Canada must be the only country in the world that has legal marijuana and an abundance of oil, but can’t make a go of either of them.
Lots of other people find it easy to make money off drugs. Criminals are great at it. The business was so sure-fire, flourishing all over Canada, we were told it had to be legalized to bring it under control. Well, I guess that worked: now there’s a shortage of the stuff and Ottawa is busy carping about municipalities that don’t want pot shops anywhere within their boundaries.
And oil. It’s hard NOT to make money off oil. Norway’s sovereign wealth fund, the world’s biggest, contains US$1 trillion from oil earnings. The fund is such a big deal in Norway it has its own TV show, a situation comedy about the clash between high finance and inbred Nordic moderation. Oil is the sole reason the Middle East is awash with ridiculously rich petro-princes, hereditary monarchs and heirs-to-the-throne so brazen they feel safe ordering the dismembering of inconvenient journalists.
Corrupt politicians around the world have grown fat on their pilferings from oil. Not in Canada. In Canada the oil business has been so profoundly botched by political interference that the federal government felt compelled Tuesday to offer $1.6 billion in aid to an industry struggling to keep its head above water.
“Today, our government is taking critical next steps with new measures to protect and promote Canada’s natural advantage,” intoned International Trade Diversification Minister Jim Carr. “Measures that reflect our belief that Alberta’s energy sector is not just the historic backbone of our economy but a key part of our country’s future.”
Carr’s announcement is itself an illustration of how cockeyed Canada’s treatment of its energy industry has become. If oil is a “natural advantage,” why on earth does it require federal measures to “protect and promote it?” It’s like Gary Bettman declaring special protection for the Stanley Cup champions because they have too many good players. How many other countries do you know that can hail “the historic backbone of our economy,” and at the same time toss it five bucks so it can get itself a sandwich?