I suppose the fact that the public disagreement between two of Canada’s progressive darlings, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi, was set amidst the glittering elites in Davos — where the rich and powerful congregate to congratulate each other about how much they are doing to make life better for those less rich and less powerful — made it bigger news than it otherwise would have been. But make no mistake: it is one of the most important stories of our time.
Trudeau compared himself favourably with his predecessor, saying that Stephen Harper saw Canada as rich in resources, while he proposed a Canada rich in resourcefulness. Nenshi didn’t care for that, and instead defended the energy industry, which he called “resources plus.”
It is an interesting question about what contributes to the wealth of nations. Yet it’s been some time now — several decades, in fact — since the raw bounty of the land was our principal source of wealth.
There was a time when the harvest depended almost exclusively upon the quality of the soil and the climate. Coal and minerals were dug out of the ground and sold.
But the Green Revolution in agriculture, to say nothing of subsequent developments, took place 40 years ago, when both Trudeau and Nenshi were in short pants. The quality of the land is only one factor now — the resourcefulness of the tillers of the land is paramount. That’s why the Davos set sips wines, not only from France and Italy, but from Niagara to Galilee and, quelle horreur, perhaps one day from England.
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