The Liberal Economic “Plan”

Here’s a couple of key passages of note from Ignatieff’s speech yesterday to the Toronto Board of Trade: “Liberals believe that growth won’t happen on its own without a government that leads” and “a Liberal government will grow our economy in three fundamental ways…”

The three pillars enumerated were: 1) “standing up for Canadian entrepreneurs, Canadian technology and Canadian know-how”; 2) “investing in Canadian people in every region of the country”; and, 3) “going where the growth is… India, China and the other emerging economies.”

Snore me a river.

Sadly, this insipid dissertation didn’t actually seem to be much of a “plan” as advertised so much as it was an ideological statement of purpose and faith-based belief, but with precious little detail fleshing it out. How exactly is this at all different in any way, shape or form from what the Conservative government is currently promoting or that successive Liberal administrations of the past have wishfully advocated?

Look, I get the whole idea that Liberals part ways with our Conservative friends when it comes to sincerely believing in the government’s role in the economy, but the plain fact of the matter is that the Harper administration has intervened on a truly massive scale across the board since coming into office (hence the crushing deficit we’re now presently facing), so where exactly is the daylight between Harper and Ignatieff on this score?

52 Comments

Filed under 2009 Election, Economy, Liberal Party of Canada, Michael Ignatieff, STEPHEN HARPER Govrnment of Canada

52 responses to “The Liberal Economic “Plan”

  1. Anonymous John

    One of the reasons the Conservatives are pulling ahead is because Ignatieff is failing to clearly identify how a Liberal government would be different from a Harper government – and trips to India and China don’t add up to a whole lot of difference. Maybe there just isn’t any difference between the two men.

  2. It’s a speech, not a policy announcement. I would think they’d wait until an election is underway. Afterall, the CPC’rs are spending 24/7 trying to find stuff to trash the Libs.

    Look at Aaron Wherry’s blog, Macleans – James Moore, Jason Kenney and snarky Tim Powers are spending their time twittering partisan shots and comments on the Libs.

  3. Sandi — Yeah, I know it’s just a speech, but it would sure be nice if Ignatieff could put some meat on those bones, quit being so cleverly smug and instead passionately commit to something that could get people sufficiently fired up to actually give half a damn about what he’s purporting to stand for — which, I have to say, quite frankly, doesn’t seem all that much different from the lukewarm corporate swill that Harper and his bunch of loathsome camp followers are soft-pedaling these days.

  4. Jim

    “Liberals believe that growth won’t happen on its own without a government that leads”

    If this was actually the case, then by rights, would communism not be the leading economic model?

    Beyond subsidies and tariffs, which are really just pork and penalties, I can’t see how a government can actually be responsible for economic growth. The Tories suggest that extremely low corporate tax is the method, and although that may increase the actual number of businesses and raise their profit margin, it does not guarantee actual economic growth, unless an enormous amount of foreign investment can attracted into our country.

    Yet there are those that recoil at the idea of foreign ownership…pretty tough to please everyone.

    I am OK with point number 2…investing in the knowledge and training of our workforce is always money well spent.

    Point 1 has me a little worried…does that mean that the Libs would block the legal sales of Canadian companies, like the 3rd tier, has-been, Nortel? Cuz if that’s what they mean, then I am against pouring taxpayer bux into rusting hulks like GM, Chrysler and Nortel.

    As for point 3, I think the CPC is all over the worldwide free trade thing. Even with countries like Colombia…with which, Iggy seems to have no problem…much to the chagrin of many LPC members.

  5. Jim — Every government invests in the economy (whether they like it or not), so on its face, what Ignatieff is proposing is really nothing new or different at all. I do think however that there’s a legitimate philosophical argument to be had here over this notion of “leadership” and whether government should be actually carrying the ball forward in some way as opposed to simply facilitating business development, smoothing the path, and easing the way for companies seeking to profitably succeed.

  6. Very well put R/T. My blog today – from an admittedly different viewpoint, said much the same.

    Michael. Stand for something. Anything.

