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You spoke, we listened

Posted by Ralph Goodale on October 4, 2012 | No Comments

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Well the one above is worth 14,443 voices.

Yesterday morning, in the Aboriginal Room of Centre Block on Parliament Hill, Liberal MPs and Senators gathered for our weekly Caucus meeting.

And as you can see in the photo, your voice was heard.

Speaking on behalf of the 14,443 people who took our Caucus Wants to Know survey, I took my Caucus colleagues through a preliminary look at the opinions you shared with us.

But this is just the beginning. In the coming weeks, we’re going to follow up with respondents to drill further down into Liberals’ views on foreign ownership of Canada’s natural resources sector.

And we’re going to share the over 3,000 Question Period questions you submitted with our Parliamentary Critics so that your voices can be heard beyond the Caucus room, in the hallowed hall of the House of Commons.

But for now, let’s celebrate. This survey is proof we’re learning to exchange ideas as a movement. To collaborate electronically on a mass scale. And change how we do politics in Ottawa.

So please share this photo and let your friends know by posting “When Liberals speak, our voice is heard in the Liberal Caucus room on Parliament Hill.”

Thank you.

Ralph Goodale

MP, Wascana
Deputy Leader

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You spoke, we listened »

October 4, 2012

You spoke, we listened »

October 4, 2012

You spoke, we listened »

October 4, 2012

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Please note that comments are moderated with the goal of stimulating an intelligent and fruitful discussion. As such, we ask that you use language that is civil and respectful, and refrain from attacks of any kind. We reserve the right to remove or not post any comments or information that does not meet these requirements.
  1. Avatar of Ken Blawatt Ken Blawatt said on

    Dear Sir;
    A recent letter to the editor in the Kamloops Daily News (Sept26th, 2012) asked people to be guided by principles when it came to judging the value of the Ajax mine to the community. That is a reasonable request by any standard. However, the real question raised by this notion is: by which principles should we be guided?

    Well, here are a few we might consider.

    Principle No. 1: Jobs are the primary engines of the economy. Employment establishes demand which in turn stimulates economic activity and prosperity. So if Ajax gives us 285 full time direct jobs which means about 770 indirect and direct jobs, then that is good.

    Principles No. 2: Value added output is better for the economy. For years the BC governments have pushed for value added to our resources as a means of expanding the economy. Why should we ship out our raw lumber when we could build entire houses and sell those? For years we had a company in Kamloops that did just that! Regrettably Canada loses close to 700,000 jobs each year because of the unwillingness to be concerned about value added output.
    In this case Ajax will ship out raw copper material that would create 4,000 jobs if we were to do the processing here. The mayor of Cache Creek a few months ago wondered why we are not considering this principle.

    Principle No. 3: Multinational corporations do not worry about or care for the domestic communities from which they extract their resources. John Kenneth Galbraith a well known economist declared that multinational corporations are a power unto themselves and have little regard for local economies. This is well established in the mining industry where the Giant Mine in Yellowknife, similar to the proposed Ajax operation left behind a $500 million cleanup of hundreds of thousands of tons of arsenic. The cost will be borne by the Canadian taxpayer.

    Principle No. 4: Canadian governments, supported by Canadian attitudes will choose a path of least resistance when it comes to multinational corporations. That means our local politicians will favour the Polish government owned KGHM Ajax Mine.

    So when we add up all the principles here’s what we get. We give away our natural resources in favour of 285 full time jobs and ignore the potential for 4,000 more jobs by letting the Canadian governments (municipal, provincial and federal) make up our minds for us. And by the way, the mine will probably leave behind hundreds of thousands of tons of poisons in the settling ponds that our children will have to pay for. On the other hand if we had strategic minded politicians anywhere on the horizon who insisted that the development be undertaken by Canadian corporations we would have a better deal. They would be held accountable for the pollution and residual poisons left behind. They would not be able to hide behind a foreign government and in the end just close up shop and leave the mess to the local community.

    But that is likely too much to expect from the leaders of our community. After all, it is easier to let someone else do the work and we can pick up whatever dregs might be left behind. Look at the wonderful example of Sudbury Ontario where Inco, a multinational corporation took the raw nickel out of the ground and shipped it a thousand kilometres south to Huntington West Virginia for processing. Sudbury gained 1500 jobs and a barren landscape that was used to train astronauts for the moon landing while Huntington gained ten thousand jobs and all the technology that made Inco a world leader in nickel goods.

