Alberta Politics

life after dutch disease: thomas mulcair to visit alberta on may 31.

Thomas Mulcair Edmonton Alberta January 2011
Thomas Mulcair

After weeks of warring words about the economic influence of Western Canadian oilsands development on the crumbling Central Canadian manufacturing sector, NDP leader Thomas Mulcair will visit Alberta on May 31 to meet with business and political leaders. This will be Mr. Mulcair’s first visit to Alberta since being selected as his party’s leader in March (he visited Alberta at least once during the NDP leadership contest).

In a media release distributed this morning, provincial NDP leader Brian Mason was quoted as saying “Tom and I had a conversation over the phone a couple of days ago, and I invited him to come to Alberta. I’m pleased that he agreed to come.”

Alison Redford Alberta Election 2012 Conservative leader
Alison Redford

Mr. Mulcair’s comments that “Dutch Disease,” caused by Western natural resource development, is to blame for Central Canadian economic woes drew harsh criticism from Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall and Alberta Premier Alison Redford. Premier Redford accused the Official Opposition leader of being “wrong and misinformed” on the issue. Alberta’s Minister of Environment and Sustainable Resource Development Diana McQueen accused Mr. Mulcair of “old-style politics — trying to pit one part of the country against another.” (on another note, Minister McQueen admitted today that Alberta has likely missed its greenhouse gas reduction targets).

Earlier this year, Ontario Premier Dalton McGuinty also publicly mused that the high Canadian dollar, caused as a results of Western natural resource development, was hurting Ontario’s economy.

The federal NDP currently have only one Member of Parliament from Alberta and it is likely that Edmonton-Strathcona MP Linda Duncan will play a prominent role in Mr. Mulcair’s day-trip to Alberta. During the recent provincial election, a number of NDP MP’s, including Olivia ChowJack HarrisNiki Ashton, and Peter Julian, visited the province to campaign alongside their provincial colleagues.

While the provincial NDP recently made electoral gains in Edmonton, doubling their caucus from 2 to 4 MLA’s, the party still faces tough criticism for perceived anti-oilsands positions. During the campaign, Mr. Mason argued that Alberta’s economy would benefit from building bitumen refineries in-province rather than shipping unrefined product internationally through pipelines and ocean tankers.

Linda Duncan NDP MP Edmonton-Strathcona
Linda Duncan

Mr. Mulcair’s visit will take place only days after the Premiers of Canada’s western provinces and territories meet in Edmonton for the Western Premiers’ Conference. The annual meeting is being held on May 29 at the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald in Edmonton.

While Mr. Mulcair’s comments will be a topic of small chat amongst the Premier’s and their staff, the topic of pipelines and international markets will likely be a hot topic on the agenda. As the only current NDP leader in government in western Canada, Manitoba Premier Greg Selinger might be the closest person Mr. Mulcair has as an ally at this meeting.

Faced with plummeting poll numbers, British Columbia Premier Christy Clark has expressed concern about the shipment of oilsands bitumen using the proposed Enbridge Northern Gateway Pipeline through northern BC. Riding high at 50% in the polls, BC NDP Leader Adrian Dix is opposed to the proposed Enbridge pipeline and is assembling a legal team to halt its construction.


8 replies on “life after dutch disease: thomas mulcair to visit alberta on may 31.”

While Mr. Mulcair’s comments reflect an unpalatable truth, they are the truth nontheless. However, the answer to the problem doesn’t lie in somehow regulating resource wealth, it lies in making Central Canada’s manufacturing base more robust.

That’s going to require more capital investment in technology, research, and development. However, given the realities of free trade, many of “our” manufacturing interests (mostly controlled by non-Canadian interests) have NO reason to make these investments if similar investments can be made in the “home” country of the corporations involved.

I happen to agree that bitumen should be refined in Alberta. Canadians generally have been “hewers of wood, drawers of water” for too long, mainly due to the fact that our DOMESTIC market is too small to create sufficient demand, so we are forced to export raw materials.

Canada is capable of supporting a much larger population, which would create greater domestic demand, which would mean that there would be a better “testtube” in which to develop new technologies and innovation, PRIOR to having to compete in the international marketplace.