    What would get my attention – as I blogged.. scrap the poorly considered universal daycare proposal, and suggest a broad, national, school meal program. While it certainly may trample on Provincial jurisdiction, it would be a demonstrable and immediate benefit to millions of Canadian children.. assuring two decent meals for every child in this country.

    If your mark of distinction is government intervention in family, maybe do it in a relatively direct and beneficial fashion. Helps all Canadian children, simple, and effective – has never appeared on a conservative playbook and doesn’t result in some massive increase in the civil service.. just a few oatmeal and sandwich makers.. hell, parents would probably volunteer.

  7. Moebius

    Would you like him to freely admit that the only way out of the deficit mess (by any government) is to increase taxes and reduce spending?

    “Growing out of deficits” is not particularly likely in the near future.

  8. RT:

    I think the speech was designed to get the media to re-thing their narrative of “The Liberals and Iggy haven’t talked anything about policy”, and if you read this list of quotes, it seems to have initially worked:

    In their own words: Ignatieff’s speech

    “In the end, there is a coherence to Mr. Ignatieff’s vision, and Canadians need to hear Prime Minister Stephen Harper enunciate his own.” (Globe and Mail editorial, September 22, 2009)

    “Michael Ignatieff’s economic policy address on Monday had all the activist hallmarks of Liberal Red Books of old.” (Globe and Mail editorial, September 22, 2009)

    “Michael Ignatieff struck the right tone in his speech on the economy.” (Toronto Star editorial, September 22, 2009)

    “Ignatieff’s solution is to make the economy so productive that tax revenues provided by economic growth would take care of most of Ottawa’s budgetary shortfall.” (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, September 22, 2009)

    “This not-unreasonable position is classic Liberal centre ground.” (Thomas Walkom, Toronto Star, September 22, 2009)

    “The single most important difference between the Liberals and the Conservatives, he said, is that the Grits believe government can make a difference.” (Jonathan Jenkins, Sun Media, September 22, 2009)

    I’m not going to be too hard on Iggy and the Liberals over merely releasing general policy initiatives right now.. because everyone knows in the Liberal strategy room the distortions that were allowed to take place on The Green Shift when it was released months prior to an election.

    If its going to be a general policy discussion with a few specifics here and there thrown in, with the meat and bones of specifics released in a general election campaign, that’s fine with me.. and it may be fine with the media, if this batch of editorials is any indicator. They just have to keep that up for other policy platforms.

  9. Ti-Guy

    You have to go back and compare what Harper was promising Canadians just before he was elected. For some reason, my mind draws a complete blank. Something about transparency, accountability and I guess, lower taxes and smaller government, perhaps?

    Help me out here, Rob.

  10. Rob — At the risk of getting into some bizarre argument over federal and provincial rights, I really think that funding school meal programs is beyond the ambit of the national government. If some measure of tax dollars, for example, through disbursements from a dedicated fund of some kind could be directed towards such an initiative targeted at communities in need, it may well be a commendable endevour, but I don’t see that as the role of the federal government. For much the same reason I was kind of dubious about the Liberals’ national childcare scheme (not sure if that’s still on the table with Ignatieff) that was always a bit problematic and confusing on the implementation front when it came to matters of jurisdiction.

  11. Ted

    Red:

    With all due respect, my friend, but did you read or watch the speech? It was full of meat and details.

    The speech had four parts. First a surgical attack on the many things that Harper has done wrong with nary a mention of “scary” or “hidden agenda”, how generally and philosophically Liberals are different. Second, he spoke about standing up for Canadian entrepreneurs, Canadian technology, and Canadian know-how. Third, he spoke about investing in the Canadian people in every region of the country. And fourth, he spoke about going where the growth is—India and China and other emerging economies.

    Of course their were general statements. But these were just introductory comment that was followed by specific pieces of action. Like permanently transferring the gas tax to municipalities. Or restarting the successful “Team Canada” trade missions. Funding for Pacific ports to make BC the trade gateway instead of India and China. Etc. etc. etc.

    Now, he has not said on what date those trade missions will go, what conference rooms they meet in and what hotels they will stay at. He also hasn’t said how many metres long those ports will be. And he hasn’t presented us with a draft bill for the tax transfer and legislative implementation timeline. But you have to leave that kind of stuff for major election campaign platforms, right?