    It would be very wonderful if we did follow sound principles in judging the Ajax Mine. That kind of thinking could produce tens of thousands of jobs in our region. It would mean hard work and time to make it happen, but the raw resources are not going to spoil or rot in the ground, so we do have time. What we need is the will to stop Ajax and to opt for a better deal in the future for the good people of the region.

    Dr. Ken Blawatt

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    • Avatar of Wolfgang Braun Wolfgang Braun said on

      I like your principles Dr. Ken Blawatt.

      They’re a good start when discussing how Canadians should be guided when it comes to making decisions about our natural and all other resources.

      What’s needed is a serious discussion about what Canadians want for the PURPOSE of their Government (at all levels) and the PRINCIPLES that would guide elected officials and bureaucrats when it comes to policies that affect “ALL” Canadians.

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    • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

      Well said. We need a set of principles/rules to apply to decisions like these – a litmus test so-to-speak – and these are a good set to start with. I would like to see the same approach taken to the decision regarding the NEXEN/CNOOC deal.

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  2. Avatar of Ken Blawatt Ken Blawatt said on

    PS
    Acelor did a fine job with our steel industry!!!!
    When I joined Stelco it employed close to 40,000 people in good jobs….
    Thanks to this MNC that is down to a couple of thousand employed!!!!

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  3. Avatar of Ken Blawatt Ken Blawatt said on

    PPS
    Eric Kierans once told me that if the MNCs in Canada paid taxes here as they did at home it would be the equivalent of giving every Canadian income earner a 10% increase in wages….Wonder if that still holds???

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  4. Avatar of Ken Blawatt Ken Blawatt said on

    PPS
    If this conversation continues, in a month I am giving a paper at an International Business Conference on the lessons to be taken by smaller nations in the Canadian naivete in the NAFTA…I will post that FYI in a few weeks
    Cheers

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  5. Avatar of Keshav Chandra Keshav Chandra said on

    It is a good idea to consider value added, but then the question is who has the money to invest into the start up of a mining operation?

    Problem with liberals at this point in time is that they are spending too much time on things people value in their cultural lives, but I don’t ever see the issue of creating wealth in our economy.

    Have you heard any leader talk about it?

    Liberals are nothing but pretenders to be the rich spoiled brats who own the government and will give to people what they want with the exception of creating wealth by promoting businesses. Liberals are luke warm to business and pretty much anti business shown by their policy neglect. I am glad the matter has been raised, but will the liberal government if it assumes power, do anything about it?

    Let us get very real with an example. How much does Justin the school teacher know about industry and economics?

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    • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

      The money for value added output should come from the same people that want access to the resources – if you want access to Canadian ore, refine it in Canada. If you want access to Canadian lumber, mill it locally. If these MNCs that want access to our resources aren’t interested in that idea then the next one will be. As Ken said the resources aren’t going anywhere, we can wait for the right deals to come along.

      Can you please point me to any “anti-business” Liberal policies? I don’t know of any. Our 2011 election platform contained lots of policy directed at helping and improving small and medium business in Canada. Just because we may question the motives of multi-nationals, just because we want answers regarding what “net gain” means when Canada talks about selling our resources to other countries (CNOOC), and just because we call for sustainable development that protects the environment first, does NOT make us “anti-business”, it makes us responsible stewards of the country and its future.

      Past Liberal governments have a fantastic record on the economy. Balancing budgets and reducing debt. Then Mr. Harper (an economist) took over and with the help of Mr. Flaherty (a lawyer) proceeded to ignore (or miss) every economic indicator that showed the impending massive world recession. Our “economist” leader and his “lawyer” cohort dismissed the impending great recession and pronounced Canada’s (and the world’s) economy stable as late as November 2008! What were they thinking! How could an “economist” miss the near collapse of the entire western economic system?

      Justin Trudeau spent some time as a teacher yes. So? You have something against teachers? Where would any of us be without them? They are selfless individuals committed to growing the minds of others. But … Justin is no longer a school teacher, he is now a respected member of the Canadian Parliament. I have no doubt that he understands the Canadian economy and industry a whole lot better than you or I do, Keshav. And what he doesn’t yet understand, he will learn and he will have advisors and professionals from within and without the party to assist him. Do you really believe that any PM has ALL the answers?

      Personally, I’ll go with the man who has taught our youth. The man who understands people and those “cultural” things you seem to think we should ignore in favour of unconditional support of business.

      Be led by and economist who missed the great recession when it was knocking on the door, or a teacher and student of literature, education, engineering, environmental studies? … hmmm, tough choice.

