Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Living In The 19th Century

Yesterday, with great fanfare, Stephen Harper signed a free trade deal with South Korea. He claims that the deal signals prosperity for Canada. There will be winners. But, Tom Walkom writes, they won't include the auto industry:

Some Canadian high-tech firms, including those making aerospace equipment, hope to profit from the deal announced Monday in Seoul. And perhaps some will.

But the real Canadian winners will be beef and pork farmers, who will be able to sell their wares in South Korea duty-free. Meat products now account for roughly 4 per cent of Canadian exports to South Korea.

The biggest Canadian export to South Korea is coal. That’s unlikely to change.
Meanwhile, the losers will be auto workers displaced by cheaper, duty-free Korean cars. A study commissioned by Ottawa estimates that up to 1,150 Ontario jobs will be lost as a result of both this deal and an earlier one signed between Washington and Seoul. (That 2012 pact is expected to result in Korean imports displacing some autos manufactured in Canada for sale south of the border.)

So our environmental reputation will be reinforced by this deal. And one area of the country will benefit. According to The Canadian Press,

When it comes to job creation in Canada, there's Alberta and then there's everybody else.
The latest employment data for February showed the oil-rich western province created an impressive 18,800 jobs, largely in construction, mining and oil and gas, while in the rest of the country overall employment fell.

 As the Statistics Canada report issued Friday showed, Alberta is responsible for almost all the new net jobs generated in the past year — 82,300 of the 94,700 countrywide, or 87 per cent — as the province saw employment rise an impressive 3.8 per cent.

By comparison, provinces not called Alberta only gained about 12,000 which, for the purposes of the agency's survey, constitutes a rounding error.

You can bet that data will find its way into the Quebec election. We are sleepwalking into a constitutional crisis -- brought to you by a man who claims to be an economist.

The problem is that Harper's economics is straight out of the 19th century. Walkom writes:

Ottawa is retreating to the economy of a much earlier time, when Canada concentrated on selling raw materials abroad and then imported whatever manufactured goods were needed.

The prime minister enjoys living in the 19th century. His goal is to make the rest of us share his enjoyment.


bcwaterboy said...

The world traveller can't seem to find the time to spend in Canada, what with the Isreal expedition and now this. Free trade is really anything but and few everyday citizens actually see any benefits at all, and most will be loss of yet a few thousand more precious jobs in the anything but Alberta hub of Ontario. I would also point out for a guy that likes photo ops so much he is not particularly photogenic is he.

Owen Gray said...

He has no people skills, waterboy. And he takes a lousy picture. Yet he went into politics.

And he became prime minister.

Anonymous said...

Yesterday on
TVO Russia was spoken of as a not rising economy because the expert said it relied on its natural resources and did not diversify. Just like Canada, I thought.

But then again I just read the Canada will be selling 10B dollars worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. Apparently, very quietly, one sector of our economy is thriving. The one that relies on wars and killing people.

Why can't we manufacture wind generators or something life related?

Owen Gray said...

Isn't it interesting, Anon, that a party populated by a lot of "pro-lifers" encourage and support weapons manufacturers?

the salamander said...

.. sentient life or signs of individual thinking are scarce within The Harper Compound.. instead repetition, mantra and whipped dog allegiance are demanded and delivered.. this is 'government as evangelical franchise fast food' ..

Amidst the 'paramouncy' of Harper's Rapture & shallow corporatist cowardly doctrine, note the ascendancy of the shrill wimp franchisees. Gail Shea, P Poilievre, Leitch, Flaherty, Kent, Oliver, Baird etc and the dim unelected, Novak, Hamilton, Wright, Byrne et al .. all promised a profitable franchise one supposes.. in China ??

Somehow the Pied Piper from Toronto has all the dim & dull diseased mice singing & twitching to the same tune.. and headed to China when Stevie will part the waters, holding hands with Christy Clark & Alison Redford under the rainbow ... tra la la .. all bow and behold.. trumpets will sound
and the Game of Drones will unravel .. badly ..
The great land sickened .... fracked, draine, and toxic
the dark Harper Blight paramount..

And where will our dear departed Stevie surface ?
Switzerland, South Africa? Britain? Venezuela ? Saudi Arabia?

