Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Dion consulting to develop manufacturing policy

For those that were worried Stephane Dion’s summer tour would be all bbqs and no policy meat, the Star has an informative piece today on Dion’s extensive consultation process over the summer with stakeholders in the manufacturing sector, with the goal of developing sound and innovative economic policy:

What Dion can say with certainty is that a Liberal government would not allow Canada's industrial base to keep deteriorating. He rejects the view that a modern nation can sustain itself by buying and selling services. "We need a balanced economy. We need to build on what we've done well."

As prime minister, he would encourage Canada's manufacturers to change. The successful industries of the 21st century won't be characterized by smokestacks, Dion says. They will use clean technology. They will consume less energy, create less pollution and free people from their dependence on fossil fuels. "We need to move there right now."
Dion’s recent tour of a Chrysler facility in Windsor garnered good reaction and media coverage as well. There’s video of the visit here. Earlier in July he met with members of the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

Given Dion’s coming push on economic competitiveness and manufacturing I don’t think it’s a coincidence that Harper put his most trusted minister, Jim Prentice, into the industry portfolio in yesterday’s cabinet shuffle. Neither does the anonymous Conservative MP that talked to the Globe:
Plus, Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion is making a strong foray on economic policy, arguing loudly that the Conservatives have let down the manufacturing sector by having no industrial strategy.

"The more pressure he puts on it, the more of a priority it is for us," the source said.
It looks like Dion is more of a leader than the Conservatives would like to admit. First Dion led Harper into pretending to care about the environment, and now he’s leading Harper into paying more attention to economic strategy.

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8 comments:

Oldschool said...

The woes of the manufacturing sector in Canada are a result of the 18 month old Harper govt?????
I would suggest that our manufacturing sector has been dying for decades, especially since the early 90's. Overtaxation, EI ripoffs, inability to write down new technologies and equipment (as in US) have all set the stage. Where was Dion then??? Where were all the concerned libs???
Many manufacturing concerns voted with their feet back then, and moved south of the border. Never once did the LPC reduce anyone's taxes until they were facing defeat!!
20% of Cdns pay over 60% of the taxes, the bottom 40% pay almost no taxes. Huge surpluses in Ottawa . . . taxes for business and all Cdns should be cut by 20% . . . would I trust the Libs to do this? Only if elephants fly!!!

A BCer in Toronto said...

The woes of the manufacturing sector in Canada are a result of the 18 month old Harper govt?????

This is a good example of a common Conservative debating tactic. Instead of responding to the actual point, make-up an extreme false point and attack it instead.

No one said the current situation is Harper's fault. What is Harper's fault is the fact he's not doing enough about the problem now.

As for the history, you're wrong. Aas soon as the budget was balanced the Liberals brought in significant tax cuts, both business and personal, as well as tax credits, R&D programs, and many other initiatives. Liberal tax cuts post 95 were the largest in Canadian history.

And as far as trust goes, the fact is Harper raised income tax! Despite the one per cent GST cut, I'm paying more taxes today under the Conservatives then I was under the Liberals.

Oldschool said...

You are probably making more money today!!!
The 40% of Cdns that pay very little or no taxes save on GST every time they purchase something. Libs promised to eliminate the GST . . . never happened!!
The cons cut my taxes, and I'm luvin it, expect much more in the next budget!!
I have watched the libs since Trudeau and his Just/Socialist Society . . . . would not trust them to look after my neighbors dog!!
The liberal vision of a successful Cdn enterprise is Air Canada. Our only hope for the future is to rid ourselves of the socialists/marxist/progressives and strive for low taxes, personal initiative and small government. Non of these would ever be addressed by a Dion govt.

Scott Tribe said...

Wow.. you caught Oldschool's attention Jeff.

Normally, this Tory Kool-Aid drinker stays over at Red Tory's site and posts his nonsense over there. Congrats on putting up a post he obviously feels is dangerous to his cause to warrant posting his nonsense over here.

900 ft Jesus said...

