Canada Lacks Creativity

I shall admit to rethinking Trudeau's 'resources to resourcefulness' proclamation made at the World Economic Smuttit; yes, the word is a mix of 'smut' and 'summit'. I amuse myself.

The remark was effective enough for me to consider a feature - perhaps a bug - of the Canadian economic mindset.

There's a little more to this quote rooted in history than we think. Whether Trudeau knew this I can't say but it's irrelevant since he did say it because it points to our mechanical approach to economic policy as opposed to putting trust in our creativity. This languished position has left us rather anemic in such endeavors particularly when compared to our partners in the G8.

What do we mean by 'resourcefulness' exactly? Does it, as I unwittingly just posited, mean our inventive and creative side? Does it mean looking at a sand pit and envisioning a way to scoop up sand with machines of our inventions?

More to the point, Canada has oil but does it invent the machines and engineering techniques to extract and refine it? We have a military but do we exclusively build our own equipment (ships, planes, weapons, tech gadgets, communications devices etc.)to make us a strong standing partner among allies? Or do we merely enter the used market and purchase them off other nations?

When you look at our economic capabilities in this way, you come to the realization that perhaps we're not doing all we can do. Indeed, the age old question is why hasn't Canada ever created its own indigenous car industry? I know it tried but the effort seemed to have been disjointed and lackluster. It was more of 'hey, let's build a car, eh?' rather than anything seen, say, in the USA with Henry Ford.

Canada doesn't seem to value of focusing on the inventions and creativity forging our own mighty unique brands easily recognized to drive its economy so it doesn't nurture it. We have the oil but we'll buy the machines from the Norwegians or Americans. A French restaurateur once explained it this way to me when discussing Italy. 'The Italians make espresso beans. But they're not satisfied with just the bean. They build the machine to create the perfect espresso. That's why Italy has such an interesting economy.'

This is the difference, I think, between a world-class economic power (of which six of the G7 members are) and ours. We're essentially who we think we are - a semi-diversified middle economic power.

We're not renowned inventors or businessmen. We don't produce businesses of extraordinary heights backed by venture capitalism. Indeed, I wonder if we'd know what to do with all the cash.

And this is and was all by choice. It's almost as if we lack the confidence or perhaps we just unwittingly and subconsciously accept our branch-plant status within the American empire.

Maybe this is what Trudeau meant. If he did, then I think he's right. But I think we're late to the game. Entering new markets against countries who have taken this angle seriously for much longer is a really hard game. Those countries have matured and have a running start.

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