From all, to all - Macleans.ca

From all, to all

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The precedent’s hardly been set, and already…

Tories set to add forestry, mining to bailout list

After pledging more than $3-billion to rescue the auto sector, the Harper government is now poised to offer similar aid to the struggling mining and forestry industries in next month’s budget.

Industry Minister Tony Clement said Sunday on CTV’s Question Period that a number of industries are “under distress” and “other industrial sectors, other extraction sectors are on the table for our budget coming out on January 27th…”

In the Throne Speech, the Conservative government had pledged relief for automotive and aerospace sectors but nothing was proposed for the fisheries, mining and forestry industries.

NDP Leader Jack Layton credited the creation of the coalition between his party and the Liberals that is supported by the Bloc Québécois with forcing the government to act swiftly.

“It looks like the government’s finally changing direction,” Mr. Layton said on Question Period. “We’ve been saying for quite a number of months and during the election that we’ve needed strategies for these key sectors that were in trouble, and I think the Prime Minister was either in denial or just ideologically felt governments shouldn’t be helping out.”

Well thank goodness that’s over with — out with ideology, in with practicality! And what could be more practical, more pragmatic, more … Canadian, than to have everyone pitch in to bail each other out? The forestry sector bails out the auto industry. Mining bails out forestry. Aerospace bails out mining, fisheries bail out aerospace — and the auto industry bails out the fisheries! What each pays in taxes it gets back in subsidies. And vice versa.

But why not? There is no budget constraint. Deficits are no longer to be avoided. They’re “essential.” Spending is no longer to be controlled. It’s “stimulus.” The NDP are no longer socialists. They’re the Conservatives.

IN OTHER PRAGMATIC NEWS: Ottawa eyes shipbuilding as economic stimulus  

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