Owen Gray said...

I have no doubt that Harper will land softly somewhere, salamander. It used to be that Conservatives -- like Lord Beaverbrook and the defrocked Lord of Crossharbour -- would return to the Motherland.

But ever since Mr. Black's escapades, I suspect that soft spot is off limits.

the salamander said...

.. I hope dreary dearie Stevie gets to espy firsthand, a thundering lee shore as his soft landing point.. perhaps a classic Newfie gale at night, in winter .. with a full running tide..

A wet, horrifying, churning reality.. that he & Baird the Loud, Cement Clement, Toady Flaherty et al seem to think the rest of us should be thrilled by.. some sort of middle class trial by fire that thugs like them skip by sacrificing others less worthy .. or entitled.. or needy like them

I look forward to all of their swimmingly refreshing reports from the crashing surf and black rocks they deem so friendly .. and may their legacy truly portray either their courage or their cowardice or craven nature ..

Owen Gray said...

"There is a tide in the affairs of men," salamander. Shakespeare understand how things worked.

The wheel of fortune was bound to turn. And those now at the top would find themselves on the bottom.

Anonymous said...

Harper is all about the NAU.
Big business pushing for the NAU
May 18/2011

The last meeting of the 3 Amigo's.
Kerry signals advance of NAU plan

Harper has also been sneakily working on the TPP, which is a corporate give-a-way. This gives big business a hell of a lot more power. As if they haven't done enough evil, to this country with Harper's, BC Liberals, and his degenerates assistance.

Harper is the front man for the NAU and the NWO. Harper's trade deals are all about globalization. Seems the world will be set up in Unions. Then the 1% big boys takeover the global governance.

I had read of this long ago and laughed it off as, far fetched. I'm not laughing anymore.

e.a.f. said...

and oil can is also ensuring workers have 19th century working conditions and salaries.

Having Korea being able to bring in cars with no tariff will result in a loss of jobs, decent paying unionized jobs. But those are the jobs oil can wants gone. oil can's goal is to impoverish the rest of the country.

If the P.Q. have a majority and things continue as they are in this country, Quebecers will vote to leave Canada. They may actually be better off.

Dana said...

Good lord.

Where exactly are these eggs you're counting?

Both the LPC and NDP have lots of time to fuck up too and, based on recent history, are much more likely to do just that.

The Cons are the only party who know it's not a fair fight.

I expect nastier anti-Trudeau attack ads out of the the dippers than I do out of the Cons. And I expect, paradoxically that the soft LPC vote will not go to the NDP but to the Cons - because face it, soft voters look for hard leadership. And Canada is full to the throat of soft voters.

I expect Justin's LPC to roll over and expose their lovely white belly for any fangs in play and then I expect the LPC back room wags to turn on Justin like ravening hyenas.

And Harper to have another majority. Goddamn his eyes.

Owen Gray said...

It's been obvious for a long time that Harper is no economist, e.a.f. His economic policy is bad for the country.

But, worse still, he may be handing the Parti Quebecois the ammunition they need to destroy the country.

Owen Gray said...

You're saying, Dana, that you expect a replay of the last election. The opposition fight among themselves and Harper wins again.

History could repeat itself. One can only hope that -- knowing who they face -- the Libs and the Dippers won't be that stupid.

Owen Gray said...

All I can add, Anon, is that Harper is no laughing matter. He got to where he is because lots of us laughed him off as too far fetched to be taken seriously.

Anonymous said...

Owen, there hasn't been a day since the reformers came to town that I haven't felt sickened and assaulted by these carrion creatures. You know,how you just know, when there's a con afoot? And it's like a nightmare and you try to scream and no-one hears; you try to move, wake way... So, throughout my ups and downs of Con-rule, getting drunk-beyond-belief, running away from the www, greiving and cursing and wondering just wtf is going to become of the most beautiful nation on earth, I held out hope, by being here Owen, and elsewhere with people who have a heartbeat, (yes-a bleeding heart!!) that someday, dirty-deeds-done-dirt-cheap, would be seen for what it is...and, whatever else happens--I have been made a better person because of it. My character-building is induced by adversity, it seems.

Owen Gray said...

That's an interesting take on things, Loving It. Harper builds character in his opponents.

