Like it or not, Canada’s edge is resources – by Gordon Gibson (Globe and Mail – February 1, 2016)

When the going gets tough, the tough get going. With all of the doom and gloom it is time for some big ideas in this country. But do we still have purpose and determination? Every big idea in the past decade has been nibbled to death by ducks. Nothing is firing on all cylinders except selling our real estate to foreigners.

We remain a resource-based country. Yes, I know – we have to convert that into a sustainable economy of ideas. But we haven’t done that. You remember the Alberta bumper sticker after the last crash? “Please God, let there be another oil boom. We promise not to piss it all away next time.” Well, She did, and they did.

Collectively we’ve bought comforts instead of investments in the future. We maybe have another shot at doing it right. Or, we can continue to dwindle away as a much nicer and poorer United States.

Here is the issue. There are three classic economic factors of production for everything from widgets to symphonies. These are land, labour, and capital. In our golden age of development some 50 years ago, we had a world edge in all three factors.

The world changed. It is awash in capital. Our share of it is now small. Skilled labour is everywhere, often much cheaper. Our only remaining edge is land, aka resources.

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