Broadcaster, author and pundit Rex Murphy was the keynote speaker at the Open Shop Forum, held May 8 in Whistler. B.C.
After discussing his early days at CBC Newfoundland and his somewhat underwhelming (in his own words) political career in the region, he said there is a "great gap between what the majority of people understand as their priorities, and what people of great standing and sophistication such as premiers and prime ministers see as priorities."
The culture of Newfoundland is person to person, Murphy said, and this trait was exemplified by the treatment of passengers who landed in Gander on 9/11. He added that in a harsh environment "you do what you can" to build bigger shelters, schools, hospitals and other institutions. But the collective effort over time, he said, focuses on the primary resources available.
In terms of Canada, he said, and given the 150th anniversary of the nation, he wanted to point out how lucky Canadians are to have "peace and tranquility" since World War Two. There is an immensity to this country he said, and the store of resources contained within that is a source of "immense wealth." Other countries in the world would be envious of just a portion of the resource riches Canada already possesses, Murphy said.
Millions have been dislocated by historical crises around the world, Murphy said, even now in Syria but also in the past, and our frictions and "miseries" don't compare to such suffering.
"In the scale of history, this place is under a benign cloud," Murphy said.
We forget in 2017, Murphy said, just how great a leap has been made over generations. He maintained that leap was made by ingenuity, experience of previous generations, and at the core the economy of the country.
Nothing begins without the central foundation of an economy that provides the wealth and security to then be able to extend the values we already have and then extend to others.
The disconnection we are starting to see, Murphy said, is the gap between those who talk about things (the managerial class) and those that do things (the working class) is widening.
Despite polling and media certainty which locked Hillary Clinton into the presidency and dismissed Trump, it was the supposed authenticity of the billionaire and support of working class people that earned him the presidency.
Murphy said that in Canada, we are endowed with a resource that other countries are envious of, and yet we are racked with guilt about the use and exploitation of this resource. "this is ludicrous," Murphy said.
He also stated he actually went to the oilsands to see the people doing the work and hear what they had to say, and that in his opinion the oilsands are unfairly demonized.
"People have bought into a 'mental haze' that success in industry has to be defended," Murphy said.
Nothing strips the psychology of a human being more, after death and divorce, than unemployment, and resources are a great driver of employment, Murphy maintained, adding during the financial crisis of 2008, it was the resource sector that shielded Canada from the worst effects on the economy.
The basic business of how you live, and being supported by a job provided by industry is "the core of it. How we got away from that, I do not know," Murphy said.
He added more legislative time is spent on pot legislation than on employment and job creation, and added people in Canada are untroubled by the perils of the world and that "all this just happens," which he said is untrue. Canada was built on "sweat and toil and danger" and pointed to those at the forum as instrumental in bringing that about.