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September 11, 2018 | Consequences

A best-selling Canadian author of 14 books on economic trends, real estate, the financial crisis, personal finance strategies, taxation and politics. Nationally-known speaker and lecturer on macroeconomics, the housing market and investment techniques. He is a licensed Investment Advisor with a fee-based, no-commission Toronto-based practice serving clients across Canada.

Riding down the elevator shaft from the 68th floor of an office tower on Bay Street the news appeared above that a plane had hit a tall building in NYC. As the car arrived at the concourse level, the doors opened onto an incredible scene.

Hundreds – thousands, maybe – of people were standing in a mass around the banks of TV monitors which normally broadcast stock market news to the flocks of passersby in Toronto’s underground maze known as The Path. It was dead quiet. Just the blare of CNN and the astonishing pictures of the burning WTC. About then the second plane hit. The crowd gasped. Many wept openly. I was traveling with a cameraman, coming from an interview for a network business TV show I owned at the time. We captured the event, then headed above ground.

By this time all of the major bank towers circling King & Bay – the TD Centre, Commerce Court, First Canadian Place (BMO) and ScotiaPlaza – had police cars surrounding them, pulled up on the sidewalks and plaza. We were hundreds of miles away from New York, but it felt just over the horizon.

That night I sat with Dorothy and the Siberian on the small stoop outside our urban townhouse. ‘Listen,’ she said. And there was silence. The sky above – always noisily populated with craft of all sizes headed to or from two airports – was empty. In just a few hours the entire world had changed. And would remain so.

In the last 17 years terrorism has become mainstream and security measures ingrained into daily life. On my routine flights to Vancouver before Nine Eleven the pilots would sometimes invite me into the cockpit to traverse the mountains or experience a night landing at YVR. Airports were fun and exciting. Visitors could stroll into the Parliament Buildings in Ottawa. Muslims were just regular people.

The loss of innocence was palpable, as it had been when I was a kid and Kennedy was shot down. But this time the event was global, and felt like the unravelling of society as it had been known. Since then it’s not hard to argue that extremes have formed. Globalism and nationalism. The gulf between the wealthy and the rest. Left and right. Con and Lib. Free traders and protectionists. Men and MeToo. Trump and the world.

Seventeen years on there’s still a war in Afghanistan and ISIS has proven how terrorism can morph and almost turn into a country. The factors that bend people into haters and killers have probably not been addressed in any meaningful way. Divisions are worse, it seems, not bridged. The rise of populism in the US and Europe could pose the greatest threat to global stability since WW2. Simple tariffs turn into walls, and refugees – fleeing violence, poverty or climate change – are forced into militancy. People, after all, will do anything when cornered with their families.

In a world of contrasts, remember the eleventh of September. The consequences have only begun. Today I went to the local food bank and paid for some plumbing repairs they need. Then I wrote this. Now I will listen for airplanes on the way home.

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September 11th, 2018

Posted In: The Greater Fool

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