Premier Dad’s Small Ontario

It’s getting downright embarrassing to have this guy as Premier of our province any longer.  Ontarians have been ready to fire this guy for two elections now, but of course the Ontario PCs are led by idiots who try to run from any mention of Mike Harris and worry too much about what the editorial board at the Toronto Red Star thinks of them. Screw ‘em.

As it is, our Premier Dad insists, that on balance if he had his druthers, he’d prefer a low Canadian dollar to a vibrant oil and gas exporting sector out west, because the result of the latter is a strong petro-dollar that makes our manufacturing sector in the east less competitive.  And Ontario has been bleeding manufacturing jobs for close to a decade now, so his infallible logic is that it must be because of the high currency, right?

The Toronto Red Star was trying to strike a similar theme last week in an editorial casting a jealous eye toward the resource based economies of the west, saying grossly stupid things like “it’s relatively easy to grow based on resource extraction”.  Sho’ eez!  We guess it’s as simple as good ol’ Jed, out one day shootin’ at some food, and Lordy! What’s this when he misses that rabbit with his unregistered long gun?  Why, up through the ground come a bubblin’ crude.  Gazillionaire!  So easy to find oil and get it out of the ground.  Just like the Beverly Hillbillies. 

Never mind the geotechnical expertise, the manufacturing of extraction/refining/delivery equipment, the transportation logistics, the financing, and the petro-chemical engineering and on and on.  And that’s just the oil sector.  Forget the agricultural, the mining, the forestry and other resource extraction industries.  It’s so easy.  Just ask the Toronto Star editorial board.

What you have in Premier Dad and his Apologists at the Toronto Red Star are believers in the Small Ontario.  The Ontario with an economy, especially a manufacturing sector, that is so precious, so fragile, and so uncompetitive unless it has all sorts of built in advantages in terms of low currency, government subsidies, federal largesse and cheap energy.  And wonderful leaders who will hold us all by the hand and lead the way to new green(er) pastures.

Conversely, believers in a Big Ontario would look at things this way;

  • We have natural resources of our own; if that’s truly the ticket to the future (it’s not, but let’s not get off here).  We sit on huge shale natural gas resources in eastern Ontario, mining in northern Ontario – maybe we could look into exploiting these resources more fully?;
  • Toronto is within a day’s drive of 70% of the population of North America – we are closer, and have better access to bigger markets than BC, Alberta and Saskatchewan can ever be, even with Northern Gateway pipelines or Keystone XL’s;
  • Those manufacturing jobs we are losing to other jurisdictions are the low rent, unskilled manufacturing jobs.  That doesn’t mean the sector is in terminal decline.  Instead we could take the route of Germany, a country with a vibrant manufacturing export sector, by producing higher end goods, with more value added manufacturing;
  • We could decide that we can create our own economic advantages in the form of lower taxes, reduced bureaucratic interference and improved infrastructure to get goods and persons to markets

We could do all of those things, and probably a lot more that just don’t come quickly to mind.

But no, the believers in a Small Ontario are preparing the excuses for failure.  And with that comes the inevitably airing of grievances on how Ontario propped up Canada for so long, maybe it’s time for the rest of Canada to prop up Ontario.  And that means federal transfers to Ontario to help McGuinty with averting some hard decisions.

Small Ontario has a Small Leader.

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