Volume 92, Issue 72
Thursday, February 4, 1999
Dyer changes in Canada
© Randy Quan/Gazette
ALAS, I AM SLAIN. Gwynne Dyer, Genie Award winner and journalist, paid a visit to Western yesterday to speak about power, politics and the changing economy. During the talk it was discovered he was really an aspiring actor in disguise.
By Dave Yasvinski
Gwynne Dyer spoke to a full house in the University Community Centre's McKellar Room yesterday about Canada's place in the changing global power structure and economy.
Dyer explained there has been a transformation in the way the world works because of technological advances, such as the internet, which allow people to communicate faster and more efficiently. This has had the effect of allowing non-governmental groups to pressure governments world-wide on a larger scale and enact change much faster than was the case in the past.
"This is politics through the internet. It's a phenomenon of the last two or three years but it is already producing very concrete results," Dyer said.
He said this process was helped along by the departure of a lot of the conditions which used to freeze political action and keep people in boxes. The global coalitions of the past no longer exist and most of the totalitarian regimes are also gone. "What you have is a relatively open field for global action and you have the means by which that global action can be carried out."
The emergence of the global economy does have a couple of downsides for Canada, Dyer said, one being that the industrial base of the country is steadily moving south which could suggest a future of diminished prosperity and influence. However, the Canadian government made one of its single most important decisions in 1967, when they expanded the country's immigration rules and opened the door to people from around the world, he added.
"Our ace in the hole is we are an ethnically diverse country. Most of the areas in which we must now compete are those where the key ingredient is creativity."
Dyer explained the maximum creativity will emerge in societies which have the maximum diversity to bring to the task. "Anything that can go into the mix is here and I think that is going to bring us market share. We will see a transformation in our position in the world because of what we did on the immigration front."
This ethnic diversity will also lead to an end of the old French/British conflict which has paralysed Canada in the past. Over time this quarrel will be forgotten as the definition of who "we" are changes.
"[Canada] is a country that will be more at peace with itself than it has been and a country which has extraordinary influence in this world and very considerable prosperity as a result of the fact that it is a forerunner, one of the pioneers, of the global society," he said.
Copyright © The Gazette 1999