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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ottawa To Address Forestry Woes - Only Quebec Need Apply

When the auto sector ran into financial trouble Ottawa was there, Johnny on the spot, to lend a helping taxpayer funded hand.

When the manufacturing sector stumbled Ottawa was there to offer taxpayer funded bridge funding.

When the banking sector hit a brick wall Ottawa dug deep into taxpayer’s pockets faster than a Younge Street pickpocket.

When the forestry slipped under water, while mills closed in places like Newfoundland and Labrador, and while laid off workers were being denied their severance pay, all that could be heard in Ottawa was the sound of crickets chirping outside 24 Sussex Drive.

There are two things the federal government never turns a blind eye toward. In no particular order those are: Ontario and Quebec (actually those both equate to large numbers of federal votes and as such are really same thing).

Large scale manufacturers, auto makers and major banks all have one thing in common. They are, by and large, headquartered in the only important part of Canada, from the federal governments perspective.

Well it turns out that while the federal government was enjoying a collective snooze after patting itself on the back for all the tax money it’s doled out recently, and while 50,000 forestry related jobs were lost right across Canada (and I mean RIGHT ACROSS Canada, from BC all the way to NL, not just as far as NS) somebody forgot to tell the political elite that they should do something for that industry as well. It looks like somebody finally did.

Ottawa may have turned a blind eye to the problems in the forestry sector up to now but not any more.

I can almost hear the warnings now, “Come on, we’ve got to do something. Never mind that troublesome crowd who lost their jobs in places like Newfoundland and Labrador but come on, Quebec is also being hit. Quebec for God’s sake!!!”

Suddenly out of nowhere Ottawa has begun making a show of having an interest in the forestry sector.

A joint federal/Quebec panel (note, the involvement of only one province) has been setup to see what can be done to protect Canadian forestry jobs (in Quebec of course).

Ottawa has, according to one political figure, “…fostered an agreement with the government of Quebec…” to the tune of 100 million dollars in loan guarantees to be delivered by the Quebec government. No doubt this is just a small down payment with future installments to come in the near future. You can bet your last dollar (if you have any left after taxes) that it won’t just be Quebec taxpayers footing that bill either.

Calls are being made for Ottawa to offer tax credits to the forestry industry (similar to ones now being offered in the U.S.). Credits that will save companies like Abitibi millions of dollars a year.

Yes indeed. Quebec stands to lose nearly 10,000 jobs unless something is done quickly and, as Ottawa is wont to do, the squeaky wheels have begun turning as they get well greased once again.

Unfortunately Ottawa’s sudden interest in the forestry sector is too little, too late and certainly too Quebec focused to do anything for the 50,000 non-Quebecers who’ve already lost their jobs or the thousands more who will in the future (outside of Quebec that is).


BNB said...

Canada sounds like a truly beautiful place. I hope to live there some day.

Anonymous said...

Good one BNB. True enough. One of these days maybe Quebec will take us over and Ottawa will realize we even exist.

Anonymous said...

Patriot: I have but one question to ask: What is the matter with the politicians of Newfoundland and Labrador to put up with treatment like this from Ottawa, didn't we elect them to do what was right for us and that meant having their voices heard in protest against such unfair, unequal and unjust treatment?

I am starting to have grave reservations about the politicians I have helped to elect and I am wondering if it has something to do about those politicians not wanting to stir up the pot and thus destroying their own chance of having a prosperous economic future, more frequently referred to around these quarters has having the "me syndrome" affliction?

They better speak up now or their names will be added to the sordid history of Newfoundland and Labrador's political pages, as having sold out our province for the benefit of themselves.

It is quite plain to some of what some of our past politicians were up to and how they pulled the wool over our eyes, while they worked to ship off our natural resources to other parts of Canada. Matter of fact some of them are out there working 'political patronge plum' positions as I write, and one who comes to my mind has made millions of dollars from doing so.

If those present politicians are not willing to speak up against the injustices perpetrated on our province by the Federal Government, our present politicians should agree to step down from the political arena immediately.

Patriot said...

Unfortunately Anon 3:19, it isn't really the elected representatives (and I use the word "representatives" very loosely)who are the problem, it's the entire Canadian political system.

There is no equality.

The vast majority of seats are in Quebec and Ontario (to a lesser extents other places like Alberta) and as a result those provinces have a voice, others really don't.

Because of the party system that depends on those large number of central canadian votes to survive only those provinces matter.

Not to take the blame away from individual MPs but in order to survive and suceed in a party environment you have to toe the party line.

As a result only those who are willing to "sell" themselves for political success are drawn to the party of choice and/or are able to progress within it.

I'm convinced there are a lot of good people out there who would never enter politics and if they did would never succeed in the current system. It's a sad reality I'm afraid.

