Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Well Well, someone said the P word and now Harper is all in a titter.

Here's the problem; Someone speaks on an issue that appears to confuse and befuddle Harper/Dimster, so they bundle up the topic in simplistic terms that they can understand, and thus in their minds, Canadians can understand, then repeat repeat infinitum or at least until it goes away.

Perhaps I should have entitled this piece ad infinitum. As defined in Wikipedia;

"Great fleas have little fleas upon their backs to bite 'em,And little fleas have lesser fleas, and so ad infinitum.And the great fleas themselves, in turn, have greater fleas to go on,While these again have greater still, and greater still, and so on."

Ok, this is what I am on about; Jack Layton said Canada should pursue a Buy Canadian strategy, and Harper immediately branded this as "trade war". How very ingenious of him and how typical too. One liner slogans are his specialty afterall. Anything more than that, well you know... Even when given a road map with X marks the spot, this guy still couldn't find his way home.

There is nothing wrong with a campaign to encourage Canadians to buy Canadian. It neither infringes on so called, free trade agreements, nor does it attack the spirit of them. They remain intact and unincumbered. I do this type of thing myself, by my own choice and due to the simple fact that I have made an effort to educate myself somewhat on what is a Canadian company and what is not, plus paying some attention to things like labeling, I am able to make some choices that favor Canadian companies, and ULTIMATELY, the Canadian economy and job market to some small degree.

Could someone please explain to Harper and his people that there is power in numbers outside of the ballot box? C.C. that to Mr. Irrelevant too. That would be Ignatieff.

The link below is to a CBC article and the comments expand on this issue. What have we come to when Jack Layton is the one making sense? I touched on another idea that is in keeping with this yesterday in my attempt to make some sense of the strategies driving the latest budget, particularly in regard to the area of Capital Cost Allowance changes, and this all fits together. Even under free trade agreements, Countries have the right to direct public money to be spent within the Country so why not at least exercise our options?

Protectionist fears such as this will only serve to hurt our economy. America isn't going to pay any attention to the Canadian government encouraging it's Citizens to buy Canadian. It is not significant in proportion to their economy. It is in relation to the size of ours though. Besides that, most of what they buy from us, they do so because of competitive cost structure and/or sheer need as with energy and resources.

Instead of running from every issue that Harperites think may upset America, be smart. Rub their belly's some too. Put some emphasis on giving Industries we have shared interest in some prime time as well. The North American Auto Industry for instance. There is a great deal of misunderstanding regarding that industry among many Canadians, and many don't grasp how important and integral it is in this Country. Yes, they have made a lot of mistakes. Now is the time to reflect upon those things, reorganize and move ahead.


Like minded thoughts.


  1. Should we be very afraid, or admit that we are so screwed?

    William Watson, an economist who does make sense now and then, points out the dangers of protectionism (using shipbuilding as the example, C.O.!): “It's poison for our exporters. It's bad for the industry being helped, which needs to compete to be efficient. And it can only make a world recession worse.” And then be basically suggests that the global economy is kind of out of breath and merely needs some oxygen by way of reduced interest rates and “generous provision of liquidity” to carry on as happily as before. At

    So much for reflect, reorganize and move ahead!

    On the same page in the Ottawa Citizen, Dan Gardner writes up “the real story of this budget”: “The government has no vision. Neither do the opposition parties. And don't look to corporations, labour, the non-profit sector, or any other component of Canadian public life. They're as myopic as the political leadership.”

    Finally, here is a “laugh that brings the groan” (Kipling) -

  2. Herb, there are so many opinions from people who rely on incomplete data, and from those whose data is reasonably complete but hold opposite views to peers, that it is hard to know what exactly we should be afraid of. One thing that seems to be emerging clearly though, is how little so many who should know, actually do.

    This ship building item is interesting for sure, but it's hardly a great example for the journalist to use without first providing adequate background info. Like, how do they define shipyard and what exactly is going to be done with this $175 million? Then there is trying to equate this paltry sum, by modern standards, with a trade war. Bub needs to get a grip or at least up to speed. I wonder if he knows about sending submarines from the east coast to the west coast for maintenance and upgrades? If so, how does he factor that into his trade war perspective?

