by Eric Duhaime
New Democrat Party Leader Thomas Mulcair recently showed the true colours of his divisive politics when he compared the impact of the oilsands to the “Dutch disease.”
He was referring to the collapse of employment in the Netherlands in the 1960s after the oil industry pushed up the local currency and made the export of local products too expensive.
Contrary to what he claims, Mulcair should know full well there is absolutely no scientific evidence the Canadian manufacturing sector has lost 500,000 jobs as a result of an artificially high Canadian dollar. According to experts, his theory is barbaric science at best.
The manufacturing sector is currently losing jobs in every part of the western world, no matter the value of the country’s currency and no matter the scarcity or abundance of natural resources. Canada, like all other developed nations, is quickly moving from an industrial economy to a knowledge-based one.
What does Mulcair wish for? That our dollar become a northern peso so we can compete with China as a cheap labour paradise for mass-produced goods? That we stop importing new technologies to increase our rate of productivity?
By crying over the transformation of our economy, Jack Layton’s successor sounds like a relic who complains that the rural agricultural industry is declining to the profit of booming urban manufacturers. And unfortunately for the NDP socialist dinosaurs, there are fewer unionized workers in the new and modern world of innovative brains than there used to be in the old and dilapidated one they are nostalgic for.
Caveman Mulcair is trying to kill two birds with one stone: 1) Please the union bosses who are very generous to his party, and 2) Divide the country between the east and the west, so he can be on the side of vote-rich Ontario and Quebec against the government of the Albertan, Stephen Harper.
With 209 seats in the next Parliament from the three provinces he singled out as the victims — namely Quebec, Ontario and New Brunswick — his political strategy is quite obvious.
If Harper can form a majority government with few seats in Quebec, Mulcair guesses he could form a majority in 2015 without a significant number of MPs out west, just like in the good old Trudeau years.
But Mulcair’s vote-hunting might boomerang. One needs to remember that Mulcair has used the environmental excuse in the past when he resigned as environment minister from Jean Charest’s Liberal government in Quebec City before he got knocked out of cabinet.
Two weeks ago, the Montreal Economic Institute tabled an important study to show Quebec has huge oil resources. If La Belle Province developed only 10% of its known potential, it could drill more than $400 billion of oil.
And we are not even talking here about the other great resource wealth — shale gas.
Instead of trying to divide us to conquer, Mulcair should stand up as a national leader and use his credentials to reconcile the environment with the development of natural resources in his home province.
Categories: Contributor Columns