Friday, May 11, 2012

Why the NDP's strategy might be working

When Thomas Mulcair became leader of the NDP, he promised a structured opposition that could take on the Conservative government. His strategy appears to be working.

Poll after poll has put the New Democrats neck-and-neck or ahead of the Conservatives, as yesterday’s Harris-Decima poll indicated. That survey pegged NDP support at 34 per cent, four points up on the Conservatives.

While some of this can be attributed to the honeymoon period that normally comes after a party selects a new leader, there might be more to the NDP’s good fortune.

Undoubtedly, Mulcair is benefiting from a series of bad headlines for the Conservatives. While any one of these stories might not have been enough to seriously dent the Tories’ support, the cumulative effect appears to have been quite damaging.

But on the other side of the aisle, the New Democrats are doing some of the right things. 

You can read the rest of the article on The Huffington Post Canada website here.

There was some talk on last night's At Issue panel about Thomas Mulcair's "Dutch Disease" comments and, as I've spelled out in my article which I wrote yesterday morning, I fall more on Chantal Hébert's side of the argument (usually the best place to be). Yes, these kinds of comments that criticize how the oil sands are being developed will win Mulcair no friends in certain parts of Alberta and Saskatchewan, but those people were unlikely to have been considering a vote for the New Democrats anyway.

By framing the debate on the oil sands as an economic one, it puts the NDP on the same playing field as the Conservatives. Whether or not Mulcair's argument is sound is another question entirely, but it is far easier to dismiss environmental arguments in favour of economic prosperity. Stéphane Dion's "Green Shift" is a quick-and-easy example of that.

Bruce Anderson suggested that this tactic polarizes the debate and pits region against region, but here again this is an example of the New Democrats meeting the Conservatives on the same level. Rather than having the two parties talk past each other, they are instead arguing with one another on the same terms. Idealism is great for a protest party, but it is not a vote winner. It can be argued that the Liberals took on the mantle of a protest party in the 2011 federal election more than the NDP did, and they were shunted off to third place as a result. Cynical it might be, but there are politics as they should be and then there are politics as they are. Mulcair's strategy is working so far, I would submit, because he is playing the game.

69 comments:

  1. I think the important question is whether Harper's personal brand of being a competent and effective, if not particularly likeable, manager (whether accurate or not) has been damaged. That branding is probably critical to keeping the Blue Liberals who vote fiscally conservative and economically liberal on board.

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    1. Derek Andrew12 May, 2012 00:35

      If someone was fiscally conservative but, economically liberal the two policies would cancel each other out.

      Traditionally, a Blue Grit or Liberal has been someone who is fiscally conservative and socially liberal much like a Red Tory.

      Delete
    2. Yeah, sorry, that was a typo. It was supposed to be "socially liberal". My bad.

      Delete
    3. What's "fiscal conservatism" supposed to be? I've heard it used in a variety of contexts, from being against government (social) spending and high taxes (on the rich) to just being about "balanced budgets". If the later case is the appropriate definition, than a "tax & spend liberal" is "fiscally conservative" so long as their government expenditures don't exceed their revenue.

      Btw, it's about time that the NDP broke the dichotomy between "social/environmental issues" and "economic ones". All economic issues fit within a social and environmental landscape.

      Delete
  2. You know, lately I've been reassessing whether or not the "Green Shift" was such a failure. If you view the Liberals' decline as a long term trend, Dion actually retained more of the Liberal vote by % than Martin in 2004, Martin 2006 and Ignatieff in 2011.

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    1. Liberals should have stuck it out with Dion instead of throwing him under the bus so quickly.

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    2. Unfortunately the man was not much of a charismatic figure. He was a college professor, we shoudn't expect too much out of him that way.

      What Mulcair is, and what Ignatieff and Dion weren't, is a career politician. Not as smiling as gregarious as Layton, but a likeable fellow in a gruff, tough way. That will work out for him.

