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The great themes of Canadian history are as follows: Keeping the Americans out, keeping the French in, and trying to get the Natives to somehow disappear.
Ian McGregor, President & CEO of the fiscally challenged, gov’t-backed Sturgeon Refinery is a mechanical engineer with a fetish for machines and technology. At his idyllic ranch west of Cochrane, McGregor, 67, a man who describes the sound of machinery as “music to my ears,” has built an impressive, subterranean 20,000-sq.ft. “Museum of Making” where private audiences, including local schoolchildren and the invited political guests at his annual Stampede barbecues, can view an array of late 19th- and early-20th--century machinery—from lathes and linotype machines to steam engines and vintage electric cars—restored, curated, and professionally displayed.
For those of a mechanical bent, it is a fascinating monument to man’s limitless ingenuity in devising every more efficient means of making life easier, cheaper, and more profitable. For those not so mechanically inclined, however. McGregor’s personal doo-dad museum can seem a bit weird and obsessive: an Old Curiosity shop for an eccentric multimillionaire.
Which brings us to the yin and yang of the Sturgeon Refinery, Canada’s largest construction project and McGregor’s personal monument to the “making.”
As a capper to the tumultuous day in BC politics on Thursday, we had half expected BC Lieutenant Governor Judith Guichon to favour Premier Christy Clark by dissolving the gov’t election. Guichon, after all, is a ranch wife from deep in the province’s hillbilly country and was appointed by Conservative Prime Minister Stephen Harper. Not a fan, one could safely presume, of NDP Leader John Horgan or Green Leader Andrew Weaver, whose allied parties had combined to pass the non-confidence motion against Clark’s Liberal gov’t, by 44 votes to 42—the first time in BC history a gov’t has lost a non-confidence vote. Short-lived Liberal speaker Steve Thompson abstained, since his single vote would not have made any more difference to the outcome than, as it turned out, did Clark’s NDP-friendly Throne Speech the week before, or her rousing, last ditch speech on its merits—hikes to welfare, a $1B child care subsidy, a vow to end “child poverty,” campaign finance reform—delivered in the Legislature on Thursday afternoon.And so it came down to one of two decisions by that rarest of decision-makers, the LG: