WINNIPEG, MB. - We Manitobans are a perverse bunch. On the one hand, there is no Canadian more determined, more ingenious, more creative and resourceful. On the other hand, there are few more skeptical, willing to accept change and less supportive of efforts to promote self-reliance.
Take my grandson, a self-proclaimed futurepreneur. He graduated this summer from the Asper School of Business at the University of Manitoba with both a business degree and a businesses certificate from Red River College. With a minor in human resources, he soon got hired at a local recruiting firm. One day he came home complaining bitterly that the government was cutting a transportation retraining program when there is a shortage of truck drivers.
Instead of seeing, as did his mother and I, that it was the responsibility of the trucking industry to train their own drivers, he ranted on about the government not doing it for them. It took us a while to convince him otherwise.
But when you think about it, what more should we have expected? Since he was five years old, the NDP have been in power and their philosophy has prevailed in schools and on the media. It even seeped into the consciousness of business people who became reliant on handouts of tax dollars instead of on their own initiative and all those qualities that have made our fortunes over the past 147 years.
For the past decade and a half, Manitobans have expected government to manage their health; look after their kids; sell their products on the international stage; manage their car insurance; protect them from every possible danger; train their workers; manage their environment and regulate the minute details of their lives. We have been trained to ask government for permission whenever we want to do something. Even the strongest-minded Tories are now convinced that they can do nothing without referencing permission from the government first.
So Premier Brian Pallister is facing a double whammy of resistance in trying to turn this economy around when he first has to deal with the learned anti-enterprise philosophy our citizens have grown to accept. It is especially hard with young people who grew up under this influence and who are feeling it again from the Trudeau Liberals.
So listen up. You can live on other people’s money and efforts for just so long, until finally, just as both Communist Russia and China had to learn, someone has to start actually producing something because all the goods have been used up. And when there is no ownership, there is no risk, so why work hard? Let the other guy do it.
Here in Manitoba, we have to reinvigorate the self-reliance mentality. There is no bottomless pit of money to hand over to friends and allies. There is only us.
As I see it, the premier is looking at the big picture. He can visualize the areas of greatest concern, where government spends the most money with the least return. He has turned to the strongest, brightest and most experienced in the community to go out and find the root causes, to make recommendations that can be turned over to his ministers and translated into action. Nobody and nothing is perfect and there will be stumbles along the way. Some recommendations may be tried and have to be reversed or adjusted – but at least something is being done to right the wrongs, disrupt the inertia and start things going in the right direction.
It’s a funny thing about momentum. Trying to move that rock seems almost impossible, but little by little, inch by inch, you get it started rolling and then it take off almost by itself. This is true of where the premier is going. He has his shoulder behind the rock in health, in social services, in the North and releasing Indigenous people from their thraldom under the NDP. He is pushing for critical regulatory reform in all disciplines and has started on trade and trade opportunities. He is supporting, to the best he can right now, the arts and looking at how to resolve funding issues that need resolving there – the model being used does not work. He most recently asked Dave Angus and Barb Gamey to look at economic development to dislodge the impediments to an expansionary approach in Manitoba. There is much more going on behind the scenes that we cannot see but that will ultimately make a huge difference.
Meanwhile, his efforts are hindered by our own adopted socialist attitudes which are like little rocks getting in the way of moving the big rock that he has his shoulder up against. I am counting on those among you, us older guys who should know better, to stop doubting the path we are on and get behind the premier and his government. Help him push that rock.
And then there is the media, the trendmakers, apologists for the status quo. The virulent anti-Pallister narrative is nauseating. He can’t even fall down a mountain without being kicked around as if the accident were his fault.
How far will the media go to damage his efforts? Despicable as it sounds, there are some among them who are contemplating circulating a rumour that the premier’s fall damaged his ability to think straight. This came to me from a media guy. It really is quite unbelievable.
So let’s celebrate our determined, ingenious, creative and resourceful qualities that are being exemplified by our premier and get behind our government. We need change but it doesn’t happen overnight and it won’t happen without your help. Let’s at least remove the little rocks.
Dorothy Dobbie, Manitoba Post