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    3. Ryan how would you feel about a Liberal-Green party merger ?

      It would save the party, give it tons of buzz, infuse it with lots of new grass roots activists too.

      Bring back Dion's green shift.

      Outflank the NDP on the environment. Call for a carbon tax !

      Elizabeth May as deputy leader would always get attention.

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    4. I agree. I figure the right message, but the wrong messenger.

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  3. All of this is fun and games for us political junkies but as it stands the election is still over 3 years away.

    This is a long time when I have heard people say that a week in politics is an eternity. So many things could happen over the next 3 years it is impossible to say what is going to actually happen. We could have 3 black swan events by the time we go to the polls again so who truly knows.

    But it is truly a fun exercise for those of us who prefer this to other forms of entertainment. We could see the liberal party completely implode or have a renassiance with the Liberals forming a majority government. The NDP reduced back to a third party status or take the next step move towards the center even more kick the liberals to the dust bin of history and form the next government. Or maybe we will see the scandals sink the conservatives to the points where the elect only a small caucaus in western Canada and a few other rural places. Or maybe people will look at the government and say you know what we are not ready for a change and the Conservatives get elected with another majority. The possibilities are pretty much endless when it comes to those sernarios. We could have all sorts of different types of minority situations as well. NDP supported by the Bloc or Libs. Libs supported by Cons and Dippers. Who knows. So let's have fun with it, enjoy Eric's site, but not get so wound up in our own ideology that we can not see it for what it is.

    Cheers,

    Rocky

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    1. I completely agree. Besides, let's unite as a country instead of having politics and ideology divide us. Canada is a very diverse country, both culturally and politically. Let us not be so intolerant towards people who share a different political view than us, just like how we wouldn't discriminate against someone from another cultural or racial background. Lets keep it this way.

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  4. I love that Mulcair is making an economic argument.

    I love it because it establishes a pattern that issues will be fought based on evidence rather than emotion and rhetoric, and that can only be a good thing.

    I also love it because the evidence does not support his claim. On economic grounds, he will lose this fight, but I applaud him for using evidence rather than fiction (the Liberals' preferred tool) to fight it.

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    1. Because the Conservatives base their policies on evidence so often... lol.

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    2. Aren't you a Conservative supporter, Ira? The Conservatives are past masters of fighting issues based on emotion and rhetoric:
      - Mandatory minimum sentences (counter to all the evidence from criminologists, opponents are soft on crime)
      - Climate change (counter to all the evidence from climatologists, opponents are radicals who want to destroy the economy)
      - Drug policy (counter to all the evidence from health specialists and criminologists, opponents are pro-drugs)
      - The long-form census (counter to evidence from statisticians
      - Afghan detainee transfers (counter to evidence from the government's own documents, opponents want all your personal information)
      - Internet surveillance (counter to evidence from criminologists, opponents support child pornographers)

      I could go on. To have any issue fought based solely on actual, factual, evidence would be an enormous relief.

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    3. Don't all governments make their arguments on emotion and rhetoric?

      Let me know when one doesn't...

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    4. Dan in Calgary11 May, 2012 15:46

      Well all of the above being said, Mulcair pretty well much sank any chance to do better than the 1 seat in Alberta they hold by taking an anti-oilsands side but it wasnt really much of a sacrifice if they make gains elsewhere from it.

      If Mulcair wants to argue economics on it, go for it.. maybe people will see how its kept us out of deeper recessions than most nations, how much in transfer payments and wealth has been distributed to other provinces from it and how it brings workers from all over Canada who generate an insane amount of income compared to their education level and bring some of it back to their local economies.

      Left-wing Canadian- main concern about the oilsands are the enviromental effects?

      Left-wing Albertan- main concern is the gov't not getting enough of a % of royalties and how comparitive oil regions such as Norway, Alaska and Saudi Arabia are so much more financially secure and set for life.

