Hey look: Hewers of wood, drawers of power


In Ottawa a few weeks ago, I ran into an old friend who used to work for the Chrétien Liberals. He’s in the private sector now. I was fresh back from China and I said one of the big surprises was the heavy resource orientation of the business delegation accompanying Stephen Harper — Oil, diamonds, gold, pork and lentils, not boutique software firms.

“Yeah,” said my interlocutor. “When I tried to figure out where the money is in Canada, I noticed the same thing. Really fast.” So I got to thinking.

Hence this week’s Maclean’s cover story. Written with Tamsin McMahon, with an assist from Alex Ballingall, it extends themes I’ve been exploring all year, beginning with the article about Ethical Oil’s ties to the government; continuing with the account of Harper’s China trip; continuing when I predicted the faultline for the next election will run through the oil patch.

The new piece attempts to show how changes in global trade patterns, especially the rise of a China that isn’t interested in much except raw commodities, is shifting money, population and power in Canada.


Hey look: Hewers of wood, drawers of power

  1. You tend to sell what you promote.

    You don’t sell what you never even mention…or what you have already trashed at home.

    Trouble is, that’s not good for the country.

  2. I work in auto industry and wonder how sincere Harper is about these trade deals because, so far, Cons are anti wealth creation, they have been spending money at quite the rate, and they have no plans to create it. Trade deals with Asia, particularly S Korea, would transform my industry but we have no reason to believe anything will occur within decade. 

    It is all well and good to talk about deals in future but how motivated is Harper to actually negotiate and sign agreements? Why has Harper waited six years before thinking about how Canada was going to create wealth to pay the public debt that Harper has significantly increased during his time as PM? 

    • I would be delighted if we ever actually concluded any of these big trade deals Harper keeps talking about….but so far nada.

      Colombia and Liechtenstein deals won’t pay the bills, that’s for sure,  and we’re late to the party everywhere else

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