The question is what can be done to change the status quo.

Anonymous said...

Patriot I want to expound on a your quote " As a result only those who are willing to "sell" themselves for political success are drawn to the party of choice and/or are able to progress within it".

Patriot and you are right that is the case and was the case for 60 years. But do we have to put up with it for another 60 years?

Because it was done so low keyed, most of us didn't know that was the case, I didn't, but I have figured out in recent years that it is and was the case, and since some of us now know that is the corrupt way the political system works, isn't it time that we popped a question or two to our potential politicians, when they come to our doors asking for our vote to elect them to represent us?

We have to ask them a direct question that being: Now, once you go to Ottawa are you going to toe the party line for your electoral district of Newfoundland and Labrador or are you going to toe the party line for your political party? If it is the latter, they say they will vote for their political party, well then we don't need those type of representatives and we just instead vote for some one who will toe the line for us, the electorate.

If the representative tells us he or she will vote for the electorate, we will have to take notice and as time passes we will observe that representative and if he/she is doing what he/she promised that being toeing the line for his electorate, if it appears that the person is true to his/her words, then we have chosen the correct person and over time things should change for the better. If the person goes back on his/her promise then just DO NOT PUT UP WITH THE LACK OF REPRESENTATION FROM HIM/HER and we have to do our best to root the person out of the job.

It is ultimately up to us, the electorate, whether or not we are going to accept substandard representation. If the politician is not living up to his commitment, well then we should just put the politician in his/her rightful place and ask the person to shape up or ship out.

Believe me the Political system is not going to make amends to the lax corrupt Political system which we have had representing us in the past. Politicians are not going to give up their lax rights to do as they please and ignore their electorate and receive rich payments for doing so, it is ultimately up to the electorate, you and I, to say enough is enough; we will not put up with that type of representation any long, we want change and then we have to make sure it happens.

As far as I am concerned it is an excuse to say that our politicians have to do what Ontario and Quebec want, they don’t, why should we have to put up with our politicians doing what is right for Ontario and Quebec and as a result leave our province of Newfoundland and Labrador in the lurch? But that is exactly what our politicians have done for 60 years without making a peep about it and it just passed right over the electorate of Newfoundland and Labrador’s head, we were duped; and that is the reason Quebec and Ontario have ended up benefitting from Newfoundland and Labrador’s resource base. Our politicians have kept quiet and some of them have been darn well paid for doing so from the ‘political patronage plum” toolbox. They suffered from the “me syndrome” and they caused a lot of ills in their own province, such as the lack of creating an economy from the vast natural resource base which could have supported a great manufacturing center situated on 17,500 kms of the Atlantic Ocean sea routes, which could have accommodated the shipment of the goods produced here. SHAME ON THEM!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Now that the electorate of Newfoundland and Labrador is aware of how the Federal Political System operates, if we choose to do nothing about it, it will be SHAME ON US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Canada needs an equal effective elected senate like in the USA. Alaska has the same number of senate seats as New York and the Senate is considered the more prominent part of Congress. Senate votes are traded for each area depending on need and votes are not always on party line. The problem is that Ontario and Quebec will never allow this to happen in Canada as they would have to give up power and deals like those for the Auto sector would be challenged and deals for the forestry sector might actually get passed.

NL-ExPatriate said...

The political parties or their chosen leaders can no more be blamed for doing the things they do than the NL electorate can be for continuing to elect one or the other of what are essentially the same PROXY parties of the Upper/Lower canada majority.

It's the political system!

And because it works for the two principals ON/QU who comprise 66% the majority it will never change.

At least not from within the very system which refuses to change and feeds off of it.

Serenity Prayer

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
Federal politics.

courage to change the things I can;
Provincial affairs.

and wisdom to know the difference.

NL-ExPatriate said...

The Canadian antiquated version of the west minister political I believe is the only remaining commonwealth country without and Equal upper house to represent the minority members.

Our political system is nothing but a numbers game, even Joey realized this after having dragged us into this phony federation when he made the rhetorical question

What is the first priority of (national party) politician?

To get elected!

What is the second priority of a (national Party) politician?

To get re-elected!

and round and round it goes because ON has 106 seats out of 308 and Quebec has 75 seats out of 308 totalling 181/308.

Further hampering NL'S 1.5% 7 seats out of 308 Population is we don't fit into the 50% Urban city voting pool either.

You know it wouldn't be so bad if in accordance with the constitution we owned, controlled and were the primary beneficiaries of our own resources but even that has been taken away from our minority province.

Like it wasn't bad enough that we were getting robbed to pay for the population liabilities of the more populous provinces through claw backs in the De-Equalization formula which only takes into account Social and Health Transfers and omits Infrastructure, Economy and Debt thereby essentially capping our minority province to Per Capita Colonialism and perpetual life support so more politically populace provinces can be bought of with our Per Capita revenues which we will be a perpetual over contributor and never get ahead.

