Battleground 2015: NDP vs. Conservatives on energy and environment -

Battleground 2015: NDP vs. Conservatives on energy and environment

Mulcair says he could be talked into considering a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade mechanism


“It would be senseless,” Tom Mulcair said Sunday at the NDP debate in Montreal, “to stop developing the oil sands, but we should stop subsidizing them and we should internalize the carbon cost,” that last bit a slightly insiderish way of saying some sort of carbon-emission pricing mechanism should attach to oil sands products. This falls well short of wild-eyed extremism; as Mulcair likes to point out, the Conservatives have considered, but not implemented, ending subsidies to oil-sands development that were implemented under Jean Chrétien, and Stephen Harper spent the 2008 campaign pretending to offer a carbon cap-and-trade scheme, which it later took three successive Conservative environment ministers to bury without a trace.

But Mulcair’s rhetoric, like most politicians’, often jumps ahead of his substantive positions. In Montreal he mentioned that in 2010 he wrote the foreword to a book by veteran journalist Andrew Nikiforuk whose French title translates to English as “Oil Sands: Canada’s Shame — How Dirty Oil is Destroying the Planet.” (Skipping slightly off topic, one notes that Nikiforuk’s next opus is titled “The Energy of Slaves: Oil and the New Servitude.”)

During the debate, Mulcair allowed as how he could be talked into considering either a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade mechanism for, well, internalizing carbon costs, depending on circumstances. He can expect the Conservatives to start claiming he would do both. It’s important to note that Mulcair is hardly alone. A strong consensus unites the opposition parties’ leadership candidates to the effect that the oil sands’ environmental cost is unacceptable and that oil exports must be sharply curtailed. Nathan Cullen, whose riding includes Kitimat where the Northern Gateway pipeline would wind up, can hardly believe his luck. He’s calling on New Democrats to help him stop Gateway.

So that’s the NDP. Meanwhile, over on the other side, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver will on Monday deliver a keynote address to the Prospectors and Developers Association of Canada, on what a news release called “the government’s plan to streamline the approval process for major economic projects across Canada. In addition, Minister Oliver will highlight Canada’s leadership role in exploration, mining and processing, which alone employees [sic] more than 320,000 people across the county (not counting related support sectors).”

Note that the word “environmental” didn’t make it into that release before “approval.” I’m guessing Joe Oliver won’t be writing the foreword to The Energy of Slaves.

Elsewhere in the news, we note that Environment Canada has assigned a director-general-level civil servant to spend a year working for a consortium of companies with business in the oil sands. And the Fisheries Department walked away from $8.3 million for habitat development because it comes from one of those foreign-based environmental NGOs that Joe Oliver likes to warn against.

A few weeks ago, dizzy with jet lag, I wrote that Stephen Harper’s China trip was about going all-in on a resource-export-driven economic policy, designed in part to sharpen differences with the opposition and especially with the NDP. In the short time since then, the Conservatives have if anything moved faster on that agenda, while no NDP candidate shows any sign of walking away from the fight these stark policy differences imply.

Certainly the NDP has a track record on this front. In the famous and well-loved “exploding cartoon child’s head” NDP Quebec ads from 2008, the NDP suggested that besides making our children’s heads explode and torsos dissolve, a vote for the Conservatives would “make us slaves to the oil men.”  Oh, you know what? Let’s look at that one again.

It is impossible to believe this cluster of issues — energy, the environment, trade — will not dominate the next election campaign whenever it comes. The differences between the two largest parties are stark and the stakes are high, whether you prefer to measure dollars or carbon emissions. When I say this, I’m in no way minimizing the possible political fallout from the so-called robocall controversy. That story is trouble for the Conservatives. But if none of the parties is particularly distinguishing itself with its parliamentary conduct, distracted voters could well conclude it’s an ethical wash and none of the parties has a credible claim to be able to provide more high-minded government. Such a campaign could look a little like 2011’s, which began with Parliament finding the Harper government in contempt and ended with voters increasing the Conservatives’ margin of victory.

Perhaps the Liberals will find some middle ground between the NDP and Conservatives on the energy-environment nexus, but it hardly matters. If the Liberals quadruple their seat count in the next election they still can’t form a majority government. You may be bored of the Conservative-majority-or-coalition-chaos frame from 2011, but it won’t go away in the next election, which means NDP clarity on these issues will trump artful Liberal vagueness.

