The NDP comes out against Harper's 'big lentil' agenda - Macleans.ca

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?

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(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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