Despite the near-hysterical reaction of certain CBC broadcasters to the comments made last week by Thomas Mulcair about how tarsands developments are inflating the value of the Canadian dollar, thereby weakening our manufacturing sector, there are those who are able to more objectively assess his comments. One of them is Lawrence Martin.
In his column today entitled Ottawa’s industrial policy divides Canada against itself, Martin observes that we made progress in the decades before 2000 in moving away from an economy based on resource extraction. Using figures from Jim Stanford's research, he reveals that well over half of Canada’s exports consisted of an increasingly sophisticated portfolio of value-added products in areas such as automotive assembly, telecommunications, aerospace technology and more.
However, as of July 2011, unprocessed and semi-processed resource exports accounted for two-thirds of Canada’s total exports, the highest in decades,” Mr. Stanford wrote. “Compare that to 1999, when finished goods made up almost 60 per cent of our exports.”
So while the Conservatives and their apologists at the CBC (aka Peter Mansbridge and Rex Murphy) can wax apoplectic about the 'divisiveness' of this national leader's comments, Lawrence Martin ends his piece thus:
But let the debate roar on. The country needs a new industrial strategy, one based on more than corporate tax cuts, free-trade agreements and rampant resource exploitation.