Friday, March 07, 2008

Layton and Dobbs, BFF

I caught Jack Layton on CNN last night with Lou Dobbs and I must say, it was quite the love-fest. Dobbs certainly seemed to be in love with Jack. I’m not sure how mutual it was, that Layton is coy, but Lou was positively swooning.

I’m sure there will be video up on the NDP site or YouTube shortly so I won’t summarize the interview, basically they talked about how bad NAFTA is for working families, and how all our manufacturing jobs are going to China. I’ll say that I did agree with them on the stupidity of raw-log exports, I’ve been saying that for years. Just one quick question at the end on the leak scandal.

It being a quick interview, unfortunately we didn’t get to learn if Jack shares Lou’s views on stopping the illegal immigrants from taking our jobs and murdering our women, and building a giant fence on the border to keep out the Mexicans, or if Lou shares Jack’s views on American imperialism and related subjects. Maybe next time, Lou is keen to have him back.

I am curious on one thing, as a novice when it comes to trade issues. Both of them went on about all these manufacturing jobs going to China. How is renegotiating a trade deal between Canada, the U.S. and Mexico going to prevent that? I don’t see it.

Also, it seems that in negotiations someone gives something up, and someone gains something. Clearly we both have some issues with NAFTA, it certainly hasn’t helped on the softwood front for example. They both want to re-open it, I just wonder who they see the winner being, and who the loser. While they both may not like the deal, I’m not sure their end-games are really compatible.

Anyway, while this will rile-up the militant left there just seemed something archaic to be watching these two guys go on about the evils of globalization and how it must be stopped. It certainly has its downsides, I agree, and we should try to manage them, but that genie isn’t going back in the bottle.

UPDATE: Ed Hollett also has some thoughts on Jack's CNN appearance.

And here's the video:

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Greg said...

Your sanguinity over this issue tells me you are not involved in the manufacturing sector.

RuralSandi said...

I chuckled at Layton's made up serious look and I felt Dobbs was just being polite. He really didn't give him much time. I doubt Dobbs even knows about the NDP.

I've heard Dobbs attack Canada saying why is Canada's economy doing so well when the US isn't - NAFTA.

Dobbs must have been approached by Layton - there not a camera or publicity that Layton doesn't like.

Layton's tough look (practised I bet) made my giggle.

What an idiot.

Jeff said...

Greg, I just don't see how protectionism is going to keep those manufacturing jobs in Canada. if we do throw up trade barriers, who will we sell the output to? We need international markets. It's just unclear to me how Dobbs and Layton propose to actually fix this problem. I heard rhetoric, not a plan that could work.

Sandi, my favourite was actually at the beginning of the interview, Layton's hello to Lou, so fake-tough, I laughed a little too.

Ryan said...


Layton didn't say that NAFTA has caused lumber exports etc, he actually said that is was parter of a much larger problem thanks to globalization. True, Dobbs is a nut. But that doesn't mean that Layton is wrong about NAFTA. You can make fun of him and call him an idiot all you want, but you haven't seriously addressed the points he makes, nor any of the problems with NAFTA or free trade in general.

Now, I'm not going to pretend that I know the solution to the manufacturing problem. However, some amount of trade protectionism could be a potential solution. We had tariffs on just about everything up until NAFTA, yet we managed to have strong industry and high exports. We don't need free trade, but we could have reciprocal agreements instead, like the Autopact signed by Pearson in the 60's that removed the tariffs on cars and all things automobile related. Canada fared better because the cost of labour was cheaper thanks to Medicare (Hillary Clinton actually attacked this at some point).

Anyway, a lot of our cars are being made in Mexico now, instead, thanks to NAFTA. Companies can make them cheaper, with poor labour standards, so they will. We need to make trade deals that benefit us, instead of trade deals that ensure profits for multinationals, or conversely, encourage American domination of our oilpatch etc. The European Union has instituted protectionist policies to protect their heavy industries to both save jobs and prevent those items from being produced in places with lax environmental standards. What's so wrong with that? Sounds pretty sane to me.

And hey, why don't we manufacture goods for our own markets first and foremost? Wouldn't that be the best way to control labour standards and ensure environmental protection? When was the last time you saw an appliance, let alone a frying pan that was made in Canada? We used to make those things, you know. Now we're in danger of having an export economy solely based on resources. But hey, at least we can buy our lumber back in the shape of IKEA bookcases.

I won't go over the incredibly ridiculous problems that NAFTA causes when it comes to public institutions and Crown Corporations, as your blog is on "Vast Left Wing Conspiracy," and I'm assuming you know this already.

Jeff said...


When did I call Jack an idiot?

And frankly, I don't think Jack has addressed any serious points either, beyond just bringing them up.