    Add to that High speed rail between major urban centres, national standards for EI, etc. and there is no doubt that he has already put out more detail and policy, in addition to vision and policy priorities, than Harper did before the 2006 election.

    The Conservatives have pounded this “no policy” meme so hard over the last 9 months that it sometimes seems it will take a full 300 page dissertation and budget report to counter.

  12. Ted

    Point of that late night rant is just that he has put out lots of policy already. Clearly from what has been taking place over the last two weeks, they are in the process of rolling out more on scheduled dates.

    So let’s start talking about the policy instead. And whether these are the right policies. And how they contrast with the rudderless Conservatives under Harper.

  13. counter-coulter

    1) “standing up for Canadian entrepreneurs, Canadian technology and Canadian know-how”;

    I hope he’s not talking about some sort of Canada First policy because that would be isolationism or communism or socialism or some sort of evil plot.

  14. Ti-Guy

    would be isolationism or communism or socialism or some sort of evil plot.

    Nazism: Kanada Führst! (Canada, You Lead!…in bad German).

  15. Jim

    Ti-Guy
    September 22, 2009 at 5:19 pm
    would be isolationism or communism or socialism or some sort of evil plot.

    Nazism: Kanada Führst! (Canada, You Lead!…in bad German).

    Why do you even post when all you add is hyperbole and outright insults and challenges?

    You truly are the enbodiment of what is wrong with political discourse in this country.

    Citizens built this country and with honest, nonpartisan discussion I believe we could repair alot of its ills.

    It is not about party loyalty or stripe, it is about actual concern for our problems…obviously that is way over your head.

    I have been away from the discussions around the blogs for quite some time, and honestly my small “c” conservatism has been getting smaller over the last several months…but comments from a mouth-breathing, rabid Lib like Ti do nothing but get my back up.

    Try being an adult an offering up more to the conversation than your (not so) witty retorts.

  16. Ti-Guy

    Lighten up; it was a dumb joke.

  17. counter-coulter

    Lighten up Jim. T-G’s post is just a riff on my post; which, in turn, was a riff on all the incessant hand-wringing that went on in Canada and elsewhere about how the Buy American provision within the economic stimulus plan was a secret plot that was going to be the ruination of all global trade everywhere.

  18. jkg

    Hello Red,

    I have been lurking here for some time, and I thought I might just drop a line occasionally with some thoughts, however elementary. I think Iggy’s speech serves as sort of signaling to what the tone and possible direction the Liberal will take. It may have been dry, but really, policy discussion doesn’t invoke the burning passion that false populism does. Call me a sod, but I like my politicians boring yet thoughtful and treating the electorate not like children that need their pablum soundbite. Narnia? Seriously, that accusation of Iggy’s supposed vacuity is rather lessened when one considers just how vapid “Standing up For Canada” was in the CPC campaign. To this day, I have no idea what that means nor how the policies and the numerous reversals thereof substantiate that slogan.

    It may be a tall order, but I have high hopes that Iggy can at least bring some of that intellectualism, which I think is sorely needed. My fear is that his integration into the political discourse is going to hollow him out as it leaves little room for actual reflection and ongoing self correction of policy (these days anyway).

    I will admit though; I didn’t see a bold vision, but my inner cynic tells me that thanks to the evisceration of well meaning, Dion, it is now an unwritten rule that no politician should dare engage in ambitious thinking as it might scare the status quo. I can understand laying down a concrete proposition to the electorate, but if we are going to operate on such empirical objectivity, I would like to know how some of the policy decisions made by Harper fits that framework. Until then, I am going to give Iggy some latitude here as I think this is more of an integration problem being an intellectual transforming into a politician (no wonder Plato argued for Philosopher Kings).

  19. Phillip Huggan

    To me is mostly a revenue stream search. Are $50B/yr in the red. Impending (2020-2025?) $80B/yr healthcare deficit.