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  6. Avatar of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson said on

    Economists seem to care little for the people. Far better a school teacher who cares for our welfare than an economist who is a puppet of MNCs, who care for little anything but their own profits.

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  7. Avatar of Keshav Chandra Keshav Chandra said on

    School teachers don’t care for anyone’s welfare than their own. As that is obvious from what is happening in Ontario. I don’t know about Quebec. Economists do care about economics and businesses and the consumers. Much more than a school teacher which gives little comfort to me!

    in any case the economists are trained to deal with industry, business, and consumer issues. School teachers are not.

    Harper is an economist for an example though as much as I don’t care for his style and substance of what he wants to achieve. Mind you that is on the whole, otherwise cosnervatives have done some good on issues such as immigration reforms.

    School teacher can comfort a child but not an adult!

    Sorry that is my view of a school teacher.

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    • Avatar of Lenora Nuspel Lenora Nuspel said on

      Most teachers actually work with the parents as well as the child.
      You talk about school teachers…there are many levels, elementary, middle, jr and sr high, post secondary teachers, tutors, life coaches etc.
      I find that many people who slag teachers are still hanging onto some grudge from Jr. High days….

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    • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

      ALL school teachers care about no one but themselves? Pardon me? How incredibly insulting to a huge group of people who dedicate their lives to growing the minds of our children. Shame on you.

      Economists are trained to deal with NUMBERS! School teachers are trained to deal with PEOPLE! I’ll take the teacher, thank you.

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  8. Avatar of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson said on

    Well then you may need to brace yourself my friend. There is an army of young, uncounted voters who may follow this school teacher. Voters on the left are not motivated by economics. Nor are the young. But rouse their emotions and give them a cause. Then you will see a flood of red.

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    • Avatar of Lenora Nuspel Lenora Nuspel said on

      Not just the young my friend!
      There is this slim shadow generation that is squashed in the fine line between the end of the boomers and the beginning of the next generation wave. When I was growing up the so called “end of the boomers” date is not the same as it is now. Someone moved it to make the boomers group seem bigger, when in truth we were never boomers and live in the shadow of them always.
      Many of our teachers at that time were the early boomers just starting out in their careers. They were heavy on teaching us about the environment, about sustainability, about empathy and compassion for fellow humans, and that rampant capitalism and Corporate greed wasn’t the direction to take…I had teachers that tried to warn of us what could come if we didn’t stand up against it… they also cautioned us about going too far the other way…when the pendulum only swings from extreme to extreme and where middle ground is where humanity would most likely prosper in balance. Some might say it sounds utopic and that doesn’t exist, it does exist, you just have to want to strive for it.

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  9. Avatar of Richard Richard said on

    Sorry Keshav, Ken Biawatt comments are very much more on point than yours.
    Your economist has destroyed the tax base in this country, pandering to MNC’s and whoever will create any sort of so called employment. This so called economist, has pushed Canada decades behind, under his direction.
    He has ruined our institution with his small minded, sort sighted views.
    Just because he has a degree doesn’t mean he really knows how to lead. Given that, by the time this elected term is over, he will have doubled the national debt under his watch, created govern departments that do nothing, laid off the people that where an actual asset to our well being, destroyed our imagine on the world stage, and divide the country into, mean little self serving entities. Use our tax dollars for his own party’s gain like a drunken sailor.
    Just ask your self, he claims to have created so many jobs, laid off large part of the government, but we still are running a deficit. something isn’t adding up. It appears it is the same math, Mr. Flaherty used in Ontario when he was fiance minster there.
    Surly anyone could do better than that, even a school teacher, or maybe even a10 year old child!

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    • Avatar of Martin Showell Martin Showell said on

      Well said Rick!

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  10. Avatar of Robert Halter Robert Halter said on

    I agree Martin and stand in complete union with your comments here as well.

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  11. Avatar of Ian Pearson Ian Pearson said on

    An excellent and insightful comment Rick!

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  12. Avatar of Lorraine Watson Lorraine Watson said on

    I answered the email survey with my views on foreign ownership this past week. What I didn’t know at the time were the details of the agreement between Canada and China, and the extent to which we are giving away our resources. What concerned me even more was the lack of questioning what was in the agreement.

    If foreign ownership means giving away our resources without the ability to control what foreign companies do – I say we need to stop right now and have a second sober thought. I’d like to know the LPC’s response to this: http://www.greenparty.ca/stop-the-sellout

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