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Max Roytenberg

Max Roytenberg: Growing Things

by Max Roytenberg , October 2, 2017

Things seem to be way out of control these days. So many of the things we used to take for granted in our lives now seem topsy-turvey. There used to be a right and a left, liberal, conservative, moral, immoral. Could it be really true that a rich guy with all the power in the world, who previously used his power to exploit the weak, rip off the powerless, abuse women, exploit racism, suddenly become an upright guy. We are seeing some of the powerguys shaking in their boots about what this guy is going to do next, how he is going to shake up the country. Is he actually going to create jobs for those blue-collar guys who can’t adjust to a changing world and are looking at a jobless future? Is he actually going to try and stop potential terrorists from getting into the country no matter what the cost to innocents and our international relations? How many innocents will suffer in the process of getting the job done? Is he actually going to do what he said he was going to do or does he really have something else in mind? Does our distaste for his past, and some of his bedfellows, mean we can’t trust him for future change? What about his new recruits? All of us are going to be affected by the answers to these questions. Some of us just don’t trust the motives.


 Is he actually going to control the border with Mexico? Don’t Americans have that right? Is he actually going to tackle those countries that are abusing the rules set by our trade agreements, like Mexico, China and some other countries? Is he actually going to support US ally Israel and stop worrying about pissing-off countries that we send money and aid to, that do everything they can to stick it to us every chance they get? Is he going to call Iran’s bluff, comply with the agreement or we cancel it? Is he going to confront Saudi Arabia, China, Russia, Turkey on their policies favouring terrorism? Is he going to challenge the Palestinian’s on their refusal to recognize a Jewish state and Jewish presence in the West Bank which is legal and sanctioned by the Oslo Accords? Why don’t we lean on some of these guys? Shouldn’t we? Shouldn’t we put the UN on the back burner where it belongs by cutting its funding? Shouldn’t we go for American energy independence and deal with the consequences using new technology?


Will he challenge the Republican Party’s doctrinaire positions which drive away voters? Will we actually get a replacement for the health care bill? Will we actually get a viable solution to the illegals in the U.S. that Republican’s will have to swallow. We need to continue to allow Mexican’s to work in the produce fields and smart guys to come into the U.S. for the high tech shops? That could earn a lot of votes. Will he end teacher tenure and revitalize the educational system? Will he bring down the high cost of advanced education and bring back trade schools? Those votes he could never get anyway. Or is he just out to feather his own nest, the give goodies to his buddies?


What’s wrong with bilateral trade agreements? What’s wrong with encouraging higher birth rates? Will both parties get some of what they want and not get a lot of what they want? Will he get everybody mad at him and get a lot of good things done, even if he is only a reformed sexual predator? Even if he is not polite about the way he gets what he wants done? Do we prefer tricky Dickie, slick Willie, or lying Lyndon, or sneaky weak-wristed Obama? We’ve got egg all over our face from the last one and a much weaker hand. Don’t we have to wait and see what we are really going to get before we push the panic button?


How about Canada? We sure need the U.S, a lot more than they need us. The guy with the curly hair is no match for the blond guy. We would be a heck of a lot better off with Harper sitting across from him at the table? Better get Heather Reisman’s dad out of retirement to salvage what we can from NAFTA. He did a great job for us on that and the Autopac.


It just seems that all of a sudden we’ve got so much on our plate. In Canada, we remain just a bit player. The financial recession that we just climbed out of, caused by poor U.S. regulation, seemed like the beginning of something better these last two years. But we still have the Islamic thing between Sunnis and Shiites that’s spilling over into our world and may be with us for a generation. Obama’s weakness has encouraged China and Russia to swing for the fences and that will cost more blood and treasure to fix. Europe looks like it is going to be a sinkhole for a decade, and may not be fixable with its aging population like Japan. The big economic action will be in Asia and Africa. Our  big asset is our thriving technology and knowledge industries which we share with the U.S. Canada will still need to more fully exploit its resources to earn our bread. So we will continue to have a struggle to protect our environment. Canada is changing too, with our demographics going more and more toward an Asian majority over the next twenty years whether we like it or not. How will we feel about being the minority?


All these currents are buffeting us as we try to chart a course that is likely provide a viable future for our coming generations. With all the space we have in Canada we should have a population of a hundred million or more.  We can develop much more of our less hospitable areas. We need a conscious strategy to map out our future for longer than one election cycle. How can we find a way to do that with our current political system? Our best minds should be confronting the problem and presenting our leaders with options which we can choose from in a rational way. Can’t we do that in a democracy? Don’t we owe it to ourselves to try to figure things out? Is somebody trying to do that?


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