By April 12, 2020 Fresh Ideas

Canadian-Made –

         In the previous article I wrote about food security.  In a parallel process, we need to look into using Solar Power.  We will be building a greenhouse and installing a small panel to power: a pump to circulate a closed-system hydroponic garden, an aerator for the water and fans to help control the temperature.  This is a small ‘requirement’ if we want to go to a closed hydroponic system’.  Imagine if we wanted to include LED ‘grow-lights’ on timers to optimize growth.  Expensive on electricity, right?

I saw a facebook headline yesterday about ‘Northern Pulp’ investing in updating the pulp-mill to modern-day standards.  Proponents of staying in that industry (Forestry) with a ‘Lumber/Pulp-mill’ Mindset will applaud at how responsible that is, and state that the government should support the modernization.  My private response to my friend who put up the article was ‘It’s a dead horse! Go into Solar’.  Their response back to me was ‘Oh yes, that makes sense. Buy a bunch of solar panels from overseas and make power for 70% of the year.  Great idea. That’s what the economy needs.’ – He has a point, and I replied:  ‘Great point, but I meant making solar panels, here, and then using them, here, to get business expenses down, such as a hydroponic greenhouse.’ Response: ‘Oh.’

My point is that a lot of businesses have failed (not because of their own decisions, but) because the game changed.  Northern Pulp is a great example.  They have a significant upgrade to complete because the world changed and we know more about environmental impacts.  To come up to current specifications will cost a lot of money.  Pulp can (and is) produced cheaper in other jurisdictions who have faster growth rates and lower environmental standards.  Pulp companies have invested significantly in producing a high-grade product from low-grade pulp (such as Eucalypus or southern pine) that grows 15-25 times faster than our trees grow here.  We can’t compete.  Stop trying to compete in that market.  It’s the race to the bottom.

…’We can make it cheaper’, ‘no we can’ (lower wages, lower environmental standards),

Stop looking for cheaper.  Start expecting BETTER!  What I’m talking about is providing, on a large scale, an environment where our goal is to make a ‘better’ widget.

Better, in this case, means trying to source our supplies for the greenhouse locally if possible, made in Canada, at least, because that’s what will help us rebuild an economy.  Our neighbours don’t work Overseas, for the most part.  Let’s buy from their businesses.  Do we understand why it costs more?

         Buying local may cost more for a number of reasons.  One of the most important reasons (to me) is because we have labour standards.  I don’t like the idea of looking my neighbour in the face and saying ‘your job is only worth $X to me’.  I want my neighbours to make an honest wage.

The point is:  If the government is having to deal with dead industries (because we were in the race to the bottom), maybe it’s okay to help transition the work force to a green technology economy, or an economy of helping your neighbour, or use local-sourcing incentives to keep local-money, local. 

We’re trying to buy Canadian-made solar panels.  They are not readily available (on a primary google search) but we will insist on buying Canadian, at least.  Maybe this is a cursory way of identifying gaps in the market (i.e. new business ventures that could use government incentives).

Dan Corbett

Author Dan Corbett

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