Farm-Aid, Canadian-style

So the Canadian government is bailing out farmers in the prairies as a result of the Mad-Cow issues. And this is just so emblematic of so many things wrong with contemporary politics:

The average citizen, when asked, wants lower taxes. But when shit like this happens, they want a handout. So how’s the goverment going to pay for your handout? Many of these same people bitch and complain when the government bails out Air Canada, Bombardier, and other large corporate-welfare recipients. But then, because they can’t ship their beef to U.S.-based processing plants, want the government to build some processing plants here. Which is it, kids?

And of course, most reactions to this particular handout are mixed based on how much is being given, who it’s being given to, and what it’s being spent on. What seems to me is biggest issue here, and the one that no one appears to be jumping on is that this handout is required only because of our government’s inability to negotiate *any* lasting labour dispute resolution with our southern neighbours. Even with NAFTA & WTO boards clearly siding with Canada. If there’s something to blast the Liberals with in relation to this, it’s their pathetic international trade-relations practices. Notably, the opposition parties are pretty mum about this too.

What is noted, and is a very important factor, is that this starkly displays just how dependent on American markets Canadian industries are. It has long been a weakness in the Canadian economy, and made worse since Free Trade, that it is much easier, cheaper and more lucrative to simply shovel everything we produce down to the States for them to process, refine, manufacture, etc. Sometimes, just to ship the finished product back up here. The type of government intervention I can get behind is a concerted effort to reduce this trade dependence and truly develop a national trade infrastructure. Not as a stop-gap until borders re-open, but in place of, even at the expense of American trade.

4 Replies to “Farm-Aid, Canadian-style”

  1. In some ways I think that I’d feel better if we, as a society, would just acknowledge that we don’t live in a “free-market economy” and instead the government is knee deep in keeping things going. All of these farmers and ranchers are being kept alive by the government instead of what ‘should’ happen- that they are knocked off if they can’t survive and the ones that do will be stronger. Yes of course it is unfair that the border is closed but that’s life.
    The tar sands in Alberta are another great example of an industry kept alive through massive subsidy from both levels of government. It happens everywhere and in all sectors (witness the billions given to the auto industry to build new plants). Sometimes direct handouts, sometimes massive tax breaks, sometimes handouts and tax breaks.

    I would like to see one Rancher, just one, stand up and say “Well I’ve always voted for lower taxes and a smaller government that doesn’t get in my way so I’m not going to accept this money.” That would make my day.

  2. In some ways I think that I’d feel better if we, as a society, would just acknowledge that we don’t live in a “free-market economy” and instead the government is knee deep in keeping things going. All of these farmers and ranchers are being kept alive by the government instead of what ‘should’ happen- that they are knocked off if they can’t survive and the ones that do will be stronger. Yes of course it is unfair that the border is closed but that’s life.
    The tar sands in Alberta are another great example of an industry kept alive through massive subsidy from both levels of government. It happens everywhere and in all sectors (witness the billions given to the auto industry to build new plants). Sometimes direct handouts, sometimes massive tax breaks, sometimes handouts and tax breaks.

    I would like to see one Rancher, just one, stand up and say “Well I’ve always voted for lower taxes and a smaller government that doesn’t get in my way so I’m not going to accept this money.” That would make my day.

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