Sunday, August 24, 2008

Another Talking Point

The opposition would be wise to seize upon the recently released lobbyist data. In July, while the Canadian economy shed a staggering 55000 jobs (32000 manufacturing), the Harper government was busy meeting with every big oil company imaginable. That's right, while companies are closing their doors, or on the brink of bankruptcy, rather than developing a national strategy to deal with the manufacturing crisis, the PMO and the Conservative Ministers spent 50% of all "face" time meeting with people who's profits are best described as obscene.

In central Canada, noteably Ontario, the spectre of a government focused on sectors of the economy that are riding high, while virtually ignoring those that desperately need attention, is a political winner for the opposition. The simple facts demonstrate quite clearly where the government's priorities lie, Ontario's concerns largely an afterthought, Harper showing his western bias. The government can argue it is doing many things to help Ontario's struggling economy, but the facts suggest a casual attitude, more important to make sure Shell and Suncor are happy, that demonstrate any urgency with regards to manufacturing.

The NDP's Pat Martin makes the point:
Despite the limited amount of information available in the lobbying files, NDP MP Pat Martin says the new reporting law is worthwhile because it reveals the extent of contacts between the oil industry and government on an issue that will likely be central in the next election.

“That's not lobbying, that's a blitzkrieg,” Mr. Martin said. “It's easy to see who's got the ear of this government.”

Many Canadians already hold the view that the Harper government is too close to big oil. Canadians also have little sympathy for companies that now regularly report profits that rival the GDP of many nations. Harper in bed with big oil, indifferent to the manufacturing sector, is an issue that can be exploited. The argument now finds empirical evidence to show the warped sense of priorities. Let's hope this new lobbysist disclosure is used to hammer the Conservatives, I suspect voters won't approve.


knb said...

Okay, you're hired! Strategists are needed in this party and I think you are on a roll.

The simple facts demonstrate quite clearly where the government's priorities lie, Ontario's concerns largely an afterthought, Harper showing his western bias

That may be true, but it's not logical given his need to propel the country without government. He and Flaherty are scaring off investment and the private sector that he so keens to. I'm not sure I get the logic there.

For the country to succeed, Ontario needs to succeed. Bizarre politics to be sure.

In addition to your thoughts here, I'd add the recent release, (you spoke to it earlier), of the PCO poll numbers.

This government has little going for it. They are betting the farm on Harper. When it's pointed out as you are doing, that he is the architect of nonsense, I can't see that as being good news.

Manuel said...

Ok now look up the number of Jobs that we're created in the same frame of time as those that dissapeared.

Anonymous said...

The other bit of news out this weekend that I think clearly points out some major undercurrents below the surface is the cancellation of the ship order.

To me the signs just scream of a government scared they can know longer contain or hide the deficits their economic "stewardship" (term used loosely) are creating. So after handing out money like candy they are now slicing and dicing arts programs, which they don't consider worthwhile, trying to get revenue on the books quick through schemes like selling bandwidth (and buildings!). Yet, in the end, they are still forced to scale back or scuttle projects they once paraded with great fanfare.

I think things must be unraveling fast for them to be itching to pull the plug like this. They will do anything to avoid having to run in a few months when the seeds they've planted sprout for all to see.

Steve V said...

"Ok now look up the number of Jobs that we're created in the same frame of time as those that dissapeared."

Gee, pretty sure they do that to come up with the net figure. Wowsers.


For this government to go back on a military commitment, is a clear sign that they've grossly overstated their projections. Why it's striking, this is something they fundamentally believe in, and yet they are forced to abandon. It's almost like they're restructuring, trying to downsize because they're losing money. Get to the polls before the shareholders catch wind.


Flaherty's comments about "whiny" municipalities, we don't "do potholes", Ontario is "the last place to do business", will haunt them daily in an election here. This stuff with the lobbyists just feeds this idea of neglect.

Anonymous said...

Off topic, but thought you might find this article interesting:

Steve V said...

It worked, thanks Joseph.

Anonymous said...

Shades of 1988 once again when the Canadian conglomerates blitzkrieg the airwaves and ads saying that the Free Trade Agreement is good for Canada.