The Commons: When photo ops go wrong

Ask not what jobs have been lost, ask how many more jobs might leave if the corporate tax rate is raised


The Scene. “Louder!” called a voice, possibly from the Conservative side of the House.

Peter Julian, already speaking at a certain volume, attempted to oblige, punctuating his question with exclamation points.

“When(!) is the government going to show leadership? When is it going to work on a jobs plan so that Canadians(!) can get back to work?

The subject here was the recent closure of Electro-Motive Diesel in London, Ontario—a closure notable not only for the 450 individuals it put out of work, but because the plant was once selected as an ideal scene to demonstrate the Prime Minister’s economic stewardship. And so a silly picture of Mr. Harper pretending to conduct a train is now a symbol of some kind. And so Mr. Julian was yelling this afternoon in the general direction of the Finance Minister.

Rising to respond, Jim Flaherty began in a low grumble. “Mr. Speaker, we remain focused, of course, on jobs and economic growth,” he reported.

The Finance Minister built then to a dull roar that culminated in him shaking his glasses (which he held in his hand) at Mr. Julian and scolding that the NDP critic had demonstrated “an irresponsible attitude … that looks only at tomorrow morning and not down the road.”

Mr. Julian took the easy retort. “Mr. Speaker,” he responded, “in the long term Canadian families are going to be a lot worse off under the government.”

He proceeded then with his harangue. “Conservatives gave Caterpillar $5 million,” he recounted. “The Prime Minister was willing to use the workers as an election prop for his photo op, and now that those same workers are out on the sidewalk he just drives right by in his limousine.”

There were groans from the government side.

“The government has thrown millions of dollars away, and what we have are plant closures and jobs going south,” Mr. Julian continued. “White Birch, MA-BAY, AstraZeneca and now Electro-Motive. Why is the government dropping the ball? Where is the jobs plan for our hard-hit communities across this country? Where are the jobs? Where is the jobs plan?”

As the applause swelled up around him he appeared to repeat this question half a dozen times.

Perhaps sensing the tension, Mr. Flaherty apparently figured here was a good time for a joke. “Mr. Speaker, my car is actually a Chevrolet Impala from Oshawa, Ontario,” he quipped.

Then something of an oversimplification. “The member opposite will recall voting against our plan to save General Motors and the 400,000 jobs in the auto sector across the country.”

Then another joke. “I know my friend opposite is a student of parliamentary history and I know he wants to remember, he just forgot to say so, to congratulate the Prime Minister’s government on its sixth anniversary of being sworn in as the government of Canada, an excellent government especially.”

Across the way, Mr. Julian allowed a slight smile to this, but a few moments later, his colleague, Yvon Godin was turning a nice shade of maroon as he berated the government side over the “revolting” practices of various companies. Industry Minister Christian Paradis, attempting to match Mr. Godin’s verve, shook and shimmied as best he could as he then castigated Mr. Godin for voting against all the various job creation measures advanced by this government in its budgets.

“The MP can’t come here, rip off his shirt and cry bloody murder,” the minister clarified.

The government, he said, was “empathetic.” “What happens in these families is dramatic,” he ventured. “However, they can rely on the government that will do just the opposite of what these people advocate, that is to say tax increases of more than $10 billion. This is irresponsible and does not make sense.”

So ask not what jobs have been lost, ask how many more jobs might leave if the corporate tax rate is raised. If the Prime Minister’s wishes to pitch that message in London, he best get there quick before all the trains are gone.

The Stats. Pensions and employment, eight questions each. Syria, abortion and government contracts, four questions each. Trade, copyright, the environment and child care, two questions each. Immigration, affordable housing, public transit and the Queen, one question each.

Diane Finley, 12 answers. Rona Ambrose, five answers. Jim Flaherty, four answers. Christian Paradis, Deepak Obhrai, Rob Nicholson and James Moore, three answers each. Gerald Keddy and Peter Kent, two answers each. Vic Toews and Denis Lebel, one answer each.


The Commons: When photo ops go wrong

  1. Harper is a naif….he really believes all that stuff about capitalism and free-markets.

    • As opposed to communism and closed markets?

      • It’s not an either/or question, gentlemen.

        • You are a tad delphic, OE1, or is it just that you are advocating a nourishing mixture of free enterprise and corporatism for blessed Canada?

        • It is to me.  It’s either capitalism (socialism) and/or no free trade.  Our country would implode.  No revenues to support the social programs.

