COLUMN: Levant – Mulcair’s voodoo economics

- September 25th, 2012

Mulcair’s cap-and-trade doesn’t include a trade

by Ezra Levant

Is anyone paying attention to Thomas Mulcair’s economic theories? A new poll has the NDP tied at 35% with the Conservatives, so maybe it’s time to treat them as a serious contender.

Here’s Mulcair’s central economic idea, as told to reporters outside the House of Commons last week:

“The NDP came down four-square in favour of cap-and-trade … the losses of hundreds of thousands of Canadian jobs is due to the high Canadian dollar … the Canadian dollar is partially artificially high because of failure to internalize environmental costs.

If we apply the basic principle of polluter pay, we will reduce the pressure on the Canadian dollar, save some of those jobs, start getting back the balanced economy that we’ve had since the Second World War.”

Every sentence of that is voodoo. Mulcair says the NDP is for cap-and-trade. That’s where oilsands companies would have a legal limit of how much carbon they could emit (that’s the cap part). And as that limit is ratcheted down, cleaner or more efficient companies would sell their extra carbon quota to companies that need it (that’s the trade part). Cap-and-trade rewards clean companies and makes polluters pay.

Except that in the NDP plan, there isn’t a trade part. The government gets the money. It’s a carbon tax. The NDP’s 2011 campaign plan acknowledges this, saying it will raise $20 billion for their new spending plans.

But that’s not the weirdest part.

Mulcair says “hundreds of thousands” of jobs in Ontario and Quebec were killed by the evil oilsands, and he says a carbon tax will fix that.

There’s only one possible way that could happen: If the oilsands were taxed so brutally that they literally reduced the amount of oil they produced and exported, then the world demand for Canadian dollars to buy our oil would fall, and so our dollar would fall.

That’s Mulcair’s plan to get Americans to buy Ontario-manufactured products again: Have everything Ontario makes sell at a discount through cheap Canadian currency. Inefficient Ontario factories will become competitive again if our foreign customers only have to pay 60-cent dollars.

Mulcair doesn’t propose to improve Ontario’s productivity — that is, union productivity at GM or Ford. He wants to devalue the dollar.

And he’s willing to kill the oilsands to make that happen. But look at the last part of Mulcair’s plan. He wants to use the money to “rebalance” our economy to get back to the industrial mix we had since the Second World War.

He says this often: We need to rebalance the number of people working in agriculture, manufacturing and services.

Once upon a time, 95% of Canadians were farmers. Today it’s 1.8%. It’s been declining every year since the Industrial Revolution. But Mulcair wants to rebalance that.

Apparently he thinks we need more people working in the fields. Maybe replace those job-killing tractors.

Same thing with factories. Factory employment peaked in the industrialized economies in the 1940s. Since then, ever more of us work in services — everything from computers to health care to media. Mulcair wants to fix that too. Fewer doctors and web designers. More assembly line workers.

Mulcair would tax the most productive sector — the oilsands — so he could subsidize industries that have naturally closed down on their own. It’s nuts. But so far, the Media Party hasn’t dared ask a question about it.

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3 comments

  1. Nick Corrie says:

    So what’s new with the “left coast”..nothing. Intellectuals should stay in their academic towers and stop throwing stones.

  2. Bill Elder says:

    Listening to Mad Tom’s economic theories is like hearing the Economics 101 test book lexicon mutated into a witch’s brew of uninformed opinion, fallacious concepts and fact-devoid narrative. Has this political leper ever run a private sector enterprise or had contact with real domestic commerce? It certainly didn’t seem so given the other-worldly concepts he espoused. But he has it packaged in a smooth baffle-gap delivery which, I’m sure, will fool the zombie voter into believing he’s an economic wizard. – More like the wizard of odd.

  3. Jen says:

    Ezra,
    Mulclair said that that people can’t go to the beaches in Alberta because it might toxic.

    Mulclair in my opinion not only wants to shut down our Oilsands but destroy Alberta’s tourism as well by making up and saying that beaches in Alberta may be TOXIC.

    Nova Scotia where the TOXIC TAR PONDS are located can be said to ‘TOXIC’ BEACHES.

    I know th outline of Alberta where the Oilsands is located right.
    Why don’t you Ezra go to Nova Scotia show the public the outline of Nova Scotia where the TOXIC TAR PONDS is at and let the Nova Scotians deal with Mulclair.

    In my opinion Mulclair is trying to show Nova Scotia’s TOXIC TAR PONDS in place of the OILSANDS.
    Of course those who have no idea of both would fall for Mulclair’s tactics including the media?

    Why doesn’t Mulclair tell the NOVA SCOTIANS who work at the Oilsands ‘not to work there anymore?
    Why doesn’t he tell Quebec businesses who manufacture buses and equipments for the development of Oilsands ‘ not to do business anymore?

    Name all the businesses from every province in canada that invest and work at the Oilsands. Canadians need to know of this everyday.

    How many times do the NDP travel back and forth from work and travels without using a single drop of oil. Or for that matter, how many of them travel back and forth using OIL?

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