'Rip and ship' no way to develop resources, Tom Mulcair says
Andrea Janus, CTVNews.ca
Published Sunday, January 5, 2014 10:49AM EST
NDP Leader Tom Mulcair says Canada needs to abandon its “rip and ship” approach to natural resource development if it wants to create jobs, protect the environment and improve energy security for future generations.
In a year-end interview with CTV’s Question Period that aired Sunday, Mulcair was asked about his party’s job-creation plan, particularly what it would do to revive the battered manufacturing industry.
Mulcair said past mistakes have “hollowed out” Canada’s manufacturing sector and, should his party win power in 2015, he said they will look at every issue, including jobs, from three angles: economically, socially and environmentally.
“We understand that our resources are a blessing and we can continue to develop them,” Mulcair said.
“But for heaven’s sake, instead of shipping them raw to the U.S., this rip and ship approach that the Liberals and the Conservatives are in favour of, the NDP says why not go from West to East? You create more value-added jobs in Canada, you get a better price for the producing provinces because there’s better royalties there as well, and you’re ensuring you’re taking care of Canada’s energy security for the future.”
As an example, Mulcair referenced Quebec’s decision to ban the export of raw logs in Quebec, which spurred a furniture manufacturing industry in the province.
Shipping natural resources away is a lost opportunity, and the focus should be on developing new technologies for energy development in Canada, he says.
“There’s a common-sense role for government in these kinds of things, because we should have a balanced economy,” Mulcair said.
“We used to ship the logs to the States and buy back the furniture they would make. Now we’re doing that with energy.”
Some manufacturing jobs ‘will never return’
Meanwhile, when asked about how he would revive Canada’s manufacturing sector, Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau said Canadians must accept that many manufacturing jobs that have been lost are gone for good.
“I think understanding that we’re in a world where some manufacturing jobs that have left Canada and will never return means we have to be investing in higher order, whether its pharmaceuticals or aerospace or the tech cluster,” Trudeau told Question Period in his own year-end interview.
“There is an opportunity for great jobs, we just have to make sure that our education system and our skills training and our professional development programs are at the level of being able to create workers for those jobs.”
With the Conservatives not only promising balanced books but a surplus in 2015, Trudeau was asked what a Liberal government would do without a deficit to pay down.
Trudeau said “there’s an awful lot of things that we need to do,” but investments in education, infrastructure, skills training and innovations to boost competitiveness will lead to “better outcomes” for Canadians.
“My focus as it has been since the beginning of my leadership campaign is making sure that Canadians have opportunities to excel, to benefit from the growth that Canada is currently going through,” Trudeau said.
While the NDP leader has vowed to raise corporate tax rates, Trudeau said he would not threaten businesses hoarding cash with a tax hike if they don’t invest in job creation or technological innovation.
“I think corporate tax rates are about where they should be,” he said.
“Certainly if we get into a position of surplus or balanced books there is a tremendous opportunity to make sure that everyone gets to benefit, not just a few, and that will be very much our focus. But being competitive on the world stage is very important for our businesses.”