      So TS I agree with all your points above except for the fact Ira feels the way we does because hes conservative. I would say its pan-Albertan since we see cause/effects of oilsands relate to the economy literally in our faces every day.

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    5. Eric and Chantal think the dutch disease comments will play.

      That makes sense, they are from Quebec.

      It probably will play well there.

      But for them to say it will play in the ROC without realizing how it is clouding their perceptions is unfortunate.

      The commentators from the ROC were clearly offended by the comments.

      Mulcair is basically looking to sweep Quebec again in the next election. That alone won't make him PM though. Even if he takes all the rest of the Liberal seats.

      This language can grow the party and destroy the Liberals but it will stop any chance of him being PM in 2015.

      Maybe 2019 ...

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    6. Except the government of Alberta takes much less in royalties than the government of Newfoundland, for example. What Mulcair is arguing for (among other things) is for higher royalties on the tar sands. Not such a big deal and not a question of scrapping the tar sands.

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    7. I reject your premise that arguments based on economics are "evidence based" whereas on ecology are based on "emotion and rhetoric."

      Ecology is a science. Economics is more debatable.

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    8. I'm a supporter of freedom and prosperity. I'll support anyone who will give me that.

      This is why I support oil sands development.

      And don't get me started on climate change. The evidence does not support climate scientists on this one. Run the numbers yourself. See if the IPCC model supports a 15 year period without warming. Because we haven't seen any warming since 1998.

      Ask a statistician about the methods climate scientists have used to refine historical temperature records.

      Ask a geologist about the "estimates" climate scientists use for the residence time of atmospheric carbon, even though there are three dozen geology papers published in academic journals that have actually measured it. Why are climate scientists estimating something (badly) when the real answer is available?

      Yes, climate scientists agree about climate change. Climate scientists are making very consistent errors across their field, errors they could avoid by consulting experts from the various displines in which they dabble.

      Have climate scientists taken into account the aberrant behaviour of sunspot cycle 24? Ask an astrophysicist about the effects of a diminished sunspot cycle.

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    9. Which shows why his Dutch Disease argument is such bunk. If you wanted to do something about the dollar, you'd set up a sovereign wealth fund to invest royalties overseas, like Norway did. All Mulcair wants is a free lunch for his base.

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    10. That's just rot, Ira. How stupid do you think climatologists are?

      These "academic journals" you talk about geologists' papers being published in are tiny little journals that are not subject to peer review and are the known hang-outs of the fringe whackos of the scientific community.

      Delete
    11. Ira11 May, 2012 18:03
      "And don't get me started on climate change. The evidence does not support climate scientists on this one... Because we haven't seen any warming since 1998."
      "Ask a statistician about the methods climate "


      Yes why don't we ask a statistician. How about Grant Foster (PHD Statistics)?
      http://tamino.wordpress.com/2010/11/23/all-that-data/

      Ira, I like to turn these moments into learning moments. Are you ready to learn a little about climate change?

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    12. "Because we haven't seen any warming since 1998."

      Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature:
      Warmest Year = 2010

      Goddard Institute for Space Studies:
      Warmest Year = 2010

      National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
      Warmest Year = 2010

      Hadley Cru (Land) Temperature
      Warmest Year = 2007
      Hadley HadCru (Ocean+Land) Temperature
      Warmest Year = 2010 (Publication working its way through, data unavailable on internet yet).

      The 1998 meme is false. Admit it right now and never use it again.

      The satellite measurements consider 1998 and 2010 to be nearly statistically tied but a recent publication (below) shows that the Satellite Records still have inherent cool biases. This is supported by NOAA's STAR satellite analysis as well which have found similar errors in UAH and RSS processing.

      http://www.washington.edu/news/articles/new-research-brings-satellite-measurements-and-global-climate-models-closer

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  5. Actually Ira you aren't correct. Mulcair's Dutch disease argument has been proven elsewhere and major economists in this country buy into it.

    There can be NO other explanation for the insane value of the Loonie vs USD.

