew the seeds of negativity for any development. Entities like Tides and Dogwood Initiative and Great Bear Rainforest are all funded mostly by American foundations whose only interest is in protecting American interests, as Vivian Krause has diligently researched.

    GTB #1
    Ask those “protest voters” in Alberta how they feel after 4 years of NDP and the loss of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

    (Response: There are MANY First Nations communities that do very well …. have well-developed economies and built projects that have provided benefits well beyond their own reserve lands ; there are MANY First Nations leaders and band members who have contributed substantially to not only their communities but to many professions and our society in general; there are MANY First Nations heroes who have served Canada valiantly in times of war. Just like other participants in our society. There are MANY First Nations activists who realize the KEY to raising their people out of poverty … especially in more remote areas … is resource development and sharing in the results that can bring. THEY are the ones governments should listen to and encourage … not those negative loudmouths who oppose, blockade and threaten just about anything that will lead their people to jobs, revenues, royalties, better living conditions and dignity. h.o)

  • 7 Gene The Bean // Jun 4, 2019 at 4:11 pm

    Art #6 – I too admire Mr Louie – he’d make a great PM, don’t you think? Bring us back to our roots, as they say. He seems to know how to get things done, I’m sure the current crop of Cons would embrace a no nonsense, get-er-done kind of guy like him …… (cough cough).

    Projects on FN land like you mention embrace how all projects should be done. Good, well paying jobs, benefits for the community, environmental protections and the project owners are no doubt making money. Pretty simple, wonder why non-Native Canadians cant seem to do that on a more regular basis?

    For clarity, there were no ‘protest voters’ in Alberta-Bama. And to think the NDP is responsible for job losses is laughable at best. The Cons were too busy power-grabbing and stabbing each other in the back that they gave four years of governance and the election away by purposefully splitting the vote. They eventually ate their own young and have now returned to power – no surprise. John and Jane Sixpack from Mulletville are happy again, being led by people that don’t give a crap about them. Go figure.

    Harvey, in my initial comment I quoted all 195 countries on the planet, not just the ones used in the “rankings” as you clarified above.

    Also I forgot to agree with what you said Harvey about “you have to find a way to get to yes”. Having ‘been in the room’ on quite a few big project reviews looking back they were more like hostage negotiations. Having a gun held to everyone’s head under the constant threat of “if you don’t give us what we want, we will take our money and go to ________ ” is not a win-win. I was appalled at how some of these big-wig jerks treated other businesses and multiple layers of government and the NGO’s. Obviously has tainted my feelings towards them and how they do business. Obviously….

  • 8 DonGar // Jun 4, 2019 at 7:10 pm

    Thank you for your comment.(below)

    There are so many first nations people who want to make a real difference for their people not more disruption (special interest $) and handouts (gov) for “tribal “rulers” with no accountability now that Justin rolled back the audits and public disclosure of band finances. Wonder why the progessives were so in favor of that move to supress the people from knowing where their band leaders were getting and spending money and from who and why.

    There are MANY First Nations activists who realize the KEY to raising their people out of poverty … especially in more remote areas … is resource development and sharing in the results that can bring. THEY are the ones governments should listen to and encourage … not those negative loudmouths who oppose, blockade and threaten just about anything that will lead their people to jobs, revenues, royalties, better living conditions and dignity.

    (Response: The problem is we have VERY WEAK “leaders” today … in government, in community organizations, in universities, in business … who are so intimidated by the loud shrieking/demands of extremists … they are afraid to “keep it real” … ie stand up and speak up and take a stand. Much easier to go along … and try to mollify the unelected dictators who are now wielding more power than their numbers even come close to justifying. And the rest of us are now paying the price… with less investment, less growth, diminishing opportunities and less money that we COULD have to improve conditions for those who could really use help. h.o)

  • 9 D. M. Johnston // Jun 4, 2019 at 9:17 pm

    Quote:”The problem is we have VERY WEAK “leaders” today … in government, in community organizations, in universities, in business … who are so intimidated by the loud shrieking/demands of extremists … they are afraid to “keep it real” … ie stand up and speak up and take a stand. ”

    This is exactly Canada’s; BC’s and City governments problem, weak leaders.

    In fact, it is the unelected bureaucrats who wield the real power and they wield power because politicians are deathly afraid of them.

    It is the bureaucrats who advise governments and bureaucrats are slowly turning this country from a democracy to an autocracy. Voters have lost the power to keep bureaucrats in check and in turn, politicians have run amuck doing as they please.

    Example TransLink. The 2015 plebiscite showed a 62% disapproval of TransLink and its spending, but nothing changed, they just hired more spin doctors to massage the truth and are going hell bent squander over $5 billion on two transit projects that will not take a car off the road; increase taxes; and cannibalize the rest of the transit system.

    It’s all coming to a bad end, I’m afraid.

    (Response: Bureaucrats implement policies as directed by elected officials. You know …”just following orders”. It’s the politicians (and other “leaders”) who too often pander to loud agitators and not the majority: that’s why so often in recent decades, voters have voted OUT governments, not so much voted IN governments … only to be disappointed: the “new” leaders still cater to the loudest activists/pressure groups … just a different set of them … rather than implement policies and cater to the interests/desires of the larger, but much quieter, majority. And thus disappoint ..and set themselves up for defeat … in the continuing cycle we now see so often…. unless the opponent’s standard bearer looks even worse! h.o)

  • 10 Chuckstraight // Jun 5, 2019 at 1:25 pm

    The planet is in a state of emergency .
    Stock markets will not matter.

  • 11 e.a.f. // Jun 6, 2019 at 3:57 pm

    D.M. Johnston, yes, the politicians come and go, the bureaucrats are there for ever.

    I recognized that in 1972, while working for the federal government. Politicians in this country could go on vacation for a year or so and the country would still run. that is why you need a bureaucracy. Most politicians can’t find the lights for the first two years.

    Part of the problem the U.S.A. is currently having is the first 3 layers of the bureaucracy is missing. No one has been appointed and those who have been appointed were appointed based on their political connections, not on how well they do their job. Its also the problem in many countries which have not developed to their full potential.

    its a double edged sword. what you need is politicians who can take the advise of the “professionals” and then make a decision which is best for the country, but most politicians can’t. they’re either too greedy or too beholden to their “financial supporters”.

  • 12 Gene The Bean // Jun 7, 2019 at 12:33 pm

    Unemployment rate drops (again) and we added over 100,000 jobs in April, a monthly gain not seen since 1976.

    In fairness, some seasonality there, but lots of people working. I don’t think these are all McJobs either. Lots of projects still underway and starting up.

    Not hearing much about such good news.

    Hmmm….. wonder which side the multi-national conglomerates that own the media is on ….

  • 13 Richard Skelly // Jun 8, 2019 at 3:26 pm

    I doubt Statistics Canada digs deep to answer this questions:

    • How many creative and productive Northern visionaries invest their money in job-creating ventures south of the border?

    • How many existing Canadian companies don’t expand operations here but, instead, open up new facilities in the U.S.?

  • 14 Rod Dale-Johnson // Jun 20, 2019 at 9:04 am

    Excellent article and excellent responses/rebuttals to the article. It is encouraging to see measured responses (by and large) both to the article and to others’ responses to the article. I do not agree with everything but I do appreciate the varied opinions and responses. Not too many extremists here.

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