Do we need foreign ownership?

Heritage photo of Riel and his Councillors
Western Canadian government before Canadian military takeover.

“If the people of Canada think for one moment that we can only have Canadian investors and hope to drive any type of business going forward, they are absolutely, massively mistaken,” Grant Fagerheim. president and CEO of Whitecap Resources Inc., said in in an interview about the exodus of foreign investors in the domestic oil and gas industry."  

This is part of a myth told to Western Canadians for over 150years.

Western Canadians have been told that the only way we can exploit and benefit from our resources is by having them owned by foreign investors.

We have other options, we can look south to see one of them.

Canada and the USA took very different paths when it comes to growing their economy. A hundred and fifty years later we can compare those different paths.

Canada, before Confederation, was a number of colonies, with the largest being the province of Canada (Quebec and Ontario).

These British colonies were little more than a source of resources and materials for the mother country, Britain. Which is why the financial sector was arranged to enable the extraction and export of resources to benefit the mother country, not Canada the colony.

The Canadian financial industry was, and still is, centralized with a few interconnected players, and almost no accountability to any elected body . Canadians will know some of early players as the Chateau Clique, Maritime Establishment and the Family Compact.These groups structured the economy to benefit, not Canadians but themselves and the mother country.

The USA, before the revolution, had a similar problem so they revolted and corrected that offensive structure.

Unlike the USA, Canada did not revolt to leave Britain. Canada did not replace their Elite.

Canada's Confederation was so peaceful that John A reported the British treated it as a little more than the union of two or three parishes. That would turn out to be very bad for Western Canada.

Confederating peacefully not result in a reset or restart for Canada. All the main players remained in place. They were not tarred and feathered, they did not flee.

The financial institutions remained in place with the same players.

Unlike the USA our financial industry cared little for the new country and even less for the many waves of immigrants who would be come citizens.

"Our" financial industry did not see their role as supporting or helping to develop a strong new country. They did not help Canadians, in particular Western Canadians, grow their own business, grow the nation promised.

Instead they concentrated on what they always profited from, transportation, mining, newsprint, utilities, and other aspects of exporting raw resources.

Surplus capital, of which there was lots, was directed south to the USA where safety and security of profits were assured.

Canadian governments have never developed their own, our own, economic policies. Instead Canada followed the lead of the already established financial community and continue to do so today.

It was easier to continue to strip Canada of it's wealth to the profit of the few than work to grow and benefit all members of Confederation.

The USA took a very different path.

The USA kicked out much of the treasonous financial community, tar and feathering those they could and confiscated their property.

The New USA money men were largely American. What was good for America was good for them. As the USA expanded west so did their money.

In 1910 there were about 25,000 banks spread out and headquartered across the USA. That is one bank for every 3,600 citizens.

In 1910 Canada had 11 banks. All of them headquartered in the east. That is one bank for every 660,000 Canadians.

USA one bank for every 3,600 Americans. Canada one bank for every 660,000 Canadians.

Most of Canada was served by bank branches with no mandate to fund local business. Instead money flowed east, out of areas needing money for development.

Into that vacuum flowed American money. They needed resources, we had them.

Canadian companies could not find Canadian capital, Canadian money, to grow. The money existed but was being directed south where the investment was safer, more assured.

Consider how different that is from what the Americans were doing.

Americans accepted Canadian money, investment, as loans. Americans borrowed money from Canadian profits and built industries with it. Then they paid back the money with interest.

Canada, on the other hand, accepted American money as capital investments, ownership in industries. As those industries grew Canada would not own or control them.

That is worth repeating; Canada accepted American money as capital investments, ownership in industries. As those industries grew American investors profited, not Canadians or Canada. Canadians were told they were lucky to have jobs.

Canada would tax those jobs.

Capital investment and borrowing money are two very different types of investments.

We can move forward with foreign money and still have a sovereign Nation. America has shown us how to do it.

But we cannot follow the USA lead if we remain in Confederation.

To flourish we must leave Canada and their economic model that has saddled Western Canada with far more foreign ownership than successful nations allow.