The NDP comes out against Harper’s ‘big lentil’ agenda

The party’s position on Keystone sounds silly when applied to grain farming, so why keep it?

(Shutterstock)

(Shutterstock)

In a press release this week, Joe Cressy didn’t say this:

New Democrats believe that agriculture must serve Canada’s long-term economic prosperity. We will not support short-sighted projects that leave Canadians behind—like the government’s recent moves to facilitate grain exports. Rather than worrying about good Canadian jobs, our government, with the full support of Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau, is actually forcing railways to ship more of our jobs south and overseas.

When it comes to the economy, unlike both Conservatives and Liberals, New Democrats don’t believe promoting a massive export of our raw, unprocessed grains and other agricultural products is a good economic policy for Canada.

Canadians know we can be more than growers of grains and shippers of lentils. We should be striving as a country to move up the global value chain, to go beyond exporting grains and pulses, and to foster the value-added industries like those that supported a century of Canadian prosperity: well-paid jobs like those in the pasta and frozen vegetable dinner industries.

It is also worth noting that based on a study by Fictionomica, an independent economic research company, the export of unprocessed wheat, which is nearly 20 million metric tonnes per year, results in the loss of over 36,000 potential jobs. If the prairies are going to be used for farming wheat, we should ensure that Canadians derive as much value from the resource as possible, not work to make shipping our value-added jobs to the pasta mills of the south and to lower cost labour markets easier.

The NDP believes grain exports, done properly, could benefit Canada, but not when they ship tens of thousands of good jobs and grains away.

Far from it, in fact. The NDP, vigourously pro trade as they have become, actually embraced the importance of getting our agricultural products to western portsvalue-added be damned.

Cressy did, however, take Justin Trudeau to task for his support of Keystone XL.

So tell us, Mr. Cressy: why is oil different?

BTW, here’s the real excerpt from that release:

New Democrats believe development must serve Canada’s long-term environmental and economic prosperity. We will not support short-sighted projects that leave Canadians behind — like the Keystone XL pipeline.

When it comes to the economy, unlike both Conservatives and Liberals, New Democrats don’t believe promoting a massive export of our raw, unprocessed resources is a good economic policy for Canada.

Canadians know we can be more than hewers of wood and drawers of water. We should be striving as a country to move up the global value chain, to go beyond exporting raw resources, and to foster the value-added industries that supported a century of Canadian prosperity and well-paid jobs.

It is also worth noting that based on a study by Informetrica, an independent economic research company, the export of unprocessed bitumen envisioned in the Keystone XL project could result in the loss of over 40,000 potential jobs. If the oil sands are going to be developed, we should ensure that Canadians derive as much value from the resource as possible.

The NDP believes pipeline projects, done properly, could benefit Canada, but not when they ship tens of thousands of good jobs and resources away. And not when they leave environmental liabilities on the shoulders of future generations of Canadians.




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The NDP comes out against Harper’s ‘big lentil’ agenda

  1. Problem with NDP is they are very long on promises but make no economic sense at all. Too corrupt to ask a simple question, how is NDP going to tax us 200% to deliver on these lofty promises?

    Hey, now that it has been some years now, Saskatchewan is again grown as they ditched the NDP. How is all those NDP/Liberal debt taxes in Ontario and Quebec adding to your lives?

    I know, we are brainwashed like religion, but for “blind faith” statism….we are well conditioned not to understand real economics and how governemtn spends our money on wastes. But more and more are growing out of the blind faith in government thing.

  2. Reason we don’t have jobs is that we are a tax inflated depreciating economy of debt. So expensive to live in Canada you need uncompetitive wages. Taxed 50% on income/employment/property/ecuation taxes, taxed 50% more in hidden taxes, GST/HST, and protectionism, most $100 earned only gets %25 benefit on one order of income spend. If you need a roof job or dental work, 1/2 goes to the service providers taxes to inflate your costs. Some is lobby driven like Mozzarella cheese, 283% tariff protectionism and why cheese is near 1/3rd the costs in Detroit versus Windsor. Same with beef, up to 234% tariff protections for beef industry lobbyists.

    All this devalued money, taxes real and hidden and protectionism do is raise our wage needs to uncompetitive levels and why the jobs leave. Investors leave as real after tax returns are well below real inflation and currency depreciation.

    Canada isn’t going to decline, its already started.

  3. About as clever as your bucket brigade analogy.

    • You might suggest a better one…if you have one? The ndp position has always reeked to me of pure politics[ yes i do believe they have the interests of the ordinary working stiff at heart. But that's hardly an excuse for dumb policy is it?] mostly adopted because it creates a nice wedge with the other two parties. Mulcair’s Dutch disease is nowhere now to be seen; disaster that it was.
      I’d like to see as much upgrading as economically possible, simply because i believe it’s an environmental crime to ship bitumen, by land or water. I think that’s the price we ought to pay if it means getting the product to market at all[ howzat working for Harper?] and safely. If it means something coming off the margin, so be it.

      • I couldn’t be bothered, but ask our author (as I have previously), with the benefit of hindsight, whether reducing development, or imposing upgrading (same effect) would have been economically advantageous, given their analysis that bottlenecks have cost, what, $18 billion/yr.

        This economics 101 analysis feeds the Coynes. the Gordons, the Moffatts etc. on twitter. And is patronizing to those who know that energy trading is far more complex than “lentils”. Btw, do we ship lentils as part of the full plant, do we husk them, split them, wash them? Dunno, I’m not a farmer. But it seems to me wheat shipments don’t include the husk, nor the chaff. And feeds the wildlife along the train rights-of-way through leakage.

        If I was an economist, academic, I’d probably suggest in a paper that popping corn before it is shipped by weight is a good idea…

        • Good points. I still find it striking that the late P. Lougheed [ who was no fool] was not onside with the Coyne/Leach school of thought.[i thought Moffat was a little more middle of the road guy, like K. Milligan?]

          • Same conditioned response to the letters “NDP”. Differing levels of salivation.

  4. I’m no economist or lentil or oil expert, but I might wonder if oil is an incredibly in demand resource that is ever dwindling while wheat and lentils face dearth markets and are replenished yearly. is it possible that forced upgrading of oil means the oil owners lose the high margins at the most valuable stage of production but oil still gets sold, while forced upgrading of lentils in Canada means you end up with a product too expensive to be competitive?

    Either way, if its a maxim that every single product is exactly the same across all markets and faces the exact same market conditions, as the author pretty much seems to think, then clearly I know even less than I thought.

    • Exactly. I’ve been trying to make this point to AL for some time now; but unfortunately he seems wedded to the idea of there being no compromise between so called fee markets and captive ones. You made that one far more clearly they i ever managed to.

  5. Any oil expert from the U of Calgary can never be objective on the issues.

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