    The first thing I would like to know about this is whether that money represents the total amount to be spent or is it just to help upgrade the shipyards etc.? As I pointed to before, that's a lot of ships and not much money. Granted, the list includes such things as life boats, and one might ask how much could those cost, but it also includes some fairly major vessels. Generally speaking, my impression of this guy's article is that he should stick to something he is informed about and understands. We already have a sufficient quantity of blathering ninnies.

    I was writing a response to one of Charlesius' links the other day and never got time to finish it, but one of the points I was going to mention is that just about every serious economic comparison I have read relates to early eighties or '92/'93. Point being, we survived.

    Speaking of Charles, I received an email from him the day before yesterday that was a day old, and he said he wasn't doing well and was headed for the hospital. Have you heard from him at all?

    The next article is VG Comrade, and I'm all up with what that fellow is trying to say. Especially the big V! Vision. That's what I have been looking for in the budget, and that's why I did my little piece on Trudeau. Instead of Vision, we get revenge and eye poking.

    As to Bob Rae's eloquent delivery; so there is a relevant Liberal left after all. I was beginning to wonder. lol

  3. Comrade,
    After spending over an hour acouple of mornings ago responding to your reply, when I hit the go button it went. Into cyberspace so got a bit bummed out.

    In case it happens again I will keep this short. There are many ways to protect our industries from products produced by countries with a wage structure within 20% of ours. The favorite in Europe is their consumption tax that makes up the bulk of their tax revinue. By taxing items not produced locally high and those produced locally lower they can close the gap easily. Unlike the gst it is not a visible tax and can be manipulated easily without appearing to be protectionist.

    While we don't have much problem with competing with countries with similar wage structures we need to find a way to deal with countries like China with its vastly lower wages if we want to survive. One easy way is to start pushing quality over price and backing it by a garbage tax applied to any item that doesn't have a 100% money back gaurentee for a reasonable period of time. When I think back my parents only bought two fridges in their lifetimes and they expcted 25 years of use on a major applience. Try and get 10 years out of anything built today. My friend went back to Switzerland and brought back a new frying pan gaurenteed for life but cost 200 of our dollars. This pan could double as a post driver it was so well built. Compare that with the ten dollar pan at Walmart that you end up eating the coating on it in six months and need to replace it on a regular basis. Why not put tax proportionate to what it would cost in Canada to build a pan with a twenty year gaurentee to cover the cost of having to landfill twenty pans. China then has the choice to start making better quality goods which would raise the price or face competing with locally produced pans on a roughly equal basis.

    I know you think wages have to go down and they would to a small extent if the price of goods coming form the third world rose enough to make small drops in wages prefferable to layoffs. I can't see any way outside of legalized slavery to drop wages across the board without ripping apart our society. Try telling a doctor or plumber he has to take a fifty per cent cut and every proffesional and trades person would leave for a country that will pay them more. If wage cuts are not applied equally then it will drive our economy further down when most people can't afford their services.

    While the rest of the world realizes that they have to start rebuilding their internal economies again while keeping trade open, only Canada and China want to keep the status quo despite the fact we are both suffering as well. Just like the rest of the world racing to build a new green economy, we in this country are looking in the window again envying what the others have instead of geting off our butts and going for our piece of the action.

  4. Hey Wayup. I guess we have all lost a few masterpieces to cyber space at one time or another. I usually write my elongated offerings on Microsoft word and click save when I remember to.

    I think we have missed a connection on my thoughts on wages/compensation somewhere. I don't have much time right now to go over it, but I will later.

  5. Wayup,

    Further on wages etc. You may have mistaken my statement on the goals of some. That being to bring wages closer to those in China, which is their goal, not mine.

    Generally speaking, Westerners can't absorb significant net income decreases without first restructuring a great deal of their lives. Many can't absorb reductions at all. Depends on circumstances.

    More specifically, there are sectors, particularly public sectors where compensation and value divide and can be addressed. Other areas we could look at include regional costs and lowering gross compensation, not net, in order to assist businesses to be more competitive, and in some cases to be able to survive. Particularly those who are employee intensive.

    A number of other things can be done to improve business competitiveness and ultimate cost of goods to consumers. Many of these areas would require restructuring current debt load to afford time for these business to rethink their strategies and methods. Example being the retail sector overall. Their excessive overhead costs are directly reflected in sticker price, and the more consumers pay, the more income they require.

    Turning back new age marketing and transportation methods can also help in restoring competitiveness for industries that have now been priced out of business by artificially low imported goods. All of which would lend a helping hand to restoring our income producing ability.