But yes your right it is a democracy in that the people have the final say but what you are forgetting is that if all of the choices are essentially the same in that they all need to win ON/QU's 181/308 seats to win there really isn't a choice now is there.

Oh and Anon you will never get a Triple E senate because the senate will never be allowed to have the same authority by means of being elected so as to challenge the Elected HOC.

The Effective part was just a filler E. The real question is Effective for who?
For the national parties which they currently represent or Effective to represent the Provinces members of this so called federation outside of partisan lines and electioneering.

The only real E is the Equal E Senate other than that the other two are in fact limiting and self defeating.

I propose an Equal, Provincially appointed, non partisan, bilingual, Senate.

The Prov appointed would bring all of the provinces on side.

The Non Elected would negate Ontario's supremacy in the Elected House of Commons argument.

The Bilingual requirement would negate the french speaking minorities objections.

Then again no national party would have a hope or prayer of ever getting elected on this sort of policy platform because teh majority of canadians who live in the two imperial provinces would never let their strangle hold on teh colonies go. Not even for the good of the federation unlike what we in NL have been asked to do so often

IE; Upper Churchill being the most glaring and obvious.

So it has to either be a referendum, a citizens outcry, or some other way, but no existing national political party will ever get elected doing the right thing for the federation because the majority will never support it!

We can change our anthem several times in a decade but we can't change the constitution which some provinces haven't even signed onto?

Anonymous said...

NL Expatriate - I agree with everything you say but who is going to change it, it is working too well for the rest of the country, especially Ontario and Quebec and it will not change because for that reason alone. AND it is only going to get worse since there is a proposal by Ottawa to add a further 50 or more seats to the most populous provinces.

My only suggestion is that our 7 MPs, once they TRICK Ottawa into signing their nomination papers and they get elected is then TO SCREAM BLOODY MURDER that the Ottawa Political system, the way it is structured,HAS THEIR PROVINCE HELD IN A STRAIGHT JACKET FOR 60 YEARS and IT DOES NOT WORK NOR WILL IT EVER WORK for their province of Newfoundland and Labrador, and it must change.


Anonymous said...

A New Brunswick MP spoke out yesterday against the Ottawa Senator who was supporting the Animals Rights Group against the seal harvest, and he wondered why 2Newfoundland and Labrador Liberal MPs, Byrne and Simms sat silently by without saying a word?

If it happened I wonder the same why were they silent on an issue so important to the province of Newfoundland and Labrador?

I can't see our news media doing much about it either. Are they in bed with Ottawa for some reason or another? Matters like that need to be brought to the forefront of the News stories of the week.

The local news Media not only has to merely broach a sujbect, they have to keep on it until they get somebody from the Ottawa government to come to the forefront to comment as well, especially when it concerns our fish resource. Ottawa has the responsibility to answer questions brought up by Newfoundlanders and Labrador on their concerns.

All of our local News Media need to bring forth the fact that the province is unable to get ahead in the Canadian Federation, with such discrepancies in numbers. They need to make an issue of matters so as to help assist our 7 MPs who are clamoring against the remaining 301 MPs.

Our 7 MPs need reenforcement and it should come from our local News Media.

The 7 MPs from Newfoundland and Labrador need to SCREAM BLOODY MURDER and our local News Media need to jump on the band wagon and let them be heard.

Patriot said...

I don't disagree with you Anon 12:07 in the sense that they need to start screaming out and be heard and the media needs to help but there is more to it than simply that.

First of all they aren't even trying to "scream out". Why not (the system of party politics no doubt) where the party means more than your province and people.

Also, I remember the same story you mentioned and my first thought was why were only 2 MPs, Byrne and Simms singled out and made examples of? Likely because once again someone is playing politics instead of really addressing issues.

There are 7 MPs from this province, not to mention a number of senators. Why were their names not added to the list, why just the two.

Beyond that, there are sealers who hail from Nova Scotia, PEI, Quebec as well as NL. Why were only MPs from this province ever expected to be the ones to stand up. If you add up the MPs from those other provinces as well you come out to well over a hundred. Why are they silent?

It's all a political joke and nothing will change until the system changes or we leave it behind.

Anonymous said...

Patriot: I have a lot of concerns over a lot of issues in our province. I will name a few below:

The reaming out of the Atlantic Accord to the tune of $1.6 Billion dollars this year alone bugs me tremendously, and not much to-do has being made about it from anyone in our Provincial Government. The only sound I heard from our provincial government was initially when the Federal Budget was brought down and the discovery was made that the Accord had been stripped of more Billons, there were a few words uttered.

Then there are Billions of dollars assigned by Ottawa for the coffers of the other provinces, while our province doesn't get a look-in and still no disgust shown.