Three months after the 2008 election Harper had chosen the frame he would use for the next election. Ten months after that election, I am convinced he knows how he wants to run the next one. The battle line runs right through Fort McMurray. For now the NDP seems to relish a fight on those terms.



Battleground 2015: NDP vs. Conservatives on energy and environment

  1. Even if they don’t form the next government, “Alberta oilsands are killing Ontario jobs” is probably the LPCs best ticket for survival in the near future. The CPC (and to some extent the NDP) can’t hit back  as hard as they might because they have prospects on the prairies that the Libs don’t.

    • Ontaio would be committing suicide.  Ontario needs low interest rates more than a weak loonie to buy Ontario time to balance its budget without severe austerity. 

      The weak dollar over the last quarter century has been the reason for Canada’s lagging productivity, as companies have not been able to purchase capital equipment required for productivity because of the weak dollar.

      Ontario’s main customer historically (the US) is treading water.  There is no growth there, even if the weak dollar strategy were implemented.

      A strong economic future for ALL of Canada rellies on commodity exports buying the time for Ontario and Quebec to restructure their governments and their economies.  A strong dollar means businesses in central Canada will be able to buy the capital equipment required  to increase productivity and competitiveness.

      The weak dollar seemed to help central Canada recover last time because the US went on the biggest debt induced consumer buying binge in history.  That will not happen again.

      • Know what would work great for that? Sovereign wealth fund. 

        • And how exactly is Canada supposed to pay for this sovereign wealth fund when we’re still running deficits, and still in debt? I’d be all for a sovereign wealth fund if we eliminated the countries debt, but that’s decades off in the future.

          Unless of course you’re simply advocating another way of taking money from Alberta’s resources to redistribute to ON and QC, which would be a terrible calamity.

          • Hey if it’s us or them, guess which the LPC gets more votes by propping up? 

          • So you have no problem with the LPC advocating terrible policy if it’s politically expedient? Glad you guys are always looking out for the national interest, not pandering to whatever particular region you think might support you.

          • It’s partly expediency.  but it’s better policy than either the gun registry or the census or the GST reduction, in fact.

          • Ya, the Gun Registry was a terrible policy… also based on political expedience. Good thing we’ve got a government that actually takes its responsibilities seriously.

      • It would help a great deal if you realized that Alberta is not the center of the universe, and doesn’t set commodity prices.

        Ontario deals with those who do.

        And Ont and Que aren’t about to ‘restructure their govts and their economies’. Nor do we need to buy ‘capital equipment’ to increase productivity and competitiveness.

    • Again you emit nonsense.  The oil sands are responsible for creating a lot of jobs directly and indirectly across the country, including many manufacturing jobs in Ontario.  Political parties that don’t understand this, will not succeed, and they don’t deserve to succeed in any jurisdiction, if they fail to see the truth.

      Dalton McGuinty is the one who tried to irrationally blame the oil sands for Ontario’s economic problems: ’nuff said.

      • Funny that Ontario manufacturers have to rely on a lower dollar to make a buck. You would think that after all these years these companies would have understood that their businesses need to be profitable regardless of what happens to the dollar. McGuinty instead of wasting billions of dollars on nonsense could have helped his manufacturing base to improve its productivity. Instead he develops penis envy and lashes out at Alberta. If we did not have the resource industry where would Canada be today and where would all those wonderful wealth re-distribution programs be when the country ended up broke.

  2. Excellent point(s), Paul. It will be interesting, especially if the European Union economic issues don’t get resolved and the CPC have a significant boogey man to point to re economy, jobs, etc.

  3. Is doubling down on resources export a wise strategy when that won’t be very compelling in Ontario and particularly the GTA? Or do they no longer believe that the GTA is vital to their majorities going forward?

    • All the more so if they should elect an NDP govt in BC. Given the stakes i can see this election getting very nasty indeed. Perhaps a presage of the 2015 federal one?

    • Toronto is the main financial hub in the world for mining and small oil and gas investment banking.

      A whole lot of those high-paid Bay Street investment banking, accounting, and legal jobs rely on Canada being a commodity superpower.

      i.e. The thing that makes Toronto a relevant financial centre in the world are Canada’s commodities.

      A war on commodities by “progressives” in Canada is ironically a war on Toronto.

      • i.e. Toronto, ironically, is really a Western Canadian city, economically speaking.

