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Manitoba’s MYOPIC “Leadership”

12 Apr
In response to Jim Car’s ‘colonial concept of “development”  WFP 11.4.13
Jim Carr, president of the Business Council of Manitoba, starts his column As province goes south, look north’ – WFP 11.4.13, with inspiring rhetoric about Manitoba’s future.  I heard Carr speak a month ago and he still seems to be locked into a last century concept of exploitation of resources and people.  Of course his words – “Developing the north’s resources will not be possible without full partnership with the people who live there, mostly aboriginals..” are very nice, but then he continues on and on about ‘development’ in the same colonial mindset that has done nothing in the long run for either Manitoba or its people.  
What Manitobans truly need is a view of the north that benefits the north in more ways than ‘jobs’ transporting the riches of the north to ‘customers’ outside the province and country.   What is needed is a concept of developing the industrial and social strength of the north FOR the people living there.  Unfortunately, continuing to give away both the Hydro energy and resources to people and industries elsewhere  is clearly what established business and Carr are all about.
However, using that power and those resources in Manitoba’s north  to build a great northern industrial and High Tech  city equipped with all the advantages of southern cities would over the long term (30-50 years) give to the inhabitants value, lasting value, for their resources.  It would also change the future for all Manitobans.
The proof is in the numbers!  The projected economic growth resulting from the Bipole III electricity when  ‘given away’ to the northern states is in the hundreds of billions of dollars.  Used in Northern Manitoba to jump-start  the development of a great new Northern City with easy access to natural resources and a growing population of skilled workers, that economic growth could remain in Manitoba to the benefit of all.
But the truth is far more compelling.  There is nowhere in north America better situated to access foreign markets with the value added products from such a development and transportation costs from mine to factory to the world will be minimal in a time when transportation costs are soaring.  Even more compelling is the reality that there would be 20% more available power in the  north where it is generated because as electricity is transported over distance there is a substantial loss of power.  Not to mention the costs of building that Bipole III transmission line could be invested instead in the future of the north.
What Manitoba needs is leadership, leadership to a bright and positive future, NOT more colonial style exploitation and short-term thinking.  Moreover, if ever there is truly to be “full partnership” of our northern citizens there has to be a change in thinking that includes sharing the benefits of  development… REAL sharing.
Shane Nestruck
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