Michelle (my wife), Charlie (our dog) and I just got back from a 5,000 km plus trip that took us to Winnipeg and back, through Canada and many Northern States. It was a beautiful trip across a wonderful country packed with interesting people and places.
Sadly, we’re seeing more and more abandoned homes and businesses along the primary and secondary roads we travel. In some cases it’s because the latest highway improvement did away with the vital off-ramp. In other cases the industry that gave reason for the town and sustained it has moved on.
Giant (fibreglass) fish, oxen, and skiers – you name it – are many towns’ last investment and hope that tourism will extend their lifeline.
We also saw a lot of discount or manufacturer’s outlet malls build around food, gas and lodging oasis. They all look the same whether you’re in Wisconsin or West Virginia. It’s like there’s a highway intersection master franchise licensing agreement explicitly designed to eliminate any sense of local culture or identity.
The Upper Peninsula (a.k.a. the U.P.) is one of the few places on our trip where local crafts are on sales everywhere – suggesting to me that communities are working together to rebuild their tattered local economies.
All of this brings me to China Shipping Containers. I can sit at our board room window in Winnipeg any day of the week and watch as trainloads of China Shipping containers file by. And each time I wonder:
What would Canada be like if it said B.C. Shipping on the 1st container, Alberta Shipping on the second container, Saskatchewan Shipping on the third container, Manitoba Shipping on the next one, Ontario Shipping on the next one and so on and so on.
What if we weren't so obsessed with “cheap” and realized that if we want a great future for ourselves and our kids, we need to pony up a bit extra to enable companies to stay here, thrive here, employ Canadians and give them the national pride that comes from wearing and using products and services that are “Made in Canada”.
On my birthday, my mother always wishes me good health, happiness and peace of mind. For most of my life I didn't get it. I thought that “sex, drugs and rock-and-roll” would be a more fitting birthday wish. More recently I've come to treasure those three wishes and, on Canada’s birthday, I wish our great country the same thing: vibrant environmental & economic health, happiness for all inhabitants coast to coast to coast and local + world peace in our time.
I leave you with a quote from the great law of the Iroquois Confederacy that I found on a detergent bottle of all places, because it speaks of an intellectual state of mind we all need to reach for my wish for Canada to come true:
In our deliberation, we must consider the impact of our decisions on the next seven generations.
Happy Canada Day!