        The GTA has been thriving under the Asian-led commodities boom spawned by the rise of an Asian middle class, millions of people rising out of subsistance poverty.  It is small town Ontario which relied on relatively low skilled manufacture of consumer goods for the American market which is suffering.

        That low-skilled manufacturing is not coming back, even if one pursued a low dollar strategy.

        High-skilled manufacturing can make a comeback, but this requires a strong dollar to be able to buy the capital equipment to increase the productivity to be able to pay for the high-skilled labour that niche automated manufacturing requires.

        • I don’t think you understand the GTA economy at all. Mining finance is a decent sized industry here, but hardly dominant. Very little of that industry relies on the Alberta tar sands, which is mostly managed out of Calgary. Much of it is for projects outside Canada, for which resource exports from Canada are irrelevant. 

          Facts on the ground are that Torontonians don’t think that the local economy is driven by Canadian resource exports. Never mind that the facts reflect this–the perception is enough.

          • Oil and gas mergers and acquisitions (IPO’s, secondaries, etc) is a big part of the investment banking (legal, accounting) business on Bay Street.  Oil and gas M&A probably has been the biggest chunk of M&A business over the last few years.

          • It a fraction of the finance industry, which is a fraction of the overall economy. People outside of Toronto have this bizarre idea that Toronto is a one industry town.

      • Bay St. can shift out of resource marketing pretty easily if it needs to. 

        • And what will they replace it with that will provide an equal or better opportunity for income?

          • I admit there’s an added problem if Alberta kills Ontario’s manufacturing, but resourceful entrepeneurs will hopefully survive. 

          • So give up a sure-thing for something that might be a possibility in the future? Not the sort of decision I can see any competent CEO making.

          • Hedge bets against an environmentally unfriendly boom that has to eventually go bust. 

          • Ontario’s mining finance industry does not rely on the tar sands. Many of the projects aren’t even in Canada.

            Beyond that, manufacturing, food processing, IT, biotechnology, etc. are all bigger industries in Toronto. Mining finance is a noteworthy component, but Toronto is not a one industry town.

      • China’s sovereign wealth fund, CIC, set up its first international office in Toronto, not London or New York, because Toronto is the centre of the commodity investment banking world.

        If the NDP and Liberals go on a war on commodities, that investment banking will go elsewhere.  London badly wants into this game, which is why the LSE wanted the TMX group.

        • Actually the great thing about resources which are so scarce that it’s profitable to get them from tar sands and soon even shale is that you can sell them ANYWAY.

          • Your statement makes no sense.  Natural resources in Canada are huge, possibly the biggest in the world, including a vast array of commodities, including oil and gas.

            There’s no such thing as tar sands. It’s correctly referred to as bitumen, or even oil sands.  If it were tar locked up in those hills, no one in the world would bother their head over it.  Tar is left at the END of the refinement process, not the beginning.  It’s what we shingle our roofs and pave our roads with.

            These commodities of all kinds are in HUGE demand, and will only become increasingly so, thanks primarily to growth in China and India, which together make up 2.5 billion people, or about 35% of the world’s population.

          • Strangely enough, we pretty much agree on all the content of your post, despite a disagreement on terminology and you saying mine makes no sense. 

          • GMFD….what did you mean about resources being scarce?

      • PDAC, the largest mining and prospecting conference in the world, is happening, not in London, not in New York, but in Toronto this week.

        • Why does any of this rely on the Northern Gateway?

  4. “You may be bored of the Conservative-majority-or-coalition-chaos frame from 2011, but it won’t go away in the next election, which means NDP clarity on these issues will trump artful Liberal vagueness.”

    Where are you hearing about liberal vagueness Pw? I’m pushing in my small way for libs to at least consider in their mid to long term planning for some form of cooperation with the Cullen faction of the NDP. I have no real sense of getting anywhere with the membership, who seem determined to bear grudges for as long as they can [ although i haven’t any real idea where the big boys stand, since as per usual they tell us nothing. Rae however has been careful to hold out no particular hope to folks like me – i don’t suppose there’s anyway he can? ]. If they are being artfully vague they are going to have to work hard to convince the membership who still seem a bit bolshie on the subject. Most ordinary libs choose to believe they can make it back over the dippers dead bodies if necessary, imho; I think they’re delusional – it will take both parties to pull down the Harper collossus; although i wouldn’t be a bit surprised if it does happen, if it isn’t self administered. 
    * Sigh…on second reading i further assume you were talking about vagueness on energy and the environment in particular.