They were both talking about the loss of manufacturing jobs to China, but the only solution they held up was renegotiating NAFTA. Well, China is not a signatory to the North American Free Trade Agreement. Fiddling with NAFTA won't stop manufacturing jobs from going to China, and Jack didn't present any solutions that would.

And if he wanted to talk about fixing NAFTA, why not talk about actual North American trade irritants, like mad cow or softwood?

Ryan said...

Ruralsandi in such an adult fashion called Layton an idiot, not you. I apologize for any confusion that created.

I believe that Layton has, at different points, suggested putting a tariff on oil exports to the US in relation to softwood lumber, as well as close the Canadian border to American beef OR institute 100% testing on animals. All said articles (mostly during the actual crises) can be found on Frankly, I didn't see any other parties, besides the Greens providing any sort of alternative policy to actually do anything about it.

In reality, though, softwood lumber and BSE are probably the least of our worries if a recession hits and we can't create new social programs or shore up our crown corporations. But that's a story for another day.

Look, I get it. The NDP isn't for you. I'm just not sure what you wanted Layton to say to Dobbs. Layton was essentially suggesting that NAFTA was the other side of the same coin as broader free trade policies, where trade is put before environmental, social and labour considerations. Which, I'm sure you'll agree, is essentially true even though you may not agree on solutions with Layton. He didn't say anything untrue. As such, I'm not sure that your entry was anything beyond a partisan attack.

RuralSandi said...

I'm gonna put me in the movies
I'm gonna make a big star outa me
I'm gonna put me in the movies
I put me on Lou Dobbs, naturally.

There was never a camera or publicity stunt Layton never liked.

wilson said...

We have a trade agreement with other countries, where we are forced, in have no choice, but to send them our raw resources??

Who in the H signed that kind of deal?

Nobody. Because of our own laws/rules/taxes it is likely cheaper to outsource our resources than value add here.

Remember when BSE hit, the US wouldn't allow our cattle to cross the boarder?
We were sending our live cattle to the US to be slaughtered and then bought back as boxed meat.
NAFTA didn't make us do it.

Knock down interprovincial trade barriers, rules, laws, taxes, what ever it takes to get Canadian investment into value added industry here.

RuralSandi said...

In my adult fashion I will apologize for calling Layton and idiot - sorry.

Media hound? Yes.

I thought the interview didn't accomplish anything.

Jeff said...

Leftdog, since your comment was childish, off-topic, added nothing, and your post unfairly attacking me won't let me comment because you're "disgusted" I've deleted your comment, because I'm disgusted too.

Ryan, sorry I'm missed Sandi's idiot comment, thought you'd meant me. Anyway, yes Layton has at other times articulated more nuanced positions on trade policy. I'm not arguing that. And indeed, in some cases I agree with what he has to say. For example, the need for more secondary processing. And there's many issues we disagree on too.

What I'm saying though is that in this interview with Dobbs, he came off as disjointed, for the reasons I've already articulated. As for partisan attack, sure I suppose, although I think partisan analysis would be more appropriate. It's a partisan blog. I do try to spread the attacks around though.

Anonymous said...

"Anyway, while this will rile-up the militant left there just seemed something archaic to be watching these two guys go on about the evils of globalization and how it must be stopped."

Militant left? You mean the NDP? I hope you aren’t serious? That's the kind of remark I might expect from a red-baiting Republican Congressman but certainly not from a blogger who is considered "progressive." My goodness. By any standard within the developed world (besides the US) the NDP is a modest left of centre social democratic party. There isn't a policy that the party advocates that hasn't at some point been also advocated by the Liberals. It's just that the NDP isn't a "big tent" brokerage party, capable of being all things to all people. It is organized around a core set of principles, and consistently promotes them. It hasn't the luxury of being able to shift to the right or to the left with the prevailing winds.

And this conflation of criticism of NAFTA and of unfair trade with China with anti-globalization is very curious. Trade is merely one facet of globalization, and the NDP is vigorously pro-trade. It merely believes that trade which results in the destruction of Canada’s own manufacturing base, or in the loss of Canadian jobs, or which results in the bizarro practices like wasting finite resources to ship domestically-harvested raw materials across the world, only to have them sent back and re-purchased in a processed form, isn’t in the best interests of the country. Go figure. Such incendiary radicalism! Man the barricades, comrades, the revolution is upon us!

This is my first time to this blog, and I must say I was hoping for a more sophisticated level of analysis. Oh well.

Jeff said...

Militant left? You mean the NDP? I hope you aren’t serious?

I don't. That's why I said militant left, and not NDP. If I'd meant NDP, I'd have said NDP.

Unknown said...

The manufacturing guys over at Evolving Excellence have an interesting perspective on globalization and manufacturing, using an example of how it impacts small cottage industries in the hill towns of Tuscany, Italy.