Revive Diefenbaker’s Northern Vision!

Ultimately, the opening up of the Arctic as the new frontier of human development requires that Canada learn from Russia’s current commitment to build the new nuclear powered domed city of Umka on the island of Kotelny only 1000 km from the North Pole. In order to meet the challenge of housing over 5000 workers and their families in the harsh arctic climate which requires internal climate control, waste evaporation, internal agricultural capacities and reliable energy, Russian designers have used the International Space as their model. This ISS design is important since the Arctic will play a vital role in the investigation of cosmic radiation, a galactic (and intergalactic) phenomenon driving both the evolution of the living and non-living material on the earth.

 

This model “city of the future” echoes back to the planned domed city of Frobisher Bay, Nunavut which Prime Minister John Diefenbaker had committed to build as an integral component of his 1958 “Northern Vision” campaign. Frobisher Bay’s design as produced by the Department of Public Works announced a domed city, encircled by 12 large towers housing 4500 workers and families connected by an underground network of tunnels.  In order to ensure that this city were truly one of the future, recreation facilities, shopping centers and other amenities were included to ensure that the comfort of Toronto would be something accessible even in the Arctic.

4-c- diefUltimately, Diefenbaker`s Northern Vision which incorporated a bold “Roads to Resources”, and frontier science program was to be funded by a re-chartered Bank of Canada. Diefenbaker’s brilliant financing approach took a page from Alexander Hamilton and Lincoln’s Greenback system which involved public bonds issued by Canada’s National Bank in order to connect both old maturing WW2 Victory Bonds as well as new bonds directed towards Canada’s development. Diefenbaker’s vision for a true national credit system was encapsulated in his 1958 radio announcement:

“This, the largest financial project in our history, offers an opportunity to all holders of victory bonds which were purchased as an act of patriotic faith during the war years, to re-invest them for the greater development of greater Canada. These monies that were advanced during the days of war, and which contributed to the victory, we now ask to be made available to speed the pace of peaceful progress and the program of national development… The action we are taking will make it possible for our nation to embark on a new era of peacetime prosperity far and beyond anything we have ever known.”

While this National Credit and Northern Vision program was sabotaged by a coordinated operation from London using British asset, Bank of Canada Governor James Coyne, Diefenbaker’s strategy is just as applicable today as it was in 1958.

Today Frobisher Bay remains the paragon of northern development, and complements the multi trillion dollar development policy of the Trans Eurasian Belt Development which Russian Railways President Vladimir Yakunin described on March 23, must be an “inter-state, inter-civilization, project. It should be an alternative to the current (neo-liberal) model, which has caused a systemic crisis. The project should be turned into a world ‘future zone’, and it must be based on leading, not catching, technologies.”

Background Material

CRC Bulletin- Nov. 2013: The Arctic: A Northern Vision for the 21st Century

John Diefenbaker and the Sabotage of the Northern Vision