“Community” is a nebulous buzzword here in liberal Canuckistan, with the term moving from a synonym for neighborhood, to describing everything from ethnic groups targeted by vote-hungry political parties, to an exercise in social engineering by Ivory Tower types, eager to ram pseudo-progressive initiatives through various legislative and judicial avenues. No wonder the CAW’s new “National Auto Policy”, full of old-school labor/social democrat policies, is being branded with the slogan “It’s About The Community”. Huh?
Among the “community” focused suggestions made by the CAW are
- -Devaluing the Canadian dollar
- -Government equity stakes in OEMs (ala Volkswagen and German’s Lower Saxony, which holds a 20 percent stake)
- -Creating a Canadian OEM for vehicles (one suggestion would be to enter into a Chinese style joint venture agreement)
- -Building “green cars” here, along with incentives like a Cash For Clunkers program so motorists trade their used cars in for said vehicles
- -Suspending free trade talks with South Korea, Japan, the EU and Thailand until “one way trade” imbalances are addressed. The usual canard of Japan being a “closed market” is brought up just for good measure.
An abridged copy is available here, while the full report, if you can stomach it, is here. Some of the suggestions, like hiring more apprentices for skilled trades, aren’t so bad (Canada has a massive shortage of skilled trades workers and a generation of young people that aren’t prejudiced against taking up a trade as a career). It’s true that our living costs are higher (to the order of nearly 25 percent) and Made in Canada cars are inexplicably more expensive than they are in the United States.
Much of the report seems to concern the standard tropes of the CAW. Government intervention is the only savior, hostile to the free market and free trade and the greedy automakers. The Globe and Mail, Canada’s paper of record, dubbed the CAW’s ideas as “retrograde” and noted that the NDP, once a social democratic party beloved by unions and granola types, is moving towards the center and leaving these sorts of policies behind. The new face of NDP won’t jibe with protectionist, anti-corporate, anti-market philosophies that are anathema to most Canadians, save for the UAW and some fringe elements, despite our country’s reputation as uber-leftists.
We’ll be paying attention to the CAW’s machinations, but don’t be surprised if this gets next to no traction, given the political factors, and the big question on everyone’s mind; when is the Canadian housing bubble going to burst?