          • Doesn’t matter what it is to you…matters what it is to the world.

            Capitalism was a great economic system for the industrial age….but we’re no longer IN the industrial age.

            Socialism and communism were just reactions to captialism….but they’re all dead now.

            Time for a new economic system….instead of all this hogwash about ‘invisible hands’ and ‘free-market forces’ and other such religious tripe.

            And all the Randian crap about ‘brave businessmen’ doing the right….the decent….thing.  Ohhh the humanity!

            Harper the Naif.

          • . . . and Emily the unacknowledged genius.

            It is a tragedy, really.

          • @865444ea1a3aec1b5f1890dd40359673:disqus 

            Thank you.

            The ‘tragedy’ exists only in your mind.

            The rest of the world moves on.

    • He also happens to be chief nob amongst a passel of nobs.

  2. Caption contest: “Wooo! Woo! Hello Canada! I’ll be drivin’ this engine to the States, personally! The engine of the economy! Yessirree!”

    • Guess you’re living in the wrong place.

    • ”  “Our economy is beginning to emerge from the global economic recession.  But the recovery remains fragile, and many threats remain to families’ financial security.To keep our economic recovery rolling, Canada needs to keep a steady hand on the steering wheel. ”

      Stephen Harper


      • Better donate before they take the link down…..

      • All aboard for Illinois!

    • See above … er below … commented before I got to your message.

      I used to love those Feschuk contests. Even won once, but lost the gift certificate email …

  3. I/m not sure what a government can do to prevent a private company from choosing to move it/s manufacturing plant from here.

    Would Peter Julian and those that choose to listen to his garbage want the Canadian government to announce martial law and surround the Caterpillar Plant in London with our best elite Armed Forces and physically threaten harm on the management if they should decide the business was no longer economically viable.

    No, the best a government can do in our democracy is provide a climate of competency that includes competetive tax rates, and perks like CPP and Healthcare.
    The government has done this.

    Caterpillar left because of the high labour costs and low productivity that comes with Julien/s friends in the Union movement. He should direct his questions to Unionists like his interim leader.

    • Nationalization doesn’t require all that nonsense.

      Caterpillar left because they’d gained all the patents….it isn’t the first time they’ve pulled this trick on us.

      Evidently Harper isn’t the only naif.

      • So Emily, what exactly is it that the government ought to nationalize here?

      •  Right point, but many of us still tolerate the nonsense lies.

    • And what is your plan Emily? 

      • You must be knew here–she/s a twit—no plan, just nonsensical dribble from her.

        • Canada has lots of antique Con nonsense….find something else to do than bore me.

          • BTW that’s Emily’s way — or at least one of them — of not answering questions.

          • I’ve answered every question ever put to me.

            You just don’t usually like the answers.

        • If you’re such a skilled debater, you might try to avoid silly ad hominem arguments. You’re only embarrassing yourself (your spelling doesn’t buttress your position much, either).

      • We’re in the Knowledge economy….an entirely different system.

        Perhaps we could get on with it?

        • Of course Wherry just repeats the false and misleading information put forth by the Toronto Star. But why? Because naive people like OE1 lap it up, treating it as religion. Fact is EMD always was an American company, that owned the patents you seem to think are Canadian property. I wonder if you, Wherry, or any Toronto Star writer would ever be bright enough to connect the dots, and realize Bombardier has been building locomotives for EMD since 1998, producing in excess of 1000 so far. Bombardier, a company that’s recieved millions in taxpayer money, with the majority during the Chretien/Martin years. Oh yeah, that Bombardier locomotive plant is located in Mexico.


          • I have no idea what Wherry believes, but i am not, and never will be any of your left/right nonsense left over from the Cold War.

            I’m an atheist pal….in everything.

            Buying a company gives you the patents they own….and this isn’t the first time Caterpillar has pulled this stunt in Canada.

            Now please stop being foolish, and pay attention to the facts.

          • Yeah, Paul – Emily holds no convictions beyond the absolute certainty that she is always right.

          • Hmmm  I don’t recall ever saying that.

            Maybe you’ve just found it to be true.  LOL

    • Calvin: “No, the best a government can do in our democracy is provide a climate of competency that includes competetive [sic] tax rates, and perks like CPP and Healthcare.
      The government has done this.”

      And Caterpillar left anyway.

      So, Harper’s employment strategy is impotent, nothing more than a series of hollow, self-serving photo ops for political purposes.

