" Our banks were the only ones, worldwide, that never took a single dollar of government money."Yet our productivity is shamefully low, a fact I learned while doing my MBA outside of Canada, many years ago. Sherry says, "Our rate of return is not as high as in other countries, and the gap has widened to the highest level in history."
Sherry pointed out another fact that disgusted my MBA professor teaching unionism - America had a very low union rate. As Peter Drucker pointed out frequently, Marxism and Unionism was built on the back of the unhappy, poor, overworked Proletarian worker. Well, in the USA, with a high school education, you could earn a huge salary in manufacturing and mining. That's when the unions and Marxism lost its force because well paid workers would rather go home and watch the World Cup soccer with a cold one than fight what exactly.
Canada does have a higher unionization rate, which made my professor happier. I was startled when a visiting productivity expert told my MBA class that the laziest workers he had seen were in Canada and worked for a union.
There are three elements of productivity growth according to the Bank of Montreal report:
- investment in machinery and equipment,
- human capital development and
- openness to trade and investment.
All three points are debated constantly by business owners, government and interest groups but I thought that the great success story, Open Text's Tom Jenkins summed up the issue for the politicians. Waterloo region has lost thousands of jobs, yet Tom says there are over 2,000 jobs unfilled in the tech industry.
"We're a tale of two cities, in some ways. Parts have the highest unemployment rates in the country, and yet in other parts, we can't find enough people to fill the jobs."Here is where Sherry Cooper does lay out the ugly truth to Canadians and I have to agree with this unpopular view: In the future, Canadians will have to look to new markets. One of the things that make us lazy is that we live next to the largest market in the world, but its not a growth area. We are limited by our ambition and drive."
I agree with the lid on ambition. It has something that has taken me a long time to understand but I can see the reasoning. Canada has a high percentage of family owned businesses which are quite distinct from professional corporations. The thinking of a family business owner goes along the lines of, "I have a nice lifestyle. In a family business, I can work with my kids. How great is that? Why change?" Well, unfortunately, change is usually forced upon us and I have seen too many businesses decide too late that now would be the time to take on a private equity partner.
Besides, it would be good for your son or daughter to be exposed to the best in the world and have the family business protected. Sherry Cooper would probably agree.