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    1. Coyne, Gordon, Mintz, and other major Canadian economic commenters have called it bunk actually.

      Its easily disproven when you look at manufacturing declines in Michigan and Ohio and how they track perfectly with those in Ontario.

      Clearly the dollar is NOT a major factor in manufacturing's decline.

      Btw - Other explanations for our high dollar vs the greenback is that the US has done multiple rounds of QE.

      We haven't. We have lower debt too. All of that pushes up the dollar.

      Delete
    2. Are you ignoring the active devaluation of the US dollar? Since 2009, the Federal Resrrve has increased the flow of dollars into the world by more than $8 trillion over the previously established rate (which had already been inflated under the Bush administration as a means to fund his warmongering).

      The Loonie didn't go up. The Greenback went down. Way down.

      Delete
    3. A higher dollar also helps us buy manufacturing equipment cheaper from oversees. Obviously it makes our labour more expensive too, but that becomes less and less relevant as we mechanize more...

      I'm sure the high dollar is having an effect, but I think how much of an effect its having is overblown. Even if you buy the Dutch Disease argument, why do Ontarians have a greater right to export their goods and services than westerners?

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    4. Mintz is on the board of Imperial Oil; of course he's going to say it's nonsense. Whenever anything oil related comes out of the University of Calgary or its ilk I tend to take it with a grain of salt.

      There's no question that other factors than the dollar are at play in manufacturing's decline, but when the dollar appreciates by 50% in half a decade you can't argue that it's not going to have a huge effect on demand. It means that our costs to buyers have risen by 50% relative to those in the States - how could that not have an effect?

      As for Quantitative Easing playing a role, that is patently false. Our dollar was already at parity in 2007, before the recession hit and certainly before QE1. In fact, our dollar fell again after QE1.

      The lower debt (more specifically, a lower deficit) explanation is more likely, but considering that our share of GDP from oil and our federal deficit are roughly equal at present, it's hard to say that only the latter counts.

      Delete
    5. Derek Andrew12 May, 2012 00:43

      Peter,

      All commodities are doing well not simply oil. Gold has quadrupled in a decade, copper and silver are very strong, potash is at a high. However, other important reasons why the Loonie is high compared to other currencies is 1. many people have lost faith in both the US Greenback and the Euro-the world's two reserve currencies. 2 China's currency is pegged and is only allowed to rise 5% per year. If the Yuan was traded on the open market it is likely it would become a reserve currency and double in value from 5 yuan= 1US$ to 2.5yuan= 1US dollar.

      Delete
  6. I have to laugh at all the faux hand-wringing and fainting over Mulcair being 'divisive' for committing the sin of saying that a high currency lowers demand for a country's manufactured exports. Textbook evidence-based economics apparently becomes wrong-headed and 'divisive' when the oil sands are involved.

    Not that I think stating a basic economic principle was unfairly 'divisive' (Mulcair's responsibility is the development of a national economy, not merely a provincial one like Brad Wall), but how much time and effort do people think that Stephen Harper, the master of national division, is going to spend trying to win over Quebec for 2015?

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  7. One thing is for certain, Mulcair is the strongest opposition leader to face Harper. The last time Harper faced a strong challenger across the isle was Chretien. At that time the latter was PM and Harper was leader of the Canadian Alliance.

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  8. A Good View of Canada:

    http://www.ipolitics.ca/2012/05/11/zach-paikin-liberals-must-prepare-for-a-more-conservative-canada/

    ReplyDelete
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    1. Prepare for it? It's already here. No wonder the Liberals are way behind ...

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  9. Peter what we are witnessing is demise of manufacturing in North America because on a wage and benefits basis we can't compete with China, India, Singapore, Malaysia or Vietnam.

    A lower dollar would help delay the inevitable. Our dollar is a at or near par because of economic reasons, not because the West has finally emerged as the driver of our economy.