    GST up to 7% gains $12B/yr. Corporate tax rates pre-CPC is $6B/yr. Weed tax $2B/yr. New top-tier income tax bracket high enough to get our Gini Index whatever it was when we were leading UN Quality-of-Living rankings $4(?)B. Stock/futures Exchange Tobin Tax $1B(?)/yr. Tax on fast-food restaurants 250m away from schools $1B. Cap ‘n Trade permit auction revenues $24B/yr.

    In the black. I suggest now with a balanced budget, looking at global best practises healthcare cost savings before addressing healthcare deficit.

    Of course we’ll do things the hard, inefficient and globally warmed way. Boomers will die in the hospital hallways having spent their palliative care dollars on urban sprawl, Chryslers, Finance and oil sands profits.

    Really, all you have to do is raise taxes or lower them to whatever the UN quality-of-living leaders have them at. Used to be us, now Nordic Countries and Aussies. None of my revenue suggestions appear politically viable at present. If CPC didn’t slay the carbon tax (what’d that get you, 5 extra Ridings?), it could’ve been resurrected in the future as a debt or palliative care slayer.

  20. takedeadaim

    Good post Red.

    This has been and will be Iggy’s struggle.

    How will Liberals be different than the Conservatives to the average swing voter.

    Not how are they different to us political geeks that spend time on blogs arguing with strangers over blah blah blah.

    For the most part and on average, why should the average dude that voted conservative, who used to vote liberal, vote liberal again?

  21. Ti-Guy

    For the most part and on average, why should the average dude that voted conservative, who used to vote liberal, vote liberal again?

    Conservatives are inept.

  22. Phillip Huggan

    take, The Liberal platform of jobs lasts longer than CPCs. Liberals will have nuclear site decommissioning jobs 120 years from now and waste storage site security jobs for Ice Ages.

    Conservatives exempt oil sands from carbon caps and accelerating depreciation (sorry if wrong here, in election $1.6B tax credit was killed by ABC). Hard corporate tax cuts suggest their jobs are oils sands (still not paying pollution, tailings pond insurance, SK acid rain cost, and their growth plan runs them out of water in the 2020s) and finance. Finance admittedly tough to criticize in Canada at present, they did good by not merger lobbying to loudly.
    Liberals daycare is probably higher worker productivity rate in two decades. Assuming they would raise taxes to partially kill red ink, the extra revenue gives you the flexibility to have a plan.

    For instance, in a moderate pandemic if you haven’t been running red ink perpetually you can probably raise capital more easily if you want to do things like pay doctors and nurses 10x-100x more to show up (suckers).

  23. Tomm

    Ti,

    You said:

    “Conservatives are inept.”

    So Liberal’s are “ept”?

    Help me with this. Their economic and foreign affairs’ policies could fit in the same shoe box.

    The Liberal campaign slogan is “Conservatives are inept”?

    Or is it the more positive message:

    Liberal’s are ept!

    Maybe it’s just me, but unless the Liberals have a killer set of withering negative ads destroying the credibility of the Conservative Party, they are using smoke and mirrors on the electorate. I don’t think it will sell in suburban Ontario, or anywhere else.

    Who is marketing this thing for Ignatieff? I’ll bet its a Liberal marketing company in Toronto that already think he’s the second coming. Perhaps he should use a marketing company that is from Missouri; you know, the Show Me state.

  24. CWTF

    First a surgical attack on the many things that Harper has done wrong
    *Yawn*

    Who is marketing this thing for Ignatieff? I’ll bet its a Liberal marketing company in Toronto that already think he’s the second coming
    We already now too much about Kinsella…. So how are Iggy’s numbers in the polls?

  25. CWTF

    Know… not “now”…

  26. takedeadaim

    Phil,

    I dont’ know if your post was serious or satirical, but either way it was a good read.

  27. hitfan

    “going where the growth is… India, China and the other emerging economies.”

    These countries will never agree to reduce their trade surplus with Canada, so it just means that manufacturing and technology trade will become a one way street with them.

    That kind of talk doesn’t really move the average guy on the street. Not sure what his constituency is.

