If you were to look down on Earth from space, you would see the drastic difference between two countries that once shared a common story. One country brims with light, radiant from its vibrant and bustling cities. The other is cloaked in utter darkness, dormant and cold.
Both countries started from much the same place, sharing a common history. Both experienced the fires of war and upheaval and were left with the task of reconstructing from rubble. However, the two countries chose very different paths forward.
The country to the north has chosen a path of isolation where the government is the master and people are pawns in the hands of a totalitarian dictator. The country to the south has chosen a democratic approach and the government empowers the people with education, freedom, and opportunity.
These countries are North Korea and South Korea.
After the Korean War came to a stop in 1953, each side had to choose a way forward, and the economic outcomes of their choices could not be more different.
North Korea does not generate enough electricity for each home to have a refrigerator, nor enough food to keep citizens well-fed. This is the result of a heavy-fisted military dictatorship that has robbed the people of the chance to pursue an education, capitalize on opportunity, and advance the economic wellbeing of their families and country.
Meanwhile, South Korea enjoys one of the world’s most advanced economies and is home to some of the world’s top brands, such as Samsung Electronics and Hyundai Motor Company. Those who call South Korea home, enjoy access to education, high-paying jobs, and boundless opportunity to be innovative and entrepreneurial. South Korea hosted the Summer Olympic Games in 1988 and the Winter Olympic Games in 2018.
The stark difference between these countries is the result of two very different leadership styles.
When leaders believe in their people and generate opportunity for them to use their gifts, talents, and abilities to prosper themselves, amazing things happen. But the opposite is also true. When leaders stifle their people and refuse to let them reach their full potential, the whole country suffers.
Throughout 2023 I had the privilege of speaking with many of you and I heard a combination of disappointment and frustration with the present, along with anticipation and hope for the future.
While many are angry about the current government’s ever-rising punitive carbon tax, the sky-rocketing cost of living, and Prime Minister Trudeau’s divisive political games, I also heard from those who want to build businesses, invent new technologies, help the less fortunate, and improve our society in new and creative ways.
You see, the Canadian people are alive and well. They just need a leader who will grant them freedom and opportunity—the lifeblood of this country’s democracy.
Imagine what Canada would look like in five or ten years from now if the leaders of this country put the people before government. Imagine what it would look like if agriculture was championed, energy was developed and stewarded, and a business-friendly environment was generated. Imagine what it would look like if the carbon tax was scrapped, a cart full of groceries was easily affordable, and our communities were safe.
This is the type of Canada we can create, not through more taxation, increased regulation, and pitting one region of our country against another, but by having a leader who believes in the commonsense of the common people and who grants them the freedom to succeed.