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  10. I agree that David Andersen really read this one wrong. Chantal and Raj really saw this as strategy and how could anyone see this as anything but. It would be interesting to see what Andrew thinks as I see him as more willing to see two sides of the same coin (also David Andersen used to work for the Oil industry, so anything he says as regards that industry is questionable).

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  11. Derek Andrew12 May, 2012 00:33

    Eric,

    Mulcair made a major misstep on the "Oil sands comment". As you say he has moved the debate into an economic argument but, how strong is that argument? Let us assume that "tar sand production" decreased, would this lower the Canadian dollar? Unlikely, a reduction in oil production with stable demand would increase the price paid for oil on the open market as supply is reduced. The Canadian dollar as a "petro-currency" is correlated to the price of oil not the production of the resource within Canada. So if anything a reduction in oil sand production would have the effect of incresing the value of the Canadian dollar vis a vis other currencies particularly the American dollar.

    Secondly, oil alone is not the single cause of the Canadian variant of the "Dutch Disease" (CDD). The value of Gold has quadruppled in the last decade, silver and copper have similar stories, potash, timber, most commodities. However, perhaps the biggest cause of the CDD have been real estate prices particularly in Vancouver and Toronto but, to a lesser extent, Montreal, Halifax, Saskatchewan. Prices in Vancouver have quadrupled in the past decade-mainly because of overseas foriegn investors. These buyers are speculators as well as investors who see Canada as a safe store for their money.

    Thirdly, any politician who believes a lower Canadian dollar will solve Central Canada's manufacturing woes is in deep denial. The average yearly income in India is about $1,500 per year, in China it is about $3,000. An Ontarian who works for minimum wage makes more in 2 days than the average Indian earns in a month! They make more in a week than the average Chinese makes in a month! Yes a lower Canadian dollar would make Canada more competitive but, when the average hourly wage is .72 cents in India. A 75 cewnt dollar will do little to help us compete against manufacturing jobs in Asia. A more robust policy is needed to compete than simply a beggar they neighbour approach.

    Finally, Mulcair's biggest problem moving forward will be to convince Canadians he is a team player for everyone. A national leader does not pit one region against the other without consequences. One need only look at Mulroney and Trudeau to see what happens when politicians take sides in Canada.

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    1. Funny how when the NDP proposes policy that would slow (but let's be clear, not scrap) development in one industry in two provinces, that is "taking sides" but when the Conservatives implement policy favouring the Western economy over the Eastern economy, that is perfectly alright.

      Delete
    2. IOKIYAR.
      It's OK if you're a republican.

      Or I suppose in Canada it'd be IOKIYAC.
      It's OK if you're a Conservative.

      Delete
    3. Derek Andrew14 May, 2012 01:19

      The Conservative's approach towards resource development benefits all commodity producing provinces and natural resource industries; the 4 Western Provinces, Ontario, Quebec, Newfoundland, New Brunswick and to a lesser extent Nova Scotia. Mulcair has targetted one segment of the natural resource extraction industry-oil.

      Where is Mulcair's condemnation of Quebec's asbestos production? An industry that poisons both Quebeckers and others overseas. Or of M. Charest's Plan Nord? You know they won't be building cars in Northern Quebec-it's all about resource extraction. That extraction will exacerbate the "Canadian Dutch Disease"!!!

      So we see in M. Mulcair's choice of words that he does take sides by 1. favouring policies that benefit Central Canada and 2. By ignoring other resource extraction industries that produce a similar effect by selectively targetting industries. If oil causes a hollowing out of central Canadian manufacturing, why does asbestos production not? Or the softwood lumber industry? Or mining throughout Ontario, Quebec and British Columbia?

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    4. The NDP did oppose the redevelopment of the asbestos industry on the grounds of the environment and international relations (i.e. with the people in other countries who would be exposed to our asbestos).

      Delete
  12. economic commentators are not the same thing as economists...

