This article was provided by the Ontario Mining Association (OMA), an organization that was established in 1920 to represent the mining industry of the province.
Business commentator and author Diane Francis presented her views on mining as Canada’s hidden success story in her keynote address at a recent Ontario Mining Association conference. The National Post editor at large helped to kick off the OMA “The future of mining in Ontario: Is it golden?” conference June 14 in North Bay.
“Mining built Canada and mining still runs Canada,” said the Ms Francis, who has been a media fellow at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and at the Kennedy School of Government in the United States. “It should not be politically incorrect in Canada to support mining. We have nothing to be ashamed of. The only industry that is truly wealth creating is mining and in this country one in 10 First Nations people are employed in mining.”
“Mining is what Canada is all about and we in this country are riding a commodities rocket ship,” she said. “Four hundred million people are going to be born in the next decade providing a demographics of demand.”
The author of several business books such as Controlling Interest – Who Owns Canada and Contrepremeurs also presented her perceptions on how the global economic order is changing. She spoke about the excesses of Wall Street and she sees the old U.S. version of free trade being altered. Government involvement and collaboration are becoming more the norm.
She said state owned enterprises (SOE) are taking on bigger roles in the global economy as the power shifts from West to East. “There is a takeover of resources by SOEs. Seventeen of the 20 largest oil companies are SOEs,” said Ms Francis.
Her crystal ball also sees money moving into real assets such as mining and, despite its current state, the U.S. dollar, commodity prices moving upwards, the environmental movement growing, Canada staying in good shape because of its resources and financial sectors and the U.S. recovering strongly.
“The U.S. will be okay. It is a self correcting mechanism and the U.S. still represents 25% of global Gross National Product,” said Ms Francis. “Canada snacks off the U.S. economy and I believe we have grown from being distant cousins with Americans to being siblings.”
In providing greetings at the OMA event, North Bay Mayor Vic Fedeli reinforced the message of Ms Francis. “We are so glad that you decided to come to North Bay for this conference,” said Mayor Fedeli. Mining is the heart and it is the soul of Northern Ontario and it plays a lead role in guiding our economic development.”
In concluding her remarks, Ms Francis said “We are the best mining country on our planet and we can’t lose that competitive advantage. Mining is the only thing we do better than everybody else and mining is going to become more important to Canada in the longer term.”