  28. Phillip Huggan

    The 2 Iggy-novel enviro planks I’m aware of are at least one High Speed Rail line and pro-nuke. Both are subject to cost-overruns (and India Pakistan and N.Korea all have nuke because of us) but I’m warming to High Speed Rail. A UK projection says UK GHG emissions will be 1/2 of all UK emissions I think around mid-Century and fantastic airline developing world growth rate projections don’t account for peak oil.
    An Edm-Cgy line was proposed to cost $4B-$13B, with no breakdown of how much better a really fast line was vs just fast. Can always make power source renewable later. Problem is isn’t shovel ready in this recession so need really accurate construction cost estimates.
    Help to project where Canada will grow and you can make sure those cities/towns have good urban planning, walkable suburban development. The Central Prairies might have 5 million people soon. Liberals should find a way to encourage no new grids and cul-de-sacs on health costs alone. Cgy-Edm-Saskatoon-Regina seems like a prescient line to me assuming you capture projected air and maybe hwy travel. Think SK in range of MB hydro but potentially has wind and gas.

    Some inner city ridings have 30000 voters and some rural ridings have 7000. So in this pseudo democracy the highest societal ROI for any Canadian government is to address typically Mayoral inner city issues. CPC funds laying carpet in private cottages (if you have a cottage you are already laying carpet in don’t need a tax cut) and gets lawyery weaselly denying flagship Toronto piddling $600M public transit (as if project timelines for the two are the same).

  29. Phillip Huggan

    …I like growth with India since they alone broke even this recession. But how? We use their call centres and I assume biz software services. Which way does the flow of cars go? Magna probably sells to them but their Tata is growing. They could use the type of water enviro-cleanup services the Liberal Wpg South candidate has on his CV (CPC candidate has Palin 2012 poster on his website).
    A synchrotron researcher discovered two types of India water pollution cancel out poison where one alone kills. Maybe try to export high end R+D? Shared agri-research? Nukes to Zimbabwe?

  30. Ti-Guy

    These countries will never agree to reduce their trade surplus with Canada, so it just means that manufacturing and technology trade will become a one way street with them.

    PhD in economics, is it?

    That kind of talk doesn’t really move the average guy on the street. Not sure what his constituency is.

    …and PhD in sociology as well?

  31. Tomm — “The Liberals have a killer set of withering negative ads destroying the credibility of the Conservative Party…”

    Sorry, but I just thought it would be fun to take that out of context for a chuckle. 😉

  32. Hitfan — I don’t really disagree with you but I think the idea is to push the notion that our trade pattern can’t continue to be so heavily dependent on the USA — another stunning bulletin from the “Land of D’uh!” — and also kind of ironic when you think about it in terms of the economic concept behind the free-market logic underpinning the FTA and NAFTA as those trade agreements were sold to the public back in the day.

    Some have also suggested that it’s nothing but pandering to so-called voting blocs in the Chinese/Indian communities. Really? Does it have any traction with these folks… Honestly, I have no idea at all about this, but would be curious if any readers included in that particular demographic group have opinions to share. Does it resonate at all with you… and if so, how?

  33. Tomm

    RT,

    If the Liberal’s want that killer set of ads all they have to do is call you.

    You haven’t drank the kool-aid and also know where to aim the arrows at the soft underbelly of the beast.

  34. Phillip Huggan

    …guess hitting Asia would also mean ports and rails to ports. Super good for “north-coast” if you throw in Russia with Chindia. For melting permafrost, there outta be a standard cost of what each km of melted surface costs you in terms of dumping gravel or building underslush pillars (think MB company does this). This in part determines how far inland you can try to develop. Can export engineering expertise to Russia. If you get good at freezing underneath rails (using wind as power source?) you can export to Chindia.
    Maybe a rail line straight West of Ranken Inlet or Churchill makes sense here. Maybe a port at wherever Mackenzie empties. Inuvik? Permafrost might turn it into an effort to make barges on rivers. How can Taiga and Tundra trade?

  35. jkg

    These countries will never agree to reduce their trade surplus with Canada, so it just means that manufacturing and technology trade will become a one way street with them

    I am uncertain about this outcome; I suppose in terms of probability, it may be more likely. The complicating factor is that China is effectively structuring their economy around supplying the consumption of the West. At least for now anyway, there is this implicit co-dependence. China would risk aggregate pricing power and leverage as a debtor should they switch. In other words, it is in their best interest to maintain Western demand even if it is at the expense of trade surpluses. There is also the problem of infrastructure growth that China is having difficulty meeting. So, really, they wouldn’t mind giving up some surplus if it means an easier flow of materials and capital to meet their massive demand.

