In the year 2008, at a town Hall meeting on Salt Spring Island during the federal election, I accused both the Conservatives and Liberals of being short sighted concerning the economic health of North America and posed the question to everyone there
What is your back up plan for when the economic crunch hits?
I was naturally laughed at, specially by Gary Lunn of the Reform/Alliance coalition, yet just a few months later after a huge panic , proroguing of parliament to maintain the government of apparently paralized non believers (or outright liars) , and a large budget that just could not have been produced in the time it took from denial to presentation in parliament, this government produced a direction with which I have never agreed.
They had an opportunity to change the face of Canada and reestablish Canada as a productive nation.
Since FTA and NAFTA we have been bleeding manufacturing companies, plants and jobs to Mexico, USA and of course Asia.
So here was a chance to spend money with two purposes instead of just one.
What we got was a huge spending spree largely in Conservative ridings or ridings they wanted to win, to fix up bridges, roads, arenas etc., none of which created long term full time jobs with benefits; in fact I would argue that very few new jobs were created through this program anyway. What we have had is an increase of part time, non-benefit jobs which are neither sustaining nor productive.
What we could have had as I even proposed during that election campaign of 2008, was to start production of such things as solar panels made in recently closed saw mills or pulp mills, or manufacturing pre cut log homes to export all over the world, instead of just exporting raw logs. Production of recycled wood, or even using pine beetle killed lumber to produce presto logs for burning in fire places – in fact now we in BC import presto logs from Washington State.
To give an example if I may, we have almost finished a $24 million overpass on the #17 highway here on Vancouver Island at the Victoria Airport exit. Apparently the business plan says it will pay $144 million over 20 years so it is a good business plan. My question was who will be making that $144 million, and it turns out that it is ICBC (Insurance Corporation of BC) who will benefit from the apparent lack of accidents cost. Well dear lord this was one of the safest intersections on the highway so surely a better business plan would have encouraged any of the other intersections to be replaced. I was unable to get from the Minister of Transport how many, if any, new jobs were created by this $24 million, bearing in mind that job creation was supposed to be the main reason for the spending of this stimulus money. I also got no answer about how many full time jobs would result after the completion of this job, so obviously it was an excuse to spend money in a weak riding of a junior minister of state
What has happened is that the government has turned its back on real production here in Canada; innovation and foresight are gone, to be replaced with the destruction of our ecology for the sake of oil, gas, gold and coal mines etc., The fracking process to extract gas is now established in the north east of BC with no regard for what it is doing to either the rivers lakes or streams or worse yet the aquifers which are all being contaminated by toxic waste water forced into the earth under extreme pressure. Nothing else matters but the ravaging of our country for the sake of exports of natural resources to both the USA and China. Unfortunately none of the companies involved in this exporting business are Canadian owned so we are actually not getting any real benefit from this raping of our earth, the destruction of aboriginal ways of life and the giving away of our commons.
I do believe that as long as we avoid the concept of producing real things here in Canada for consumption here and abroad, we will be a small bit player eating on the crumbs thrown our way by the real economies around the world.
I hear again and again from this government that we are through the recession which was not of our making, and that we didn’t bail out our banks – what? I make it a $75 billion bailout.
“The Honourable Jim Flaherty, Minister of Finance, today announced the Government will purchase up to an additional $50 billion of insured mortgage pools by the end of the fiscal year as part of its ongoing efforts to maintain the availability of longer-term credit in Canada.
This action will increase to $75 billion the maximum value of securities purchased through Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) under this program. The Main Wire, November 12, 2008
and they were still trying at that time to say that there wasn’t a problem !
On top of that we were told by Harper:
At the height of the election campaign, Prime Minister Harper stated emphatically that: “this is not a bailout… it will cost the government nothing.” (CBC News, October 10, 2008).
So who paid for it Harper? Your fairy godmother?
Another lie is that we are the best in the G20 – oh come on get real here, how can we be the best if we don’t make anything, if we have a huge and growing unemployment problem, homeless everywhere, sick and mentally ill not getting any attention, and an alienation of our aboriginal peoples, a growing debt problem and reduced income levels due to huge tax cuts to high profit corporations?
This is the best in the G20? Who is kidding who here?
We are rapidly sinking into a “have not” country so that it will be easier for USA to swallow us up, just as Harper has wanted ever since he became prime minister.
At the same time as this money was being spent on ‘infrastructure’, we purchased:
Army trucks and rescue planes:
Our government is going to spend 274 million dollars buying 1,300 “heavily armoured” trucks (that’s $210,769 each – presumably US $ at that) for “domestic” use by the Canadian army from the USA, and then another 3 billion buying Italian planes, also to be made in the USA, to replace the aging fleet of Buffalo rescue planes on the west coast. from my letter to the local paper editor.
As a result of that army trucks purchase from the USA, the International Harvester plant in Chatham laid off many workers which was of course a loss of jobs and tax revenue to both levels of government…Good job MacKay, trustworthy as ever I see, and how you could not see that coming is beyond me.
Navistar sent out 500 layoff notices to its Chatham workforce last week, with another 200 expected in the spring. thestar,com Wednesday Jan 14th 2009
For Air Sea Rescue planes, Viking Air of Calgary, Aberta and Sidney, BC, both in Conservative ridings. lost out to the US made Italian design even though they told MacKay they could do a better job ….didn’t cut any ice with him of course, and Canadian jobs were not a priority….!
We won’t even get into the costly new one engine stealth fighter from the US when the Russians have one every bit as good, ready now at less money one would have thought. Any way what are we doing putting our flyers at risk in the north with only one engine?
There is a sickness about this particular government that I find very hard to understand. The verbal stuff we hear from it is pro Canadian, and yet the practice is totally the opposite. Such is the control by the prime minister he might as well be the dictator he imagines himself to be. “I make the rules” does not fit with a democratic form of government and it bothers me that there are still some people in this country who cannot see what he us up to and actually support his desire to destroy Canada as we have known it.
It is obvious to me that as long as we reduce our income, and waste a fortune of public money on partisan advertising, very bad purchasing of material stuff, gross mismanagement of major portfolios, a dysfunctional government which has been challenged on parliamentary contempt more than any government on our history we will not be able to stand on our own feet much longer.
What have you done Stephen and is your mother proud of you?