Publisher’s viewpoint: Where are we heading?

Meeting with a Tuareg nomad in the Sahara Desert in southern Algeria, in 1976

By Mark Buckshon

Publisher, Ontario Construction News

Where are we heading?

It’s a simple question, one we apply often in our lives, both in short-term (literal) travel situations, and in longer-range vision, planning and projections.

Individuals who live for the day and don’t think or worry too much about the future often do quite well. It doesn’t hurt to go with the flow, and enjoy life’s experiences. If you are in your early 20s, I think it is more important to experience the world than to worry about your retirement plans.

I’m glad I did that, accumulating savings and then blowing them on seemingly impossible, but in fact highly rational travel and working experiences. The moments live on in memory: When I chatted with Tuareg nomads in the Sahara, rode on the back of a beer truck in Rwanda, or processed news headlines in Bulawayo, turning future Zimbabwe leader Robert Mugabe into an “External terrorist leader based in Mozambique” to comply with Rhodesian censorship rules.

None of these experiences directly helped me to operate a construction news publishing business for three decades, but they have taught me a lot about vision, diversity, and perception – helpful in many decisions over the years.

So, will the current boom turn to bust? It probably will at some time, and then things will recover. Should we be careful about our business and contractural obligations? Certainly, and right now it makes a whole lot of sense to build some inflation (and even hyperinflation) concerns into our contracts. Should we invest/save enough money that if there are business setbacks, we still can reach old age with enough money not to worry about our comfort and health? Sure, but that doesn’t mean we need to live in misery today out of fear for future deprivations.

It is possible, indeed, to live in the present and retain a vision and perceptions for the future. If you get it right, when you become older, your memories will bring smiles to your face – and you can still see a bright adventure ahead, regardless of what happens in the world.

Mark Buckshon is president of the Construction News and Report Group of Companies, which publishes Ottawa Construction News. He can be reached by email at






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