    That said, you have a point. Canada can hardly go it alone. Chretien tried, and I believe there was a food stand involved (which ended up closing down later). Trudeau succeeded opening trade with China only to be rebuked back home. There is this undercurrent of continentalism or maybe complacency in which we have become linked to the fate of US economic and trade policy. It is funny because when scratching the surface, Canada is hardly serious. When the Beijing chapter of the Canada China Business Council celebrated 35 years of Canada-Chinese relations, they had a small cocktail party. It was only thanks to the head of the Council at the time who decided to throw his own party (he went on to work for the Swiss chamber afterwards!). Businesses in Canada are just starting to lobby the government, but they have just been lazy, since it is far easier to export resources then actual products. Contrast that to Australia, that in one year, increased their Chinese exports by 40 percent, and John Howard even visited China 9 times during his mandate. In light of how the Harper team has taken to China, I find this above fact rather ironic, especially when Harper has tried to even outshine Paul Martin’s tenure in which he invited the Dalai Lama. Couple that with the growing corporate espionage done by the Chinese in Canada, the situation is pretty depressing.

    I personally would like to see a real effort because whether we like it or not, the BRIC countries are here to stay, and it is silly to stay on the sidelines. Harper can posture all he likes, but at least Bush and Howard were realistic enough to continue cultivating relations with China.

    Still, you reminded of a very interesting article in the Economist even back in 2003 or so which discussed the possibility of the world dividing into 4 or 5 distinct geo-political clusters that would trade and negotiate with each other. For Canada, it is pretty easy to see where we would sit.

    Finally, to add even more of a twist and dash of prediction for the past, a certain someone posited that Canada would become a 2nd world, and I will give you three guesses on who that was :).

  36. jkg

    *prediction from the past

  37. It’s ironic that our prosperity now rests more than ever on being the proverbial “hewers of wood and drawers of water” supplying the raw materials to drive the engines of global production that have been largely outsourced to countries providing us with cheap consumer goods in return for our basic commodities. There’s something incredibly screwed up with this unsustainable model of trade.

  38. hitfan

    redtory: “Some have also suggested that it’s nothing but pandering to so-called voting blocs in the Chinese/Indian communities. Really? Does it have any traction with these folks… Honestly, I have no idea at all about this, but would be curious if any readers included in that particular demographic group have opinions to share. Does it resonate at all with you… and if so, how?”

    I’ve thought of this too. Perhaps it’s just code for “Harper bashes China and therefore he hates the Chinese community”. Of course Ignatieff can’t say this outright so he cloaks his intent in terms of trade (and throws India a bone as well)? Who knows. Whatever it is, that rhetoric will prove to be a wash, at best.

    jkg: “I personally would like to see a real effort because whether we like it or not, the BRIC countries are here to stay, and it is silly to stay on the sidelines. Harper can posture all he likes, but at least Bush and Howard were realistic enough to continue cultivating relations with China.”

    I never expected a long response to a few lines of text I wrote, but I appreciated your response nonetheless. I think that Harper is able to afford bashing China because Bush’s sucking up wasn’t done out of any sense of altruism but because China has the US by the gonads, so to speak.

  39. what do you think RT perhaps it’s time to vote NDP federally… 😉

  40. hitfan

    The liberals have squeezed out Martin Cauchon from running in the Outremont riding (currently held by the NDP, was considered a safe Liberal seat when Cauchon represented it) by parachuting a woman candidate instead:

    http://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/politics/outremont-feud-puts-ignatieff-in-bind/article1299031/

    In a twist of irony, Cauchon, ever the apologist for leftist causes, gets hoisted by his own petard of a party policy to promote female candidates. If Chrétien was so enamored with this panderbear tactic of getting women votes when he first implemented in 1997, why didn’t he step aside so that a female candidate run in his place in Shawinigan? It’s a hypocritical political window dressing move–the NDP and Liberals just parachute female candidates into ridings they have no chance of winning.

