Blog 'Understanding todays Canada, Manitoba and manufacturing.'
Added: 3 days ago By: Jb0713
Sometimes it is easier to see problems in others. Easier to see why the other province is not doing as well as it should. Easier to see inequities and failures elsewhere. Which is why I'm looking at Manitoba with this post. A province that is arguably the wealthiest, with more resources, more opportunity, more natural riches per capita than any other province of Canada, and at one time the location of a growing manufacturing industry.
By the 1860's Manitoba (the region that is today Manitoba) was Western Canada's (what is today Western Canada) industrial heartland and economic engine. Manitoba had two major ocean ports through which Western Canada traded directly to Britain, Europe and the World, importing and exporting many tons of goods annually.
York Factory (YF), just one of the ocean ports, had more than 50 buildings for warehousing, administration and manufacturing of goods. YF directly employed more than 50 people most of them locals or recent immigrants unlike Factors and others who had homes overseas. Thousands of others were employed in spin off jobs with manufacturing, shipping and logistics topping the list. The local YF population (all races) itself numbered in the thousands.
Manitoba wasn't just a transportation hub with 5 major watersheds supplying many transportation links deep into the North American continent. Though that alone would have made it the most prosperous of regions. Manitoba also had advanced manufacturing including many Windmills, Watermills and even advanced Steam powered mills. Impressive for the middle of North America in the mid 1800's. (search "Manitoba Windmills")
Manitoba made cloth, clothes and produced other manufactured goods that
were sold far and wide including into the new and expanding U.S. market. Manitoba not only grew wheat but also produced four that was exported throughout what is today Western Canada. Louis Riel himself was the son of a Miller (not a hunter/gatherer, part time farmer). The Riel's were wealthy enough to send their son to Montreal for advanced education, and they were not the wealthiest of families in the region.
In the mid 1800's without using Manitoba's considerable mineral or many other resources those in the region were among the most prosperous in what is today Western Canada and were for the most part able to keep the benefits of that wealth and economic activity local.
BUT that changed when what is today Western and Northern Canada was "purchased" by Canada. Purchased complete with and including the people living, working, and farming there. People who were not consulted about the loss of their lands, colonies, or status in the British Empire. That those people did not welcome their new Canadian overlords with open arms and wallets resulted in Canada being less than generous after Confederation.
Canada's polices in their new acquisitions resulted in almost all the local mills and much of it's industry being shut down. The local market would be supplied by Canadian companies in the East. Transferring jobs from the West to the East is an ongoing process still seen today. It has always been in Canada's interest to support Canadian industry, not local industry in the "regions" and certianly not industries owned and operated by those who resisted the Canadian takeover. Local Manitoba industry should have been in the best position to take advantage of continuing growth and increased exploitation of resources. Instead their industry and economy would taken over by Eastern interests. Even the Manitoba flour and grain market, a foundational industry in Western Canada, would become dominated and controlled by Ogilvie & Co., of Montreal.
Domination by Eastern interests became so complete that Canada would have almost all goods and resources shipped East via rivers and the Great Lakes rather than use the traditional and cheaper Ocean ports with their access to the worlds many markets. Canada also made it difficult, in many cases illegal, for Manitoban's, and others in the West to sell to anyone other than Canada. A process that included, and still includes, propaganda meant to have Canadians in Eastern Canada believe they were acting in Western Canada's best interest.
The state of the Manitoba economy today is far from what it should be. Manitoba has many valuable resources yet remains poor., a have not. A short list of resources includes abundant green hydro powered electricity, ocean ports, one ocean port supplied by rail and with an electrical connection to the North American power grid, as well as many minerals, metals and wilderness.
Manitoba has one of the worlds largest lakes and was once on the path to having the worlds largest inland fishery contained completely within one country, within one province. Manitoban's are among the worlds wealthiest people when it comes to resources per captia.
But Manitoba is controlled by a Canadian Federation which has encouraged political and financial corruption which has given Manitoba a long history of mismanagement and missed opportunities. That is not just the fault of the current government NDP. The corruption, the failure to represent is built in and all parties have taken advantage. For example the Crocus Fund, a pyiamid scheme, was established by the PC's with many PC's politicians profiting while the average investors lost big time, That's just one of many examples of fincial corruption.
Politically, selling out is the objective. The politicians of Manitoba remain silent about Canadian and Manitoba polices that have shut down all the historical ocean ports, seen opportunities such as smelters and a Space Port lost or given away. Even the majority of their aircraft industry has been transferred to Quebec, Ontario and the USA. All in the hope of keeping the gravy train for the politicians running at high speed. For those few that might speak up, such as Sharon Carstairs, a Senate appointment ensures she does not pick any inconvenient fights with Canada.
The Manitoba NDP of today do not hold a monopoly on corruption or mismanagement, that has a long history in a province that should have Canada's wealthiest of citizens.
Such a long history that it is a foundational characteristic of Canada's relationship with the lands it has taken by force.
You need to be registered in order to add comments!