N H I S W E B S I T E , P E T E R P O C K L I N G T O N S H A R E S A N A N E C - d o t e a b o u t h i s fi r s t e n t r e p r e n e u r i a l v e n t u r e : a t a g e fi v e , h e p i c k e d c h e r r i e s , p u t t h e m i n j a r s w i t h w a t e r O and sold them to neighbours as his mother’s preserves. Some might consider this a metaphor for his years in Al- berta. After arriving in Edmonton from Ontario in 1971, he made money selling cars and speculating on real es- tate. Buying and selling dozens of businesses, he made headlines during the ugly strike at his Gainer’s meatpack- ing plant (which drove the company into receivership) and for infamously “selling” Wayne Gretzky to the Los Angeles Kings as owner of the Oilers in 1988. Pockling-
ALBERTA VENTURE | THE CENTURY
“The individual always has their own choice as to what they will do with their life.”
ton now lives in California, where he is involved with a golf club company and medical products firm, and races a jet boat named Free Enterprise. The following excerpt is from a 1982 speech he delivered to the Canadian Wom- en’s Club in Edmonton during his unsuccessful run for leadership of the federal PCs.
These days, free enterprise has been getting a lot of criticism in
certain quarters. And it’s about time somebody spoke out in its behalf....
Any society which attempts to regulate enterpr se – while at the same time it attempts to supply everyone with things – is a society which is bound to fail. Democratic capitalism does not strive to provide everyone with an equal number of things – but only with an equal degree of opportunity. The individual always has their own choice as to what they will do with their life....
This has always been my understanding of the Canadian w a y o f l i f e . B u t t o d a y , w e a r e a p e o p l e w h o h a v e b e e n m a r c h i n g
further and further down a socialist path of state control. And we’re not marching anymore – we’re stumbling!
It s not the job of government to act as big brother to a whole population. There’s a big difference between helping the little guy – the guy in need – and so orchestrating h s life that it’s virtu- ally impossible for him not be in need. The responsibility for the person in need can not be solely the responsibility of government. Among a free people who believe in free enterpr se, some of the
responsibility for those in need must be taken up by the famil ,
the church, the community... and the individual himself. Broadl ,
what I advocate s that each individual must be given the chance to develop h s own life: according to h s own desires; according to
h s own aspirations; according to h s own abilities.
If the government contro s your life, you are being d senfran-
ch sed from your own destiny.