Poor Canada. By accident of geography and population, it has been doomed to be a resource extraction scheme masquerading as a country, with an essentially superfluous high IQ population under the misapprehension that they are free men possessed of traditional Anglo-Saxon liberties and not temporarily elevated chattel of a latifundium.
The thing about primary production industries like mining, petroleum, forestry, and agriculture, is that they are politically salient forms of wealth with influence beyond their objective proportion of the economy. Add up the taxes, commissions, construction costs, and rents from every condo in Vancouver and you will come up with a number approaching the entire provincial GDP of Saskatchewan. But the former is dispersed in a sea of tiny landlords and freeholders made accidentally wealthy as a temporary safe deposit box for embezzled Chinese assets. The value is high, but sellers are forced to be buyers (since everyone has to live somewhere) so their paper wealth is not terribly liquid, and there are a dearth of productive assets they can lever their holdings into. Certainly no paper property millionaire is in a position to be hiring someone’s nephew as a favor.
By contrast, a place like Saskatchewan is like a parody of some 1880s Copper Baron fantasy. Pulling fertilizer out of the ground is the incredibly profitable domain of a Death Star sized corporation and a few of their friends, who historically ran the joint with a fuzzy distinction between the corporate end and the local government. If fertilizer isn’t to your taste, perhaps a uranium mine, or a timber operation. Now there is an asset you can get liquidity out of. Your condo might lose value – ie, “the market” might decide they’d rather live somewhere else, all things considered. Buyers might not be able to get financing (since most property purchases are debt-financed and basically consumptive), or not enough, if interest rates rise or the local economy hits the rocks. But pretty much everyone likes to eat, so your wheat field and your fertilizer operation will always be a valuable asset with a relatively low cost of capital whose operation can be scaled until you can afford a few hooked-up foremen. The ideal society for the people who really run Canada has a few fantastically wealthy owners on the top, trusted managers in the middle, and just enough warm bodies on the bottom to keep the trucks running.
But being colonized wholesale by genuinely impressive people (plus Quebec), rather than a few caudillos ruling over a vast preexisting peasant population, meant that it wasn’t going to be a stable, purely extractive society. A man carves a homestead out of endless maples, or starts a factory stamping auto parts, or invents the Timbit, he starts thinking he is a citizen rather than a mere subject. You have to keep such a man distracted thinking about problems that don’t matter and he can’t fix, and ideally a new one each week. You need a face for this, a theater kid, and fortunately one was procured, in the despicable Justin Trudeau.
“Ending Bigly, Eh?” explores Trudeau, of course, but who is Trudeau? A hired gun of no fixed principles beyond putting on a show for the rubes so their pockets can be picked. A man who breathlessly weeps over “human rights abuses”, while cashing checks from the Chinese government, in preparation for demanding his own population be subjected to forced injections, replaced by more compliant foreigners where possible, and reduced to slavery if they object. Shut up and haul the timber, he explains. We’re all in this together, or something.
Trudeau is a man with no past – no established parentage, on account of his mother’s Caribbean dalliances, nor any particular project inspiring him to pursue office. He has no future – no Trudeauism will exist, no monuments will be erected, just an endless stream of managerial initiatives he happened to be present to sign for – a receptionist for the “global rules based order”. But he will have an end.
Will it be in fire, or in ice? A ballot, a bullet, a peaceful retirement? A midnight flight to asylum? The stories in “Ending Bigly, Eh?” are entertaining, because in their breadth they suggest to us that no one knows how this will shake out. The implausibility of the recent past is guide enough to the impossibility of predicting the future. Der erwige theater kid stands on the stage, straining to read his cue cards through the pitch black, but no one watches the show – they pass the time to see what will happen when the lights come on.