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  13. Anon 16:40

    Funny how since that "Dutch" disease comment the loonie has been slowly sliding against the USD ??

    There is NO doubt that the excessive flow of funds into the two oil provinces is affecting everybody, even BC is bitching, rightly so, about it's export sales being hurt by the high dollar.

    Mulcair is right !

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    1. Christy Clark just slammed Mulcair's comments as "goofy". BC is about to become a mining giant (so could Ontario if McGuinty wasn't into all that goofy green stuff - for all his talk a single mine hasn't even opened in the ring of fire).

      A high dollar helps mining exports.

      As I said Mulcair's comments have been discredited by economists.

      North America's manufacturing decline is a function of globalization.

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    2. Gonna throw out a little thinking that's "outside the Box" !

      Mulcair doesn't want a battle re oil sands at election time ??

      So why not have it now? Because given the Tory track record more and more scandals will happen in the next three years and the NDP just gets to look better all the time !!

      Like the current fiasco over the Libya war where Mackay said $50 million and real cost is $347 !!

      What's not to like from an Opposition viewpoint ??

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    3. If the NDP said kids need food, Chreisty Clark would call it "goofy". She's vehemently NDP and will oppose automatically anything they say. Over the last decade you will not find her agreeing with any NDP statement.

      Delete
  14. Mark in Ontario12 May, 2012 11:34

    Great site Eric. It's amusing to look at polls when there is a majority government and we are 3.5 years away from next election. Harmless fun. Keep up the great work (and good call on not giving seat projections this far out).

    With Mulcair, it is great to have another politician besides Harper who plays the long game. The artificially high poll numbers will not distract Mulcair like it did Dion and Ignatieff with their scandal-du-jour approach to politicking. Mulcair knows that only patient hard work (something the Liberals with their leader-obession can't seem to do) will lead to real (as opposed to ephermeral) political results. This is good for Canada.

    As to the polls, Mulcair has to be concerned about Ontario. The Conservatives with 35% and the NDP with 30% and Liberals with 27% would result in a lot of vote-splits electing Tories (a la Jean Chretien in 1990's). So eradicating the Liberals is Political Job #1. For this his best ally is PM Harper. The resurgence of the Bloc has to be a concern to Mulcair - the BQ is the biggest single threat to his Quebec super-caucus. This is why there have been anti-west, anti-oilsands, pro-long gun registry comments of late - to protect his Quebec flank, a safe stratgy given that big gains in West and Prairies are probably out of reach whereas the NDP caucus from Quebec is the backbone of his national strength and must be maintained at all costs.

    Anyway, for me, and between now and October 2015, the polls will be interesting insofar as they provide hints about the future for the Liberals and the Bloc Quebecois.

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  15. Peter the Canadian dollar has been slipping because the US dollar and US debt instruments are thought to be the safest in the world. This week has seen chaos in Europe. People from around the Globe have been piling into US dollars. When the US dollar goes up because of Global panic ours goes down. Do you really think that with and election 3 years away and strong majority government that world investors care what the leader of the opposition says? Get real. There is more to currency movements that a domestic politician speaking out against the OIL SANDS! There's an entire world out there waiting to be discovered.

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  16. The government of BC is very unhappy with Mulclair's remarks:



    http://www.cbc.ca/news/politics/story/2012/05/12/christy-clark-tom-mulcair-the-house.html

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    1. The same Government of BC that hasn't been on the happy side of a 30% approval rating since the former Premier resigned in disgrace?

      I'm not sure being called goofy by a thoroughly discredited government in the middle of a public display of multiple personality disorder is much of an insult, nor is it much of a threat to the NDP in BC.

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  17. And then there is the fact as laid out here that all those lovely PROFITS leave the country !!

    http://www.vancouversun.com/business/Majority+profits+sent+Canada+study+finds/6605937/story.html

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    1. Derek Andrew14 May, 2012 20:12

      Much like those auto-manufacturing profits.
      Since all automobile manufacturers in Canada are foriegn owned!!!