That principle, obviously, doesn't apply to his followers.

Dana said...

"One can only hope that -- knowing who they face -- the Libs and the Dippers won't be that stupid."

Any evidence of the Libs and Dippers not being that stupid would be like a sunny Sunday morning in May to me.

In November, 2006 I predicted that Harper would win a second majority before the LPC and NDP (I included the Greens just to spread the rage around more equitably) pulled their narcissistic heads out of their insensate asses and got together to rid us of the loathsome toad in toads clothing. I also predicted that by then there very well may not be anything left worth saving.

I stand by that.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Owen. The good fight can do that for us. "Float like a butterfly & sting like a bee"!!Principles, in general, don't seem to apply to most of his followers, eh? Well, they do belive in 'survival of the fittest', so there's that. ;)

Owen Gray said...

Which is to say that they believe in Social Darwinism, Loving It. It's all part of stepping back into the past.

Owen Gray said...

That could well happen, Dana. Canadian politics, over the last two decades, has not been driven by either Intelligence or Wisdom.

And I fear that what is happening in Quebec will play into that sordid state of affairs.

Still, I can only hope that necessity will cause us to rethink our priorities.

Anonymous said...

Problem is that these bloodsuckers behind the NAU and WTO and all so-called 'free trade agreements' do want to use Quebec as a stake in the Heart of Canada because once Quebec leaves confederation the rest of the provinces will be easy pickings to these vultures. This is just what want, to own us and more especially our natural resources. Another Con by the name of Ralph Klein started the privatization of Canada in Alberta decades ago. So much was done in secrecy we still do not know exactly who privately controls the natural resources of Alberta that once belonged to its citizens. I remember returning to Alberta after an absence of about 17 years and being shocked when I went to purchase an Alberta Government Forestry Map and all of the forests in Alberta were demarcated by boundaries named with private for profit timber harvesting companies.

In BC where I live now in the SE corner when I go to hike or bike on supposed crown land I have to go by signs clearly stating ‘No Trespassing Private Property” Tembec, Inc. If Canadians do not wake up soon to what Harper is really doing the former citizens of Canada will be worse off than the medieval serfs. After taxes at least the serf could do what they wanted with the land they occupied for the balance of the year.

If you have ever tried to read the WTO agreements, which supposedly from their website:

“The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that trade flows as smoothly, predictably and freely as possible.”

You will quickly realize lawyers wrote it and the language couched in legalese, which represents the dictums of the largest wealthiest multinational corporations of the world. Further you almost have to have a law degree to decipher them properly and completely, they are not for reading by regular people. I extracted enough to be able to translate the above statements meaning in reality for the rest of us:

“The World Trade Organization (WTO) deals with the global rules of trade between nations. Its main function is to ensure that their (multinationals) goods, services and capital will flow unrestricted by any government or legal authority other than our own, which is the WTO.” -Mogs

What membership in the WTO does in effect is undermines all member nations sovereignty and no population of any nation has ever gotten the opportunity to give a yes or no vote to membership. Also only very few member governments actually control the WTO:

“The WTO and its defenders argue that it is democratic because all countries officially have one vote and decisions are usually made by what they call "consensus." In practice, however, votes are almost never taken. Rather, the U.S. and other major powers work with the WTO Director General to broker "Green Room" decisions in secret among small, handpicked caucuses of compliant countries. They then present the results as faits accomplis to the other member countries. At the Seattle Ministerial in 1999, such longstanding practices finally ignited a revolt by some less-developed countries and ultimately led to the failure to launch a new round of trade negotiations.” –From;

Other interesting reading:

No free trade agreement is a good agreement for ordinary citizens as a matter of fact the opposite is true they are a horror show for us and for the wealthy glam corporations they are the largest legal loophole they could dare to scheme up and gives them free reign and in effect global corporate governance and Harper is their shill.

“A shill, also called a plant or a stooge, is a person who publicly helps a person or organization without disclosing that they have a close relationship with the person or organization.” –from;


Owen Gray said...

From the very beginning, Mogs, it's been about privatizing public resources.

astone said...

It's as if you were reading my mind.!! I would say eloquent. Most voters would not be able to define the word.

Owen Gray said...

It's good to have you back, astone.