I always like Dion as choice for Lib leader. He's steady, solid, thinks carefully before deciding, puts his ego aside enough to consult with others and to seriously consider their advice. He doesn't seem to have any dark secrets that make politicians vulnerable to smear campaings.

I was worried his lack of "stage presence" would work against him, and it has, but he's improving. Also, some of the things CPC bash him for are qualities, especially in a world where global issues cannot be ignored. He is diplomatic and understands the need for compromise - not a bad word, that one.

Steve V said...

"The woes of the manufacturing sector in Canada are a result of the 18 month old Harper govt?????"

I love this argument from Conservatives. Extrapolate that logic to Flaherty and others crowing about the strength of the Canadian economy, the great fiscal position, the low unemployment, the blah, blah, blah. If the "woes" aren't their fault, then for the same reason, they can't take credit for the robust economy they inherited.

I'm confident oldschool will be the first to point this our, the next time the "new" government takes credit for the Liberal legacy.

Tim Webster said...

In two years the Canadian Dollar has risen 16%. August 2005 the Canadian Dollar was at 0.82 US. Now August 2006 the Canadian Dollar is at 0.95 US. The rapid inflation of the Canadian Dollar is economically irresponsible. This rapid inflation has resulted in unsaleable inventory and manufactured goods. As a result of the rapid dollar inflation, 16% has been subtracted from already tight gross margins. Left with negative revenue and with only an a increasing dollar in sight many companies have no choice but to move manufacturing out of Canada.

A disproportion amount of Canada's inflation has come from oil exploration. At the same time Canada has one of the lowest oil extraction taxes in the world. This has disproportionally attracted oil exploration money into Canada. At the same time other export centred sectors are facing deflation. Rather than increasing interest rates, while encouraging high oil exploration capital inflow by the disproportionately low oil extraction taxes. Canada should increase its oil extraction taxes to slow the high inflows of capital for oil exploration.

In 2006 Venezuela increased their oil extraction tax from 17% to 33%. At the same time Canada is set to reduce its federal and provincial oil extraction tax by 50%. Tax breaks and subsidies for the oil sands development only increase the capital inflow driving the rapid dollar inflation. Measures need to be taken to correct this economically irresponsible rapid dollar inflation. Please see out dated oil royalty system.
http://www.business.ualberta.ca/cabree/Shell/Check_Paper.pdf
http://alc.whitematter.ca/index.php/alc/content/shadow_energy_minister_hugh_macdonalds_presentation_to_the_royalty_review_p/

Correcting the oil royalty system and increasing the oil extraction tax will take pressure off the Canadian dollar. This will allow the dollar to be lowed. And if necessary the dollar can be increased or decreased slowing from the value it was before the rapid dollar inflation.

Allowing the Canadian Dollar to increase so rapidly is just plan economically irresponsible. Even before the the death blow by the rapid dollar inflation, manufactures were suffering from high personal living costs. High personal transportation and housing costs translate in to higher required wages. Asian has a much more efficient personal transportation system, "public transit" and housing property system. Zoning laws need to be chanced from building height to building density. Our housing property redevelopment cost can be reduced by taxing land usage rather than property value. It would effectively prevent speculators holding property near transit stations "within .5 km radius" as low rise buildings or parking lots. The efficiencies in these areas are effectively preventing competition with Asia.

Ontario's competitive efficiency has came is through small manufactures located close to suppliers and close to markets. China now has an enormous number of small manufactures located close to suppliers and with access to container shipping to reach world wide markets.

A BCer in Toronto said...

You are probably making more money today!!!

Actually no, I'm not. I did a month-long study of this last year, and my GST savings were eaten-up and surpassed by my increase income tax payments.

And, speaking of promises, I seem to recall one about income trusts made by Harper far more recently...

Anyway, yeah, those years of strong economic growth and massive job creation under the Liberals sure sucked.

you caught Oldschool's attention Jeff

If the moniker is meant as a reference to the movie, anyone who likes Will Farell can't be all bad.