    If you haven’t come across this great site i recomend you do PW. I presume the TD is associated vaguely or not with the NDP, but nonetheless i’ve found it an invaluable and inexhaustible source of really good reporting on the pipeline issue, even for pipeline agnostics.

    This one is particularly good. All the usual keystone cop cast…Enbridge, Sun tv the lot…hilarious. Actually this one’s better.

  6. Virginia Postrel ~ Creating Nature:

    Eden is in Western myth the unchanging and pristine paradise, lost through overreaching and lamented ever since. In the biblical story, however, Eden is more complicated. It is a living, growing place whose life depends on water and human labor. God plants the garden only after he has created man from the ground, and he charges Adam to work and keep the garden: to both improve and preserve it. Humanity is to be the source of both change and stability. Adam is part of nature—his very name springs from the earth, h’adamah—yet he is also distinct from it.

    Of course, no sooner has God created man, animals, and woman than the creator loses control of his creation. Genesis is the original Frankenstein myth. That man and nature could defy God has provoked theologians for centuries. We can leave the theological puzzles aside, however. Genesis suggests truths that do not depend on a particular religious tradition: Even in Eden, humanity occupies a garden, a place between static order and wild nature, a place we both work and keep. And no creation is completely under its creator’s control. The world changes almost as soon as it is formed, and so does humanity. They change each other.

    Yet the ideal of the untouched paradise, of orderly nature undisturbed by human action, still shimmers in many imaginations. Nature is a source of moral authority for some, of security for others. It offers standards and models. It is autonomous and eternal. “The chief lesson is that the world displays a lovely order, an order comforting in its intricacy,” writes Bill McKibben in his best-selling book, The End of Nature. “And the most appealing part of this harmony, perhaps, is its permanence—the sense that we are part of something with roots stretching back nearly forever, and branches reaching forward just as far.”

    • Nature is evolution.  Evolution is “violent”.  The survival of the fittest, where there is no law.

      You say grace, I say unending struggle for survival. Nature is a dialectic of grace and existential struggle.

      Terence Mallick, The Tree of Life etc.
      Stanley Kubrick, 2001, etc

      Science, and entropy give an arrow to time, the roots reaching back are not the same looking forward…”turning and turning in the widening gyre”.

      • W Russell Mead ~ Faith And Progress:

        This aptitude for capitalism has at least some of its roots in the way the British Reformation created a pluralistic society that was at once unusually tolerant, unusually open to new ideas, and unusually pious.

        In the 18th and early 19th centuries, the Anglo-American world synthesized its religious beliefs with its unfolding historical experience to build an ideology that has shaped what is still the dominant paradigm in the English-speaking world, the deeply rooted vision of the way the world works that lies behind the physics of Sir Isaac Newton, the political economy of Adam Smith, the constitutional theories of Thomas Jefferson and James Madison, and the biological theories of Charles Darwin: that of the self-regulating dynamic equilibrium.

        While many of these thinkers were not particularly or conventionally religious, their belief that order arises spontaneously from the play of natural forces is a way of restating some of the most powerful spiritual convictions of the English-speaking world.

  7. Actually it looks like the average voter has figured all this out for him/herself, despite screaming media headlines and the opposition setting their hair on fire.
    All the issues having been well-aired, today’s newly-released opinion poll shows the Conservatives retaining their lead and little gain for opposition parties.
    Could it be time for both Liberals and the NDP to start making some solid alternative policy proposals and the media to start discussing them.
    This ‘it’s all Harper’s fault’ bit doesn’t seem to have any traction.  Maybe the folks are the ones on the right track. They seem to be looking at economic results and fulfillment of election promises as the measure of success.
    Do you think there might be a clue in that for the opposition and the media?

  8. I would just like a government we can trust was not elected through some fraudulent election so they could make oil the only thing Canada does because that has been their only agenda, oh and hand clapping for the Israelis.  In order for them to have support for those things they had to start destroying our institutions to keep the extremists that give them money happy.  The Harper party should not be allowed to do anything to this country after being charged with electoral fraud in the 2006 elections and now being under suspicion for again defrauding the Canadian voters in 2011.

    • Yes, because of an accounting irregularity, the government of Canada should have been shut down for the next 5-6 how many years? Until the NDP/LPC actually manage to win an election?

      Or do you simply believe that we shouldn’t be allowed to have right-of-center parties in government, despite what the electorate has to say?

