I was 17 years of age when my father said to me, “Son, everything you don’t understand is not always necessarily wrong.” I did not really know what to do with it at the time, mulled it over for several days and then asked him, “So how do I become someone who understands everything”? He smiled and replied, “Only age, experience and knowledge will lead you towards reaching that goal, in the meantime you have to rely on my generation to do the right things for you.”
I would have liked to do the right thing and vote in the HST referendum. Alas as a non-Canadian citizen I am not allowed to vote.
So, I am no different to the roughly 920.000, or 20 per cent of the people in BC who are relying on their parents and grandparents to make the right decisions for them, as they have not reached the legal age to make their voice heard.
Canada, and especially western Canada, is blessed with natural resources. It is with these resources that an economy is built, and after the decline of forestry in northwest BC, lots of new projects give hope to a region that lost many skilled people to other provinces, and, sadly so, lost many fathers in their pursuit to live a life away from seasonal, unsecure employment. It is these men that are needed here to raise a family and teach their sons.
Building a stable, sustainable and responsible economy is like building a house on stilts.
The name of these stilts are: education, technology and innovation, leadership, infrastructure (both recreational and industrial), and fiscal policy.
Money is like a timid deer and it was most certainly naive to think the majority of the people in this province would vote for something that they did not entirely understand. The result of this referendum acts like a shot in the dark, and scares investors away and will lead to less money put toward building the aforementioned stilts.
If the rural areas of British Columbia, or any other province in Canada for that matter, wants to get out of the boom and bust cycle, it needs to focus on adding value to the resources which rest plentiful in its forests and under its soil.
The old fashioned PST/GST tax system is a gigantic hindrance in achieving this goal, as it adds a tax at every step along the added value chain. Absolutely no international investor who is thinking about BC as their preferred place to manufacture products, will come here without the security of a modern, reliable VAT system. Natural resources can’t be globalized, so the chances for growth are still there, but would we not want to use this time to raise a knowledge based society, that will demand highly-skilled jobs in order to achieve the full potential of the resources we have?
My father is now an old man, severely handicapped by a heart-attack 17 years ago, and I miss his advice ever since the day I lost it. I am a father myself now and I am sincerely concerned about the decisions our modern world is making today and the mess we are leaving behind. I therefore urge the elected and non-elected politicians in this province to rethink this and work cooperatively to reach a pragmatic solution. In addition the northwest needs one regional team of excellence that holds the stilts in place. Otherwise the decisions made in Victoria might be the wrong decisions for us here in the Skeena region, as the necessary in depth information was not available at the time. I do not want to answer my son’s question – Why did you fail me?