Bulldozers clanked by on the rough snowy road hewed out of the Nemaska hinterland as truck after truck rolled by in succession, all in a hurry to get the job done and get back to haul the natural gravel. I looked from the back of a heavy duty pickup and listened to the story of how this road came to be and other adventures of horrendous construction mishaps and woes. I wondered if this was the kind of encouragement I needed when I was carefully establishing working relationships, then I quickly realized that the money is good when the going is good and that the money can slip out the door at alarming rates when Murphy’s Law kicks in, if anything can go wrong, it will go wrong, usually at the wrong time and the wrong place. But such is the case for all large projects, like EM-1.
I saw plenty of opportunity and it was knocking hard at the door. Open up and let me in cause there’s money to be made in them thar hills. If I may sound like a capitalist and an opportunist (and all the other misnomers that can be thrown at me,) I really do believe that we should have done this a long time ago. How many projects have slipped by under our noses. Let see now, there’s LG1-4, LA1-2, Opemiska, etcetera … etcetera. A few didn’t get by like Wemindji dam (good going guys). Heck, we’d be rich by now, tending to business and the remainder of the garden.
It kind of reminds me of a story I read about some tribe living near Australia, where they lived in rather nice natural surroundings, then got booted out by settlers and given a tiny island off shore, not much more of a rocky slab on the Pacific Ocean, somewhere down under. Then in recent history, some sort of valuable mineral or gem (or even thousands of years of accumulated bird crap) was discovered on their island and needless to say, the harbingers of money swooped around and devised many ways for the islanders to mine or extract the valuable materials and sell it on the world’s markets.
Many islanders quickly became entranced with idea that money could be
made and that they were literally worth millions for each inhabitant. When the time came to actually get to work, the islanders discovered that the process of work was hard and tiresome. The money harbingers quickly learned that getting people to get up and grind away down some mine pit or quarry was just as hard as doing the job itself. The islanders soon became the opposite of the slavery trade of old. There they were, sitting around at home (or generally enjoying life in a very laid back fashion) and collecting steady revenues off their investments. Meanwhile, the money harbingers had to get down and mine the precious material themselves and pay the poor people in the process. In a sense, there was no real reason to create employment to make money for themselves, since all the work was done for them in the dark sweaty mineshafts and quarries by very colonists who told them to leave their homeland. It is the exact opposite of a cotton field. Wow.
Of course, idle days and idle hands do not make for a happy and healthy society and soon many peoples suffered the same as any other affluent society including the trials and tribulations of the rich and famous. Abuse of power, money and wealth became commonplace. But are we like that? No. We like to work for our share, as work leaves a sense of accomplishment and tangible realities are easier to hang on to, rather than the lost dreams of the rich and famous and the empty promises that echo around election time. This project is something I can sink my teeth into and take a piece of the pie and taste it too. Even the crumbs are good.
As I left the construction area and headed home back on the ice covered James Bay Highway, a certain radio station (WHAM 1180 from Rochester New York) had a right wing talk show called the Savage Nation. At first, I couldn’t believe what I was hearing, that someone could say those things on air, but the more I listened, the more I realized that this guy (Steve Savage) had something to say and he didn’t mince his words and he meant them. But that’s another story.