Thursday, April 27, 2006
Breadbasket of Canada
Today I returned from an overnight visit to Winnipeg, Canada for a dinner event hosted by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, http://www.fcpp.org, which is promoting free market alternatives to government in central Canada. The Frontier Centre's dinner speaker was columnist/author Christopher Hitchens. Not only was the speech very entertaining but it really pushed the envelope regarding society's assumptions about religion, personal liberties, and national security issues.
This event was held in downtown Winnipeg at the Fairmont Hotel which is but a three block walk from the "Goldeneyes" baseball stadium but beyond that the area was extremely quiet I thought. After reading the local newspapers, watching the local news coverage, and talking with my fellow dinner attendees my assessment of Winnipeg is that its economy is shackled by what one Frontier staffer called "loser's limp" -- drawing the analogy to an athlete who limps around the field/court with a minor injury which then provides them an excuse for lackluster performance. Winnipeg itself is really the capital of the breadbasket of Canada since it is farm/agribusiness country versus the Western provinces which are oil/minerals country and the Eastern provinces are manufacturing/financial country.
The taxi ride from my hotel was less than 15 minutes but I could tell that the town had seen better days. This thought was reinforced by the local TV coverage of the "City of Winnipeg's City Summit" which showed several interviews of ordinary citizens who attended the summit. Nearly everyone of them cited the need for the region to become innovative so new jobs would be created. I applaud the public policy work of the Frontier Centre which is working to overcome the "prairie populism" and welfare superstructure of the province which is the "limp" allowing people to wait for change. It is sad to note but many of the region's working age adults might be a lost cause after numerous years of socialist governments so I will encourage my Winnipeg contacts to work with programs such as Junior Achievement, http://www.ja.org, and National Foundation for Teaching Entrepreneurship, http://www.nfte.com , since no child should graduate from high school without having learned how to write a business plan.
Dreams produce jobs not government bureaucrats,