Arctic farming

Apparently, I am not the first to notice that a substantial portion of the state in which I am a national (“Canada”) is uninhabited. I think the last person to notice was the late John George Diefenbaker, a politician who pursued a “northern vision.” Visions seldom outlast the sunrise, but as well, Dief-the-Chief was a self-confessed Tory, therefore quickly run out of office by the Grit voting machine. (It did not flourish on smearing and lies to the extent that it does today, but even in the ‘fifties and ‘sixties, that was the essence of the Liberal Party.)

The Arctic, by which I refer to all those latitudes above 60 degrees North, is prevented from inhabitation and economic growth by government edicts. It is almost entirely “federal” land, on which any sort of investment, except large socialist-capitalist megaprojects with substantial political kickbacks, is legally unwelcome. The people who live there, despite the cold, owe their existence to government subsidy.

Sometimes, supposing the will, I have imagined how it would be done. How would we make Canada “north of 60” a magnet for immigration? Successful political reform will require violence, or an election like the one they had in Argentina recently, in which the immutable √©lite is exterminated in a scrupulously vegetarian way. But then what?

My own vision involves glasshouses. Under the sun of the arctic summer, a tremendous amount of growth could occur, of vegetables and the like. (Even salads — lordy, lordy.) By design, these glasshouses would float upon the permafrost, while being anchored by geothermal pipes. Once passive solar energy was lost to the long, dark season, micro-aggressive solar panels would continue to shine light on the winter seedbeds. Persons and livestock might also benefit from geothermal warmth.

The whole strategy would be clinched by allowing people to own things, and to trade, without the intervention of “planners” and environmental bureaux. Further encouragement could come with a universal tax break for the North, to be gradually extended through the rest of the Dominion.