For the past forty years, I have been (jealously) comparing myself to Peter Munk.
Who is Peter Munk?
Who is Peter Munk?
He's one of the most successful business leaders in Canada, and one of the most influential in the world.
Peter Munk has done it all, from high-end electronics to real estate to resource development. As the founder and chairman of Barrick Gold Corporation, he leads the world's largest gold mining company.
He founded and was Chairman and CEO of Southern Pacific Hotel Corporation, the largest hotel and restaurant chain in Australasia in the 1970s
He's also a prominent philanthropist: since 1992, Peter Munk and his Foundation have given more than $80 million towards education and health care projects, $60 million of it in 2006 alone.
Mr. Munk was on CBC TV tonight, interevied by Peter Mansbridge, another prodigy of sorts, who, through no education at all, is nevertheless pretty well top dog at the CBC. Sheer, coldblooded talent, I would say.
I had actually been an admirer of both Messrs Munk and Mansbridge. They were both focused, unflappable no matter what, and very, very bright.
That's until I heard Mr. Munk's take on Canada, a country to which he, like my parents had immigrated.
He seemed to call this cold and confused Displaced Persons camp as the land of milk and honey.
...But just north of Toronto, at a Lake Couchiching Conference on Canada's prospects, serious intellectuals were wondering if there was such a thing as Canadian culture at all. ..If there was such a thing as Canadian identity even.
Seems that we (culturally?) few have given so much to so many that there seems little left.
Little factions spring up. My group is more entitled than your group-- all under the shibboleth of multiculturalism.
What in hell is Canadian identity anyway?
It used to be bankers and square dealers.
It used to be good politicians, who, just after the Second World War made Canada the best place in which to live.
It used to be seerslike Marshall McLuhan and Edmund Carpenter and Northrop Frye.
This all seemed to go by the wayside when Prime Minister Brian Mulroney said, in l984, "Don't you know this country is for sale?"
I once drove through (or rather ferried) through Baie Comeau, Mr. Mulroneys neck of the woods, across the wide Gulf of St. Lawrence from the Gaspe'.
A town full of Irishmen. They had a song there:
"Her father was a brewer
"But she was a f*cking hooer.
Here was Mr. Munk pontificating on all the good things about Canada.
Sure, he made tens of millions here by his business talent. He gives tens of millions to charity.
But in describing this sorry-ass Gulag of a country as the land of milk and honey is indeed looking at the world through rose-coloured glasses. The rich see one thing, the poor another.
I too have laboured mightily. I too have given tens of thousands of dollar to the arts...Not, of course, on Mr. Munk's scale, but I gave enough.
And today, I dumpster dive.
Where is this mythical land of milk and honey?
They are using charity money to have a conference on it.
"Is there such a thing as Canadian Identity"?