Canada is world-renowned for its high-quality post-secondary education, with the University of Waterloo's engineering co-op program at its core. In fact, the Waterloo area is also now home to the Perimeter Institute, a globally recognized leader in theoretical physics graduate studies and research. And while Canada has always churned out top engineering talent, today it's also producing outstanding technical entrepreneurs.
Our country has an international reputation for producing highly-educated, innovative superstars in modern tech, industry and entrepreneurial spheres. As companies like Google and Communitech have reshaped global connectivity and made oodles of cash doing so, you'd think we'd be hearing a lot more about this exciting and promising sector from Canada's government.
But we don't, do we? Harper's signature economic piece has been the Oil Sands.
Instead of promoting Canada's technological and educational expertise, Harper has focused on the Keystone pipeline, improving access to foreign markets for our natural resources and reducing the cost of and regulation commitment to labour so as to compete for the sorts of traditional manufacturing jobs that have migrated to Bangladesh.
Canadians (particularly young ones) are being told to give up big dreams, skip out on advanced education and focus on learning the sorts of trades-skills that can support them as they fill in supportive roles to the resource-driven economy that lines the pockets of foreign oil barons.
There's a dissonance here, of course, but don't count on our PM to be looking for it.
That would be a bit too much like committing sociology.