Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Morton's musing comment

These are likely the last 10 years Quebec will be within Canada.

If Quebec were to separate, Canada would be more rightist than today, and would vote for the right-wing party in the majority with greater frequency. This election has demonstrated to the Conservatives that they cannot lose regardless of whether their policies go down well in Quebec.

Quebec and Ontario have a joint economic interest. Harper is trying to tie much of Ontario's future development to tar-sands industrial contracting, rather than nuclear, hydro and renewable energies (these happen to be some of Quebec's most important potential industries for growth as well). Ontario can do well by Harper's policies, at least for a while (Quebec can too). But Ontarians' will never be masters of their own house if they allow Harper to limit the growth their nuclear and renewables industries, and rely on oil sands development contracts, and Albertan paychecks, for much of their new economic growth.

Note that Harper has refused a Carbon tax, which would favour Ontario's renewable and nuclear energy industries while still not explictly disfavouring Alberta's oil industry. If anything, Harper's industrial-emissions targets strategy will even cost the oil industry more than an economically efficient tax. Harper has also played a bit of a wrecker in international climate agreements, even though there is much potential in global climate agreements to create international business for Ontario and Quebec's hydro, power grid, and nuclear expertise. Such agreements are unlikely to tie the hands of Alberta's oil industry: the world is going to need oil for some time. Nuclear and Hydro displace coal and, partially, gas, but not oil.

Basically, Harper, in his international and domestic policies, has deliberately chosen to make Canada weaker, in exchange for making Ontario more dependent on Alberta for growth by giving a kick in the teeth to the industrial growth potential Quebec's and Ontario's Renewables, Hydro and Nuclear industries. Why? Because Ontarians will not want to bite the Albertan hands that feed them, and will want to please them in voting for Alberta's prefered political candidates. And if Quebec gets fed up, and leaves, more power to Conservatives in the future.

Canada is, right now, a disfunctional union. It could still solve its problems, but it needs a leader who'll discuss these problems openly. Harper is not that leader: he has created and exacerbated many problems simply in order to give his party political advantage. He's spited Canada to advance his personal political fortunes. The Liberals, I think, are fairly clueless: Ignatieff did not see what was going on: he did not ever mention industrial policy. He didn't defend Ontario economic interests. Dion probably knew, but couldn't properly articulate his understanding of how Canada's industrial policy should move forward. McGuinty may know, but has kept his mouth shut: he can't afford to pick a fight with Harper.

Do you see any Liberal leader in site who'll fight for all of Canada? I don't.

Enjoy your country while it lasts.