Sunday, January 19, 2014

The Harper Legacy: Empty Mantras And Empty Ideology

I hope readers don't think I have grown lazy or burnt-out when I reprint letters from The Toronto Star. It is just that their observations and ideas are frequently so nicely expressed that I think they merit some exposure in the blogosphere.

Today's offers a sharp rebuke to the tired Tory ideology of low corporate taxes as the path to prosperity, a mantra that has been repeatedly shown to be as devoid of value as the head of their leader and our Prime Minister is devoid of ideas and vision.

Re: Canada hit by unexpected rise in jobless rate, Jan. 10

When asked about the December job losses, Finance Minister Jim Flaherty lamely trots out his usual PMO-approved talking point that we must “keep taxes low to create the environment where job creation can flourish.” Translation: Slash government.

Not just hogwash, sir — stale hogwash!

Taxes are already low enough. It is the continual bleeding by mass employers that drive these kinds of losses, like plant closures announced by Kellogg in London, Heinz at Leamington, CCL Industries in Penetanguishine and others that have already occurred over the past several years, including the steel industry. True, many closures are in Ontario, but that’s because that province traditionally formed our industrial heartland.

Indeed, some jobs are lost because of technology but the majority are because U.S. head offices are taking jobs back to the U.S. or other firms are moving to low-wage countries that Canadians can never compete with, with labour rates as low as $1 a day, such as the garment industry.

If the Conservative government in Ottawa is serious about job creation, it will formulate and actively promote an industrial strategy for Canada, one that goes beyond the Alberta tar sands and the oil industry. Elsewhere, tinkering with a few high-tech projects may create a relative handful of well-paying work but not the thousands of jobs and steady wages that industry can provide.

The Tories demonstrated that they knew this sort of thing could work when they pumped life-saving public funding into GM of Canada and Chrysler Canada when those two industrial titans were threatened with bankruptcy. It’s that or reverse course on slashing government, the only other mass employment sector we have left.

In the end, it seems the Harper government is rendered impotent on jobs creation by its own narrow-minded ideology based on fantasy and blind to the reality of our preventable national decline.

Brad Savage, Scarborough


  1. I appreciate the 'Best In Show' posts. Saves me the effort of having to scroll through comments sections. But I am a very lazy person.