      Mind you Canadian governments seem more than willing to bail them out when they lose money~!

      Delete
  18. Let's see ??

    105,000 oil jobs in the West

    1,500,000 mfg jobs in the East.

    Where do you think the influence should be ??

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  19. Interesting thought:

    "Except . . . if the failure to price carbon is a subsidy to Alberta oil companies, it surely is no less of one to, say, Ontario car makers. Strange how that never seems to come up."

    Postmedia News
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2012/05/11/andrew-coyne-national-leaders-unanimous-in-their-inaction-on-climate-change/

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  20. Where do these figures come from?
    "Let's see ??

    105,000 oil jobs in the West

    1,500,000 mfg jobs in the East.

    Where do you think the influence should be ??"

    only a 105,000 oil and gas jobs in all of BC, AB and SK? Where did you get that figure?

    Of course you've counted all the spin-off jobs as well?

    And just who will pay the equalization payments to the rest of Canada? It won't Quebec or Ontario that is for sure.

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    1. Not to mention you'd have to control for the decline in manufacturing in the US too. Unless Peter thinks that Ohio lost jobs cause of the tar sands too.

      Delete
  21. Peter if you are thinking that beggaring the West's oil and gas is going to revitalize the central province's manufacturing you are wrong. Manufacturing will only return the US, Canada the US and Europe will see manufacturing return when we figure out how to deal with the Chinese, and Indians and the rest. The developing world is eating our lunch and we're standing there like spectators and watching them. Then we buy the lunch. No my friend, we need to encourage the west to develop their resources and to process them here as well. To bad for the NIMBYs!!!

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    1. Yeah Earl I have to agree the Harper's are doing squat for the other than oil sectors.

      Time to get rid of them is obvious !!

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    2. How is it beggaring the oil and gas industry to make them pay the same amount of royalties as Alaska? You can't truly believe that the oil and gas industry is so fragile that any kind of reduction in record profits will destroy them all.
      I will, however, believe that oil and gas companies are spiteful enough to threaten a mass exodus over it. But by all means, continue your little fantasy world where we need to treat the oil sands with kid gloves; if they're that afraid of the payments they should be making in order to do business in Canada, then they're clearly not competent enough to succeed in a more fair marketplace and should be eliminated as businesses.

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    3. ^ This, a thousand times THIS.

      And the developing world will of course continue to "eat our lunch" -- just as long as they continue to pay cents for hard work, provide no benefits, do nothing to protect the environment, and generally not give a rat's behind about anything beyond the almighty dollar.

      It's our fault that we choose to maintain a decent standard of living for our citizens. That's our "problem".

      Delete
    4. Kensingtonian18 May, 2012 19:39

      Anon May 13:

      I do think the rents charged by Alberta are low however, it is not fair to compare Alaska with Alberta without knowing what is being extracted. The tar sands are not a commodity-they are a sticky-sandy blob with zero economic uses until refined. I do not know what type of oil is produced in Alaska but, it may have much lower refinement costs if it is of a better quality (Brent Crude for example). So comparing rents without knowing what is being extracted (and the quality thereof that determines its price on the market)is comparing apples to oranges.

      Delete
  22. Hey Eric, this is completely off-topic. But have you seen the latest from AR's BC polling. It has the NDP at 50%. It also shows a united right probably would not win the next election.

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  23. An interesting situation is emerging which parallels the US one. Voter turnout is dropping which means that getting your base to vote while discouraging the other parties base is a clear path to power. For the Liberals that didn't work anymore as the NDP would just claim the left while the Conservates would claim the right thus leaving them with little to demonize.

    Now we have the NDP who can demonize the far right to their hearts content knowing they'd never vote NDP anyways. We also have the Conservatives who know the far left won't vote for them thus demonize away. Each side has its apologists in the mainstream media as well who can take care of some of the ugliest work (or excuse it to the masses as the case may be).

