Plant closures in Southwest Ontario price of no industrial strategy

In the space of a month, it was announced that two major employers in Southwest Ontario – the Heinz plant in Leamington and the Kellogg's plant in London – will close. In both cases, the news might have been very different if federal and provincial governments had adopted an industrial strategy that made good jobs and protecting the environment a priority.

Danger of Leamington plant closing known since 1990

End of Canadian Wheat Board monopoly blamed for delays in shipping grain

The federal government's decision to end the Canadian Wheat Board's (CWB) monopoly on selling Canadian wheat is being blamed for delays in shipping grain to market.

A Saskatoon Star Phoenix editorial pointed out that:

“In the past, wheat farmers could depend on the Canadian Wheat Board to battle for them when it came to putting pressure on the rail companies to get the grain to market. When the board had a monopoly on selling grain overseas, it also held considerable market influence.”

Trade agreement debate about type of economy, not trade

The debate on trade agreements is not about whether there should be more or less international trade according to a recent Broadbent Institute blog post. Instead, what we are debating is what type of industrial policy we will pursue and whether one of the goals will be good, well-paying jobs.

Canada's reliance on energy sector increasing

September trade figures confirm that Canada is increasingly dependent on oil and gas. While the trade deficit was down, it was only because of a 22.9% increase in oil and gas exports in the last year. Without that, Canada's trade deficit would have increased.

A recent Huffington Post article pointed out that the recent increase is part of a long term trend.

End of steel making in Hamilton shows need for industrial strategy

An article in the National Post this week by Steelworkers leaders Leo Gerard and Ken Neumann showed how lack of a steel strategy or broader industrial strategy is hurting Canada.

Even though Canada has many comparative advantages when it comes to steel production, in 2012 Canada imported  $12.2 billion worth of steel and had a trade deficit in steel of $4.6 billion. Many of the countries from which Canada imports steel have industrial strategies that have helped their industry succeed.

Institute for Research on Public Policy report acknowledges problems with Temporary Foreign Worker Program

A recent report from the Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP), a business and government funded think tank, called for further restrictions on the Temporary Foreign Worker Program.

Cost of only thinking in the short-term

A recent article in The Guardian suggested that the government shutdown in the United States is only the most obvious example of short-term thinking.

According to the author governments have become more and more reluctant to look at the long-term impact of decisions. This is having a devastating impact when it comes to issues like climate change.

Activist investors criticized for putting short-term profits ahead of long-term health of companies

At the Ontario Securities Commission conference, U.S. corporate lawyer Martin Lipton argued the focus on short-term profits by activist investors is harming businesses. He argued the focus on paying out cash to investors resulted in things like reducing spending on research and development and laying off employees who may be needed over the long-term.

High dollar blamed for Canada's lack of competitiveness

Bank of Canada Senior Deputy Governor Tiff Macklem blamed the increase in the Canadian dollar for Canada's loss of competitiveness in a recent speech to the Economic Council of Canada. A second factor was weak productivity growth, which can be traced back to lack of investment in research and development.

Tuition freeze seen as economic development tool

The government of Newfoundland and Labrador sees it's freeze on university and college tuition as having economic benefits as well as helping make post-secondary education more accessible for people from all financial backgrounds. With an ageing population, Newfoundland and Labrador is expecting to face a labour shortage.