Right before the federal elections, Quebec’s Liberal provincial government decided on doing more business in the north and cash in on the resources. This quickly led to a grand effort to design the north into an economic and protected area – sounds like an oxymoron? This also created the largest planning sessions north of 50 by First Nations peoples – namely Cree, Naskapi and Inuit – to prepare for what looks like a long-term commitment towards northern development.

Then the election came and a new party got elected in the federal ridings of the north, suddenly the red and blue political landscape turned completely orange. Now Orange Crush ranks right up there as a favourite drink in Quebec, next to Cinquante. Despite what happened, the provincial government just went right ahead and announced its great plan for the north, mixed right alongside our versions of the future.

A resounding declaration from all First Nations north of 50 stating “inclusion not exclusion” and all that jazz. But little do we know that this is most likely the only move we have for new development. Back in the day, new development meant getting up and fighting for the land, looking out for the environment, saving the forest and waters. Now it seems this fight is still the same, except that the government is on our side – environmentally speaking, of course.

In a promise to keep much of the north safe from development, except for non-intrusive tourism, the government has realized that not all resources should be exchanged for money, even to the highest bidder, unless you’re Chinese. Apparently, today, there are very few natural mineral resource companies and lands that are not owned by Chinese companies. The land we protected from government and big business is now at the mercy of a resource-hungry nation, with more than enough millionaires to populate Montreal and Toronto. (I don’t want to include Ottawa, because that might insinuate that people who work there make a lot of money, which they staunchly deny on the CPAC channel.)

Speaking of CPAC, it’s interesting to note that a lot of information can be gotten from this channel given the number of people we’ve elected from all the ridings across the country. However, I usually watch CPAC when I can’t fall asleep and the endless whining and the list of empty promises send me off to la-la-land. Insomniacs take note!

Where was I? Oh yes, protecting the land. I’ll put it this way: the new developments in the north will pave the way for new opportunities, new jobs and a new future for the young ones. They will benefit if we get them ready for this in time. They will appreciate this new economy. Let me explain… whenever I tell some story about the ’70s and ’80s, the kids roll their eyes and say, “Listen daddio, it’s not like that anymore. It’s different than it was when you were young, a long time ago, that’s sooo last century.”

But when I say new technology is coming, faster better and cheaper, that’s when they perk up. The truth is, the youth are interested in the future and not the past as much and I’m sure that their vision of the future is much more than what we ever dreamed of…