    This is terrible for democracy as you get two extremes and no middle ground - which is where you want to be as extremes tend to not work well in the long run and sometimes can blow up in the short term as well. What to do about it? Hard to say as the middle now has little to choose from. I know the Greens are a middle ground (as I actually read their stances on stuff) but few will look at them and who knows what happens if they get more than 1 MP. The Liberals are a running joke now with ex-NDP'er Bob Rae their latest 'great hope' followed by Justin Trudeau. Sigh.

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    1. Tuirnout increased last federal election from 58.8 in 2008 to 61.4 in 2011. In the Alberta election turnout went from 40% to nearly 60%.

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  24. Harper is the decisive one. He's the one ignoring the rest of the country in his obsession with Albertan Oil. And yet, as he falters in polls particularly in the West, he immediately throws his rhetoric into over drive and is accusing Mulcair of the same thing. What Mulcair advocates for is national economic stability, and he's the guy pitting east vs west vs Quebec according to right wing media. This whole situation is ridiculous, and this time the Federal Conservatives are fish out of water.
    -Taylor

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    1. Actually John the running joke you consider the Liberals to be is still doing better, relatively speaking, than the CPC. While the NDP is taking left leaning liberals as they ride the high of the recent leadership convention, the Libs still haven't lost any ground, perhaps even gained a per cent, since the last election. However, the same can't be said for the CPC. If the polls are to beleived,the government has lost about 25 per cent of its support in the last year, and much of that has likely gone to the running joke. When the Mulcair bump settles, the Libs will also start taking back some of their left support. I realize a left-right split, thanks to a complete demise of the Liberals is a CPC wet dream, but it is not going to happen. Sorry for the cold water, but it's the CPC's turn to hit the skids. And if the Libs are smart, they will slide right at tad and send the CPC back to being a regional party once again.

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  25. National Post May 15

    http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/05/13/michael-den-tandt-mulcairs-east-west-gambit-cynical-but-potentially-effective/

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  26. Some please explain what replaces the Natural resource extraction and shipments jobs and money.

    Please do not say green technology.

    Canada is totally unprepared to compete in the Green Tech field. China and India are turning out thousands of times more engineers and IT graduates. These people are very very happy to get paid 20% of what similarly qualified Canadian (and American and European) expect to get paid.

    So if you want to follow McGuinty, Mulcair, Charest and into the Green Tech race are you ready to take the steps required?

    1) shut done all Liberal arts training at Canadian schools with all the educational funding going to the Technology programs. All tech training will have to be free. we will have to graduate 100s of times more IT and engineer students.

    Their education has to be free as they will have to work for about 25% of the current rate. A good working wage will be $25,000 / year.

    As we are counting on these heroes to win the green technology race for Canada, all other wages should be adjusted to reflect their relative lack of importance.

    The pay off is not that great.... the manufacturing will be done in SE Asia. Canada will get a good return on the patents if the Chinese decide to honor them.

    Why does the press let the socialists off by letting them say that the Oil jobs will be replaced by good jobs in Green Technology and does follow up and ask for the detailed plan and risks involved to make that happen???

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  27. The Keystone Garter24 May, 2012 11:44

    I though BC support of CPC was the most retarded thing in the world. Immigrants from East Asia and SE Asia are morally conservative. That is the only rational self-interested reason to vote CPC for anyone there except Eastern BC. GFV is hooked on growth through being part of Pacific rim. When AGW happens, and it is looking like +5C in the 2-7C IPCC projected range: not good....it will wipe out China as a market and source of imports. They will starve and riot (destroying factories or democracy) and stuff, but more importantly there won't be any freshwater. The factories will be sent to Russia, Canada, Scandinavia, Alaska....who will gain frshwater and floods. Delta is also the one piece of Canada's real estate guaranteed to flood. Marijuana could be an important export and a good way to give AB's fundaMENTAList Chrsitian friends down south, the middle finger.

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