Ottawa is looking at investing Billions of dollars into the Auto Industry to save jobs, but I don't hear of anything being done for our province's Fishery, Forestry or Mining Industries which have bled a lot of jobs.

There is talk about Ottawa agreeing to the European Union gaining access inside our 200 mile limit.

Ottawa said it was siding with Quebec on the Romaine Hydroelectric energy project proposed by Quebec which could impact on the province of Newfoundland and Labrador's territory and its ability to do its Lower Churchill Hydro Project.

The proposed merger of Petro Canada with Suncor makes me shudder. Petro Canada holds the 8.9% equity share belonging to Ottawa in the lucrative Hibernia Conventional Oil project, and, of course, maybe Ottawa has its eyes on other areas of our offshore Conventional offshore oil fields, does anyone know?

I don't know, but I suspect that if the merger between Petro Canada and Suncor goes ahead, our chance of getting the 8.9 per cent equity which Ottawa owns and our Premier was hoping one day would be given to our province will probably disappear with the merger.

In the new proposed Petro Canada/Suncor merger, Suncor, the owner of the pollutant Tar Sands, which could very well be scrapped because of its high pollution factor is touted to be the Corporation which Petro Canada will be folded into, under the name Suncor, and all of its administration will occur in Calgary, Alberta Prime Minister Harpers province.

Why is our Government staying quiet on such serious matters which severely will affect our province?

If we accept such treatment under our astute Premier, how are we ever going to gain parity within Canada?

I am baffled and I would like to have some suggestions to why our Provincial Government is so silent on matters.

Ussr said...

"I don't know, but I suspect that if the merger between Petro Canada and Suncor goes ahead, our chance of getting the 8.9 per cent equity which Ottawa owns and our Premier was hoping one day would be given to our province will probably disappear with the merger."

It's time anon that we stand up for ourselves and see Ottawa for what it is. A pig at the troff.A pig at the troff of our resources. We have slit our own throats on the alter of Confederation.And,we know not what we have done.

"A free nation has the right to expect full cooperation from all
groups. A free nation has the right to look to the leaders of
business, of labor, and of agriculture to take the lead in
stimulating effort, not among other groups but within their own

January 6, 1941


We gave it up ,and now we ask for what is ours.But,when they say no we throw a hissy fit. We have no one to blame but ourselves.We allow our sons and daughters to leave our nation and we wonder why we cannot establish and lager economy.We allow our people to be displaced thru out Canada and America and we wonder why Ottawa dictates to us. We should be ashamed of ourselves for selling out our forefathers to this hypocritical country called Canada. It preaches eqaulity and justice, yet it steals from the poor to give to the rich.

Why would anybody want to be apart of such a dysfuctional family.

At least America would have said that we need to become American.Better to be up front and honest then to be lied too for sixty years.

" Republic Of "

Ussr said...

BNB said...

Canada sounds like a truly beautiful place. I hope to live there some day.

April 22, 2009 10:13 AM

OH,BNB. Don't ask for something you just might get. I would sell my lungs and liver to live in St Johns, just too be back in the province. As for Canada, you can have my spot.

" Republic Of "

Anonymous said...

I am wondering if the proposed merger of Petro Canada and Suncor is another slap in Premier Williams' face by Prime Minister Harper?

Every analyst who I have heard on The Business News Networks, and who has offered commentary, says that Petro Canada has by far the better assets, but yet the proposal is saying that Suncor will be the name of the new merger and it will be administered from Calgary. I wonder why?

I would love to see an indept article written on this proposed new merger. It is time some information was released so that we can get the details of what might come down the chute before it does.

I have my suspicions that the Tar Sands were the reason that the offshore Oil production in Newfoundland and Labrador didn't take precedent. After all back in the 1970s when Hibernia was discovered it was touted to be something very large and the Canadian dollar was buoyed up by the discovered and the dollar was called the Hibernia dollar for quite a while.

It seems to me that Doig's voice from Alberta was listened to in Ottawa?

Anonymous said...

On Earth Day April 22nd, Howard Green of BNN had Dr. Suzuki on his Headline Show where one of the Environmental dangers he discussed was the Tar Sands of Alberta.

In his talk to Howard he said that even though that project has already have had Billions and Billions of dollars injected into it, it must be stopped.

So my reasoning is if there is no oil produced in Alberta and Suncor has control over Petro Canada and, at least Ottawa's share over our Conventional Oil in our offshore, Alberta will then be controlling part of our offshore. Will that be the case? It could be a stupid question, but it is time that we resorted to stupid questioning so as to avert the economic disaster which we brought upon ourselves in the past by not asking any questions at all. The address below gives you a preview. The whole interview might have to be purchased from BNN, I am not sure on that matter.