Year of the Tiger

Happy Year of the Tiger. Chinese New Year was celebrated this past weekend. In honour of this day, I’d like to ask readers to ponder something. During the recent Climate Summit in Copenhagen, China was listed as a developing nation while Canada took its seat among the developed nations.

What is the barometer used to measure who is developed and who is developing? Actually, it might be more appropriate to use a stopwatch or a speedometer. China will have 42 high speed rail lines by 2012, that’s in two years my friends. Canada on the other hand has 0 right now and probably will have 0 in 2012. The bullet trains running right now can average speeds of 345 kmh (215 mph). The journey from the southern coastal manufacturing region of Guangzhou to Wuhan inland can be accomplished in just over three hours. That distance? 1064 kliometers or 664 miles.

Yes, I heard the debates before on this. But Canada doesn’t have the population or the money to support this...blah, blah, blah. There is enough traffic in Canada’s highly populated Windsor to Quebec City corridor to justify a high speed rail line. Think of the jobs that could be created and the emissions saved with a modern electric railway. Bombardier has the technology to build these and yet it’s the other countries that buy their spanking new train sets while we trudge along in ancient hardware.

So the argument is how can a country with nothing close to this achievement be given a place on the developed list? Alright, I know there is more to a country than high speed trains but China is riding a huge wave of diversified economic development. They are no longer the country that just fills Walmart’s shelves. They are pursuing great innovations in green technology by building solar panels and wind turbines. Yes Mr. McGuinty they foster their own companies to build these not farm out the work to Samsung. China erected one of the world’s great sport venues with the Bird's Nest during the Beijing Olympics having the vision to hold an international competition and draw in the world’s great architects. At the North American International Automobile Show, I looked over their BYD (Build Your Dream) cars. Not too shabby. And they are one of many car companies poised to enter the world market. They are not just capable of making things but completely competent in designing them. And they will get better and better at this…remember Japan anyone? Their great industry began by outsourcing design to Europeans but quickly developed their own amazing creative talent pool.

I would encourage Canadians to get out of neutral and join the fast train before the tiger’s tail disappears into the distance.

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