      Seems to me you abhor democracy, not support it.

      • Oh yes the “accounting irregularity”.  The Harper party was in court with elections Canada for 5 YEARS appealing and appealing the fact that they kept being found guilty until they finally plea bargained to get away with their crimes.  I don’t like political parties at all – they are the reason that democracy is in such a shambles.  Get rid of all of them for Independent MPs.

      • I think most people should be able to agree that ‘accounting irregularities’ are real problems. Cheating our electoral system is not something to be brushed off, if we don’t want to slowly become Putin’s Russia.

  9. I think your projections are bang on Paul.   There are so many out there that simply want to shut the oil sands down.  Period.  Makes sense that the Conservatives are firing up their PR campaign to support them.

    We need to see how Ontario makes out, as, instead of dissing the oil sands and blaming them for the high dollar, Dalton should have been leading the charge for manufacturing oil sands extraction equipement.  One of the big oil companies spent billions on equipment made in South Korea, then shipped it up through the USA in small parts by road to Fort Mac. 

    Just wait until the cost of electicity in Ontario keeps going up and see how people “feel” about going green – all that subsidy money for wind, solar when they could have built another nuclear power plant.

    I’m sick of these NGOs targeting Canada just because they can.  Why are they not in Brazil where last year, five native activists were gunned down by thugs for protesting the illegal logging on their land?

    • They are in Brazil trying to do something about illegal logging and the murder of Aboriginals and activists – were you sleeping through it?

      Singing another song are you now? By Harper’s logic foreign NGOs should butt out of Brazil’s affairs. Yeesh you guys don’t have a shred of intellectual honesty do you?

      • As long as the oil flows, all sins are forgiven.

  10. Plan Nord is also a big part of Quebec Inc. economic development strategy.  I doubt that the PQ would abandon that even if they were elected.

    So the NDP and the Liberals would also be running against the “Quebec regions” if they run against commodities.

    The BC NDP will be conflicted on the war on commodities.  They hate Alberta oil, but BC LNG natural gas exports to Asia will pay a lot of bills, and they are going to want that Asian investment in mining.

    • One problem with what you say here – the NDP don’t accept corporate donations, and thus they couldn’t care less about those companies if funding were the concern.

  11. Cancelling the deal on fisheries habitat is petulant but par for the course the Conservatives have set. Stifling scientists, defunding the Candian Envrionment Network (which has facilitated grassroots consultation with the government for over two decades) and gutting federal environmental assessment all undermine our ability to even study the impact of development decisions. The worst thing they can do environmentally is to cripple our ability to understand the impacts we are having.

  12. Manitoba is now a mini-Saskatchewan when it comes to light oil unlocked from by multistage hydrofracking using horizontal drilling.  In four years, oil revenue might not be insignificant for the Manitoba government.

    Hydrocarbon producers in 4 years.

    Alberta, Newfoundland, Saskatchewan, BC, Manitoba….and maybe Quebec will get over the Gasland-induced hysteria about hydrofracking.

    Many of the so-called tax benefits that the NDP and Liberals want to eliminate actually accrue to small oil and gas companies unlocking the resources in BC, Saskatchewan, and Manitoba.  

  13. This is a fight that Mulclaire would be unable to win. His base will abandon him for supporting anything less than the full shut down of the oilsands.

    • So which is it then Rick? Is the NDP completely in thrall to the unions (CEP, Steelworkers, various trades) that work in mining and petrochemical industries, or is it in thrall to the deep ecologists? Can’t you just pick a stereotype and stick with it?

  14. It bears repeating for those diehard lefties on this board. The Liberals could quadruple their seats in the next election and could not win a majority government.

    Canadians have their own self interest at heart and if the NDP talks carbon taxes, cap and trade or any other euphemisms that they think will hide the true intent of their actions the Conservatives will be re-elected with a majority regardless how the robo call controversy is resolved.

    Canadians like most are self interested and they are not going to vote to have their cost of living increased and their standard of living reduced let alone the by product of  the impact with inflation and higher interest rates as the cost of virtually anything consumed skyrockets.

    We thought Dion got a rough ride on the Green Shift but you will not have seen anything if the NDP go into an election touting a cap and trade or carbon tax scenario.

    • Nonsense.  The NDP already went into an election touting a cap and trade program.  In fact, 60% of Canadians voted for a party promising to implement either a cap & trade program or a carbon tax. 

