Retired veteran gives his thoughts on German economic success and reasons why Canada remains so far in debt

By on November 14, 2017

Dear Editor:

When I arrived in West Germany in October 1961 for the first of my two NATO tours, I was part of the reinforcement troops being added to the Canadian NATO brigade, due to the Berlin Wall Crisis that occurred in August of that year.

At Checkpoint Charlie in Berlin, before the wall was built, U.S. Army and Russian tanks stood “toe to toe” from each other.

One shot fired could have started World War 3. Canadian troops did not serve in West Berlin; we were deployed on the eastern edge of the Rhine/Ruhr industrial complex on the Soest plain ( NATO’s front line) where if the war had started, Soviet and Warsaw Pact armoured troops would have had to go through us.

NATO staff officers located the Canadians in a tough spot because of our record in the Boer War in South Africa, First World War, Second World War and the Korean War.

During the years from 1955 to 68, before Pierre Elliott Trudeau became Canada’s Prime Minister, we were considered to be the pride and envy of the alliance.      

I worked in an infantry battalion dental clinic – there were four of us. I soon discovered how popular the West German lottery was. A person could play the lotto for three Marks (75 cents).

Each week an average of six winners won 500,000 Marks or $125,000 Canadian dollars.

The Germans ran the lottery to move the money supply through the economy. It was a powerful incentive to drive the market.

There were 10 or 12 winners who won 200,000 marks and one million people won three Marks. One of my mates won 20,000 Marks or $5,000 Canadian dollars. He invested the money and bought a house after returning to Canada.

My salary in those days was $150 per month.

The German port of Hamburg has 35,000 deep sea ship arrivals annually. A total of 8,100 oil and gas tankers arrive in Rotterdam, Holland annually.

The German people save their money and they pay cash for everything they buy except the mortgage on their house. That is one reason why Germany has very little long-term debt.

It is also the biggest reason why Germany has one of the strongest economies on the planet.

As long as Canadians continue to elect the poor-quality mayors, MLAs and MPs, which has become commonplace, we will never get out of debt.

Imagine how quickly the economy would grow if 60 people won $1 million every week, instead of just one winner.

Only in Canada, eh?

The people in charge of the lotteries in this country could not run a peanut stand.

When Pierre Elliott Trudeau, was elected in 1968, Canada’s long-term debt was $16.8 billion. The World War Two debt was paid off by 1955. Our dollar was worth $1.06 cents U.S.

Before Trudeau, Canada was one of the most stable nations worldwide. However, Trudeau’s Liberals and Brian Mulroney’s Conservatives had borrowed and spent Canada into long-term debt with huge compound interest payments involved, debt.

As a result, the International Monetary Fund had reduced the value of our dollar to only 62 cents compared to the American dollar.

Only in Canada, eh?

Ernie Slump

Canadian Army (retired)

Penticton, B.C.


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