Thursday, August 09, 2007

Dion Plants The Flag

The Conservatives have virtually ignored the erosion of our manufacturing base, particularly in Ontario. Dion is currently on a tour of the automotive industry, putting some flesh on Liberal trade policy, as it relates to manufacturing:
Liberal leader blasts Canada-South Korea free-trade deal

Liberal Leader Stephane Dion wants to see more Canadian-made cars hit the streets of trading partners, such as South Korea.

But that won't happen unless Canada's free-trade agreements give domestic companies the same privileges in foreign markets as foreign companies have in Canada, Dion said at a news conference in Windsor on Thursday.

Flanked by Canadian automotive leaders in the main lobby of Chrysler's Canadian headquarters, Dion announced his party will not back a Canada-South Korea free trade agreement unless it nixes existing trade barriers and boosts the Canadian industry's ability to compete.

Dion also called on the Conservative government to demand the elimination of all South Korean tariffs and non-tariff barriers, such as arbitrary taxes and oft-changing regulations, that prevent Canadian exports from getting into South Korea.

Dion is filling the political vacuum, and he will find a receptive audience in Ontario. Flaherty mentions productivity, says the Canadian economy is strong and offers that Canada is merely part of a trend within the entire industralized world. There is a definite lack of sensibility, and priority, within Conservative ranks when it comes to the problems in Ontario. Dion can capitalize, and his detailed statements today should give him credibility within the auto sector in particular, manufacturing as a whole.

On Tuesday, Dion announced an Economic Conference in Montreal, slated for September 10, which looks intriguing:
“In Montreal, we are bringing together some of Canada’s leading experts and business leaders to discuss and share ideas on how to meet the challenges of building a strong domestic economy and leveraging Canadian advantages in the global economy,” said Mr. Dion.

“What we hear at Montreal Conference will inform the basis of our Party’s next business platform. We need to make Canada’s economy as productive, competitive and sustainable as possible.”

The conference will feature prominent Canadians from the academic and business communities.

A high profile meeting, that will recommend some firm policy. On the economy, Dion suddenly looks engaged and relevant. A good sign indeed.


Jeff said...

solid. a refershing change from deceivin' stephen.

it's gonna take more than a cabinet shuffle to put the "new" back into canada's current govt.

susansmith said...

Is that Dion is silent on deep intergration with the US and Mexico because he wraps himself in the Canadian flag in campaign mode? Just checking, as not one prominent liberal has said squat about giving more of our sovereinty to the US. But my memory is long her and I remember in 1993 where the liberals campaigned on fixing nafta, AND WERE AGAINST IT. Also, with their huge majority, they signed it lickity split. Sorry, more hot air won't do. I look at the record, and there is 13 long years.

Steve V said...


You taking that attitude, is about as shocking as the sun rising in the morning :)

Monkey Loves to Fight said...

I haven't followed the free trade agreement talks with South Korea closely, but doesn't a free trade agreement mean that both sides are suppose to remove tariff and non-tariff barriers, rather than just one side. I support free trade with more countries to diversify our trade, but it should mean that we reduce our barriers for their products by however much they reduce the barriers on our products.

KC said...

Wait wait. So yesterday Ed Stelmach needs to stop polluting with impunity and today the Ontario Auto Industry (which pollutes at all stages of the game ie during production and use of the product) is something worth saving?

Steve V said...


What a juvenile attitude. Obviously, both industries need to change their ways, there is no us vs them mentality in my thought processes. Did you happen to catch McGuinty's comments today, wherein he expressed an openness to tailpipe standards, if others were prepared to share the load? All industries need to find a way to act responsibily, no matter the jurisdiction. There is no reason the auto industry can't prosper in an environmental economy, which is probably why we are seeing a massive influx of provincial funds to move the technology.

Stephen said...

Liberal leader blasts Canada-South Korea free-trade deal

So Stephane Dion is worried about free trade with Korea?

Where was he when Paul Martin's Liberals started the talks in 2005?

"A free trade agreement with South Korea has the potential to deliver significant commercial benefits to Canadian companies—from agriculture to building products to state-of-the-art services like environmental services,” said Minister Peterson. “Canada places great importance on emerging economies, and sees Korea as a strategic gateway to the dynamic northeast Asian region."

Steve V said...

Note the word "potential" in your quote.

KC said...

steve v - Problem is that the auto industry isnt changing. At least not fast enough. Im still seeing a lot of massive new SUV's and trucks coming out. There is a demand for what Alberta does because auto plants like those in Ontario make machines that burn the stuff that Alberta produces.

wilson said...

What! No Kyoto in his speech....oh right, Buzz thinks Dion's enviro plan would be devastating for the auto industry.

Anonymous said...

What is so not surprising about Nerf-man's free-trade speech is that it could have been made by Jack Layton.

Everyday the liberal party is becoming more and more of an NDP clone.

Steve V said...

"Everyday the liberal party is becoming more and more of an NDP clone."

Interesting contrast to the NDP mantra of "Liberal/Tory, same old story". Which is it?


Well, we need to balance the tax credits, with tax increases, to affect buying behavior. If you look at who is suffering, and who is succeeding in the auto sector, the one's that are offering more fuel efficient cars are the one's thriving.

I would point out, there is a big difference between slowing down growth in one industry, and proposing we dismantle another.

Anonymous said...

Breaking News! Dion is now leader of the Liberal Party - not Chretien, not Martin - it's HIS say NOW.

We can all dwell on the past and where does it get you - no where. You can't change what was or was not done but you can change the future.

So, this attack of past is wasteful, useless and petty.

We could go back and pick in stuff the Conservatives mishandled historically and as well the NDP.

Every occur to anyone that perhaps Dion is waiting for more detail before he makes comments about SPP?

Harper has no plans and doesn't care about the manufacturing sector - it's all about Alberta and Quebec vote buying - give your heads a shake.

Olaf said...


On the economy, Dion suddenly looks engaged and relevant.

I'll give you engaged...

Seriously though, I don't see what his gripe is. Isn't the point of free trade agreement with South Korea precisely "the elimination of all South Korean tariffs and non-tariff barriers, such as arbitrary taxes and oft-changing regulations, that prevent Canadian exports from getting into South Korea"?

That's what a free trade agreement is, more or less. It's like him protesting the government purchase of new fighter planes by saying "I don't think that we should send a single penny to any of these military corporations unless they promise to give us some planes or something in return". Um... yea.

Steve V said...


I don't claim to be an expert on South Korea, but I've read there are many non-tariff, entrenched barriers in place, that means "free trade" might be a nice slogan, but the devil is in the details.

Olaf said...


True enough, there are always details involved - indeed, it's far more complicated than anyone here (including myself) has suggested. However, if the free trade agreement wasn't able to provide reasonable access for Canadian products, I doubt it would make it very far in the Dept. of Int'l Trade.