      Calvin: “Caterpillar left because of the high labour costs and low productivity that comes with Julien/s friends in the Union movement. He should direct his questions to Unionists like his interim leader.”

      Neither Julien nor his friends in the Union movement have ever held office federally and, therefore, have had little/no opportunity to implement a national industrial strategy. Harper and his cronies, on the other hand, have held office for six years now (as they love to remind us).

      And Caterpillar left anyway.

      • So what is it that you or your favourite politicians would have done, specifically, that would have made that plant’s owners keep that plant open?

        • H-mmm…for a start, imposed a few conditions and penalties on Caterpillar’s receipt of taxpayers’ money, around job creation and continued manufacturing presence in this country, before doling the cash out at self-congratulatory photo op. Job creation in Canada, that is, not Indiana.

          Harper’s brilliant “employment strategy” rewarded the business equivalent of a deadbeat spouse and allowed him to leave the country with all the matrimonial assets.

          • I’ll presume math isn’t your strong suit.  Here’s some helpful figures:

            450 jobs x 5 years x (ave annual salary) $60,000 = $135,000,000 less $5,000,000 fed subsidy = $130,000,000 of unsubsidized wages spent in Canada over last 5 years.

            Well done Harper!

          • And I’ll presume reading isn’t yours.

            I never referenced “math” in my comment. I was suggesting Harper’s “employment strategy” lacked safeguards against abuse and your figures do not disprove that.

          • “Well done Harper!”

            When all the jobs are gone maybe we should throw a big party for Harper and all the employers that have left to thank them for the fond memories. 

          • Because they would have left instantly if Mr. Harper hadn’t paid them off?  

          • Hey Leo, I note the chirping of crickets in response to your pointing out to the liberals and lefties on here that they were posting BS.  Quellle surprise.

          • As I understand it from Andrew Coyne’s column in the Post today, the grant was not made to Caterpillar or its subsidiary; rather it was made to the purchaser(s).

          • Thanks. That’s an even more compelling argument against Harper’s doling out taxpayers’ money to American corporate carpetbaggers.

    • Whenever any gov’t gives money to a private corporation with the goal of keeping/increasing jobs in the country, there needs to be a caviate with that giveaway.  The caviate must be, you move your factory or shut it down, you re-pay every cent of taxpayers’ dollars with interest.  And if the industry doesn’t repay the money, the gov’t gets to sieze the facility.

      • Ah but you forget, this kind of bending over is very common in the oil patch where Harper gets his economic inspiration…

    • I think a phone call to a certain CEO suggesting that Canada was musing about a “Buy For Canadians” economic stimulus plan might have altered the outcome just a bit. “Think tar-sands baby, heavy equipment paradise… whoa, look at that dump truck!”.

      But our exalted Prime Minister is too busy selling (out) our energy resources to China and learning what he can from them about human rights and dignity.

      @4a64130278c80432e4d05477e5ee5a66:disqus  – sorry those tax cuts didn’t work out as planned.

    • Here’s an idea, let’s stop giving them grants and tax inccentives and cutting corporate taxes since neither addresses “high labour costs.”

    • Well, they could put tighter conditions on government grants – you leave within X years, you pay us back. With interest.

    • Perhaps not much, but it can certainly attach strings when it hands over 5 million dollars which would at least allow us to get that money back if the company chooses to leave within a couple years.

    • Yes, but where is the comparison between this offer and the current rates?  You can’t develop an objective opinion without ALL the relevant information. 
      One thing I did use this for is a simple calculation – the people at the lowest wage rate, working 44 hours/wk with no overtime would be making approxless than $40K per year.  Not so easy to raise a family, pay a mortgage etc on that amount.  Especially if you have an existing mortgage based on much higher earnings. 

  4. “Don’t you know we’re riding on the Muncie, Indiana Express. All aboooard the train …”

  5. double post

  6. So, because it is an American-owned company in a foreign country, does the U.S. tax the profits in the U.S.? If we were to lower the taxes for a foreign company in Canada, what is to prevent the U.S. from picking up the difference? Having sold most Canadian companies to convince the Americans that we are open for business, apparently our jobs are only worth half what we thought and we will be allowed to buy American because not choice remains. By the way, I think the PM is earning at least 50 percent of what we pay him, Senators only 25 percent. I look forward to the principles of capatlism being applied even to the Senators who have declared no loyalty to country or party but to the PM. Excuse me Mr. PM, here in the trenches without access to any information, life is very difficult. Hope you are having a good time.

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