    This is no altruistic move by the Liberals to advance the feminist agenda in this case, however. It’s a power play by Denis Coderre (Liberal party Quebec lieutenant) who has his own leadership aspirations in the future–and he doesn’t want any competition from Cauchon for the rotational French-English leadership spot after the ‘anglo’ Ignatieff steps down.

    Now, in fairness, the woman candidate (Le Prohon), she has succeeded in the business world and is not the typical ‘weak’ candidate that is normally parachuted in those ridings where the party machine is virtually non-existent. However, if the Liberals want to unseat Mulcair, Cauchon would obviously be their strongest chance at taking back the riding.

  41. hitfan

    From the link I posted:

    —————————————
    “Has Iggy swung so far to the right that he’s determined to sideswipe any of the progressive people in the party?” demanded one.
    —————————————

    … kind of like “only Nixon can go to China”. This time it’s “Only a policy for meeting a female quota to appease the University feminist studies’ wing of the party could move the Liberal party to the right by getting rid of one of it’s most liberal stalwarts”.

    Not sure how the Conservatives can capitalize on this, I think this increases the NDP’s chances of re-election in the riding tremendously. Depending on how pissed off Cauchon is, maybe he’ll say a few kind words about Mulcair to the press. A TV spot with an outright endorsement would be quite a coup.

  42. Phillip Huggan

    The CPC are planning USA war-on-drugs style max prisons. What do you do with them *when* THC et al is decriminalized and *when* you end the racial profiling and build (also I guess, thx for the legacy M.Duffy) cheaper homeless shelters and low income housing and community centres and create jobs? The CPC is targetting their stimulus to own ridings, yet these rich people are least at risk for poverty-crime. CPC supporters would crucify Jesus again, no question. Prisons until CPC don’t target repeat violent offenders, they target the poor. That’s not an economic plan, it is anarchy when the poor retaliate for the Vic Toews rapes and beatings.

  43. Phillip Huggan

    This thread is about economic argument why we shouldn’t replay the USA 2000-2008 experiment (increased all major human extinction threats BTW). Because it is evil to pick fights with innocent people, for starters. Because you aging boomers funding tar and banks instead of hospitals might lose the class warfare, for the main course (can’t fund future palliative care and prisons and tar/banks welfare at same time).

  44. jkg

    I think that Harper is able to afford bashing China because Bush’s sucking up wasn’t done out of any sense of altruism but because China has the US by the gonads, so to speak

    Right, but China has little relative sway over Australia, so Howard was simply motivated by economic oppourtunity for his nation as was Bush. After all, China is also dependent on the U.S. and the West, since their economy is entirely based on an export model. That is why Bush was able to get away with some criticism like he did prior to his visit to the Beijing. The Chinese may realize that an export economy on their scale right now is unsustainable in the long term and will have to focus on domestic growth and consumption. This will mean greater imports above and beyond simple materials.

    The reason why right now Harper is able to to get away with harsher criticism is because there hasn’t been an established economic partnership with China. We had to fight for years to get China to put Canada on their tourism destination list. Further, like the previous government, this government has not done anything substantial to advance trading relations with China. When we have this glaring shortcoming, it is hard to believe that Canada could really be considered on par with the other members of the G20 let alone the G8, though I do credit Martin’s exemplary work in creating the G20. That was a Canadian initiative. From what I can see, we are content with not branching out of our cushy trade with the US. Why cannot we establish a proper manufacturing base that is attuned to our economy? We buy our mining equipment from those boring, “socialist” Scandinavian countries who seem to understand international trade better than we do. Our current dependence on the US will be long term liability when the BRIC start collectively outstripping the West in economic power.

    Like R/T said, there is something twisted about this model of trade that we do, and if we do not diversify domestically and internationally, we will just be the Costco of Commodities. When people bash this idea of wanting to branch out, it speaks to their ignorance. Turn on to BNN once in a while and see the reality of the Canadian economy and business world. A new contingent of leaders are finally speaking up about this dysfunction in which we subsidize the auto industry or the Tar Sands quite enthusiatically while ignoring the innovation and technology done by multitudes of startups, like Dragonwave. If Iggy continues and articulates this reality, it would be very hopeful because sitting on a lofty vision won’t be enough.