      • Cap and trade nor carbon taxes were not a key subject in the last election. No party really talked about it much. The Libs were terrified of any talk of a carbon tax given the disaster that destroyed Dion’s pie in the sky Green Shift.

        I will not argue with you about this but the point I am making is Canadians will not vote for a reduced standard of living and higher taxes. You can count on it.

        • Ah, the 2008 election.   It’s another in which more than 60% of Canadians voted for a party running on either a carbon tax  or a cap & trade system.
          But the funniest part of your pointing to that election as evidence that Canadians are unwilling to address climate change, is the fact that of that 4% of the vote the Liberals lost, the party that made the biggest gain was the other one that was running on a carbon tax – the Green Party.

    • So when the CPC puts cap and trade in its platform.. that means what exactly?

      • Harper was talking about a North American cap and trade system. A far cry from going on our own and making Canada uncompetitive. If the Conservatives decided to make a major priority of a cap and trade system and/or a carbon tax I would re-consider my support for the party.

        The fact is there is no evidence that this would reduce our GHG’s and in fact in Europe little has been achieved in this regard despite draconian taxation of corporations.Even Dion with his Green Shift could not estimate the improvment in the environment with his carbon tax. What it would have done is sucked $40 billion over five years from the Canadian economy.

        What it would do cause a significant increase in the operating cost of all companies in Canada and those costs would be passed on to consumers. It would have a profound affect on Canadians standard of living, would result in higher inflation and an increase in interest rates.

        • It means Harper was lying to trick the rubes and winking to his base.

  15. We must ensure that no other economic activity in Canada interferes with our precious low-productivity, unskilled, and uncompetitive manufacturing sector!

    • Unskilled…yeesh!

      •  uNsklledz

      •  Is it Poo-poo or poo-poo

    • Unskilled compared to… digging tar out of the ground?

      •  Juche! Juche! Juche!

      •  Google: Jobs Alberta Caterpillar – Oh! I forgot you are an intellectual

  16. Key question here is whether, from perspective of having a rational discussion that advances progress on this, such battle lines are to be desired.  Cons will almost certainly win, and any possibility of actually talking these issues through will be relegated to dustbin.  Green Shift was Libs sword of choice in 2008.  They fell on it, and we still can’t talk about carbon pricing at national level four years later…

  17. About the only comment I have heard from Mr. Wells about this robocall theatrics is near the end of this post where he says that none of the parties have particularly distinguished themselves on this story so the public will paint them all with the same brush.

    Those Liberals who would like to see their Party back in power in their lifetime must be angry at the frantic, machine-gun approach to this story from the opposition, like every end-of-the-world, frantic, insincere approach to every minor story from wafers to body bags to prorogation to robocalls.

    When a restrained respectful approach is needed, expect Pat Martin and Bob Rae to search out every microphone to scream their hysterical protests.

    This bunch may go down as the most incompetent bunch of opposition in Canadian history. They continue to drink their own bathwater and preach to their own dwindling choir.  

  18. By 2015, we may well have a PQ government back in power in Quebec. If that’s the case, I think the issue of Clarity Act vs NDP’s shameful “Sherbrooke Declaration” will also be an important issue.

  19. This is a well written and well thought out column that seems to look beyond all the partisan chaff  that most of the bloggers here seem all too tied up in.

    The oil ( tar) sands aren’t going away nor are they the panacea for all our economic ills. In any event, there is a major battle brewing in BC with the First nations and final approval, if ever that happens, could come long after Stephen Harper is dead and buried, let alone retired from politics.

    If Mr. Wells prediction about the battle to come between the PCC and NDP is correct, that will leave little weasel room for the LPC  to hide.

  20. The party that stands up for Ontario wins my vote. Ontario needs to quit Alberta-driven country. Ontario is a manufacturing economy and letting resource-driven policies dictate how the country should be moving is a sure way to make Ontario a wasteland. Ontario has the means to go it alone. Quitting Canada will see Ontario enjoying a budget surplus – Ontario pays too much to be part of Canada, to the tune of $25 billion a year, picking up 40 percent of the bills. That tab will only go up as Harper has changed the health funding formula to give Alberta an extra $1 billion. So, the province that contributes most to the coffers of Ottawa and can’t find money for itself has to fork out more.

    Ontario must carve its own path to economic growth and not let the Alberta-focus federal government make Ontario irrelevant.