  45. Bob

    A little bit of then and now;

    Then,

    $25-billion for banks a sound investment: Harper
    Posted: October 10, 2008,

    http://network.nationalpost.com/np/blogs/posted/archive/2008/10/10/25-billion-for-banks-a-sound-investment-harper.aspx

    Now,

    Feds to reap billions from mortgage ‘help’ to banks

    Updated Thu. Sep. 24 2009

    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20090924/feds_mortgage_090924/20090924?hub=Politics

  46. Bob

    Rick Mercer’s Iggy out take;

  47. Phillip Huggan

    Harping about how, because tough to grow non-continental trade. NAFTA and/or FTA didn’t grow our trade with partners any faster than with other nations. I guess if this agreement helped in prevented trade wars, maybe prevented borders from closing more after 9-11?
    I think we need to crystal ball what to export and import. Zenn had $12m cash last year and only $10m recently. Didn’t receive one penny of $10B to big three. Zenn was one of best 6 electric car makers last election and is now second tier 6, despite wicked battery tests reported by their USA battery supplier Zenn has monopoly with. But potentially could kick Tata for some Chindia sales. I can’t see big 3 focusing on these models like Zenn could’ve (assuming a sliver of largest Cdn grant ever and assuming L.Cannon didn’t ignore their regulatory filing he was being paid $120000/yr to read).
    Harper’s cap and trade excempts oil sands, largest carbon footprint energy in the world. On the export end of things, it is basically a tradeoff giving up immediate finance/oil sands profits (raising taxes) and building foreign market share, the equivalent of corporate selling at a loss.
    We could probably spin off our banking and finance strucutres as consulting work to build third world finance infrastructures (flight-to-quality happened because these weren’t mature) in an un-American way. If instead of exempting oil sands from his cap, if Harper doubled their cap severity but gave them a free pass for whatever they diversified out of dead end sector (until/if CCS mid century)….Dion’s old plan MSM ignored gave I think a 5 yr exemption. Oil could just buy up the curved MB concrete architect and Cgy low-footprint forms and corner China.
    The problem is we’ve severely handicapped ourselves. Much of new dollars are going to low footprint spending and for example, 86% of China’s Stimulus was low footprint #1 on Earth, 16% of ours was, last. We are going after that 14%?!
    The flipside is you need to lobby them what you want to buy, I guess this is what governments and trade meetings are for. I’d suggest supplies that mitigate human extinction threats but I’m sure Canadian would love to participate in this. The CPC default is ever lower corporate taxes, so finance and oil sands. Noticed garlic and wrenches are now 5x cheaper than decade ago thx to China. What else do you want cheap?

  48. Phillip Huggan

    Bob, good Harper investment. Lucky USA $3T bank bailout happened, not so lucky lowered GST (putting Canadians in debt before recession) while their banks built bubble.
    I don’t have opinion on Nortel because tough to know value of future bandwidth monopoly. Good that someone builds it. But how much profit is there in five years of holography internet content or whatever? One billion, none, ten billion? I guess some industries easier than others to be big brother. On flipside cataracts operations costing $125 in MB are $25 in ND (slippery slope).

    I think only $300M/yr is CSA budget. Yet one of only 3 nations the ISS needed (the Brazilian contribution was a pallet) to be built. India and China want to catch up. I’d guess you can target CSA funding right to catch Chindia’s attention. Same for agriculture, wheat for India and could probably monopolize world class rice research (AGW resistant) if we wanted to. Could develop farmland in acidic soil central prairies and sell it.

  49. Bob — Hilarious. Best laugh I’ve had all day.

    Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  50. p.s. I just watched it again and am still laughing.

    Wouldn’t it be great if Stephen Colbert picked it up? You know how he feels about bears…

  51. Oemissions

    Being ‘cleverly smug’ doesn’t endear me to dear
    Leader.And yes, where’s the beef, or tofu?

  52. Pingback: Iggyspeak « Smart Is The New Black

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