Unfortunately, I rather doubt that Canadians generally would accept the three or four-fold increase in population that this approach would require.

I have always thought that Canada was a country of enormous potential, but our ongoing quasi-colonial status means that we will never acheive that potential.

I largely agree with Martin Levenson’s comments. But I think that it simplifies what Mulcair has been advocating to summarize it in terms of “somehow regulating resource wealth.” His focus is on the federal government enforcing current regulations so that these companies are paying all the taxes that they are supposed to pay and following to the T the environmental regulations. Yes, that will cut into their profits but if they aren’t paying, then the Canadian taxpayers will pay.

Mulcair’s other point–and it’s not a new one since, in various ways, the federal NDP, Liberals and Greens have been pushing it for some time–is that the long-term costs of clean-up and of adding carbon to the atmosphere have to be paid by the polluters. The NDP policy in this regard is cap and trade, which is not as efficient as a straight carbon tax, but does not still maintain the user-pay principle.

It should be added as well that a diversified economy is not only needed for the rest of Canada but also Alberta. We should be worried about our provincial economy becoming a one-trick pony and not regard proponents of more manufacturing in Canada as “Easterners” withou concerns for Alberta’s future, in which, at some point, the oil either runs out or no longer has a market

Dianne Francis, one of Canada’s well-known nanny-state, divisive socialists, was whining about Canada’s mythical Dutch Disease more than a year ago.
Canada’s case of ‘Dutch Disease’, Diane Francis Apr 16, 2011

Apparently Redford, Wall, Clark, Gunter/Harper-Son newspapers, R. Gibbins, et al missed Francis delusional writings. Mulcair’s naivete is to actually refer to propagandistic evidence for his arguments.

What a maroon…that he hasn’t yet got the Alberta method of straightforward evidence-free assertion.


Canada’s case of ‘Dutch Disease’, Diane Francis Apr 16, 2011


” It’s assumed that when the United States catches cold, Canada gets pneumonia. But the reality now is that if China ever catches cold, Canada will get double pneumonia.

And the reason is, sticking with medical metaphors, that Canada is weak and vulnerable because it has an advanced case of the “Dutch Disease.” This is an affliction caused by a booming resource sector which drives up the currency’s value, which in turn drives out exporters, manufacturing and tourism.

Canada’s looming predicament is well described in a report by MacroResearchBoard (MRB), an independent investment consulting firm. Located in London and Montreal, the report is headlined O Canada (Part I) and Uh-Oh Canada (Part II). This study, and its conclusions, should be required reading for every politician and executive in Canada.”


Canada’s “Dutch Disease”

And more unpatriotic ravings against Albertastan can found here:,1

McGuinty is not the first to warn about the potential negative economic impacts of rapid oil sands development. Last year, the Montreal-based Macro Research Board predicted a detrimental shift they called the “petrolization” of Canada. Another research institute in Montreal warned that “resource booms don’t last forever” and suggested that Canada take steps to maintain a competitive manufacturing industry

McGuinty is not the first to warn about the potential negative economic impacts of rapid oil sands development. Last year, the Montreal-based Macro Research Board predicted a detrimental shift they called the “petrolization” of Canada. Another research institute in Montreal warned that “resource booms don’t last forever” and suggested that Canada take steps to maintain a competitive manufacturing industry.

It took years for the NDP to school the Tories that Climate Change was real. So I guess now we have to work on teaching them about basic economics.

The Canadian dollar is not “high”. It’s (roughly) at par with the US dollar. The problem is that Canadian manufacturers and exporters were over-reliant on a low Cdn dollar vis-a-vis the US dollar to provide them with an advantage in the market. Why can’t Canadian industry compete with the US toe-to-toe without the currency giving Canada an unfair advantage?

Mulcair is raising legitimate concerns and could very well being using more pointed language… see… A conservative minister under Lougheed and former business prof., Allan Warrack. See his comments below.

excerpt: “Deficits, foolish giveaways to corporations at the expense of taxpayers, and environmental “carnage” without funds to fix it, according to Allan Warrack, a former minister in the Alberta government who nearly 40 years ago helped craft the province’s plan for saving and intelligently investing its oil wealth.'s

PM’s favourite province squandered its petro profits like a ‘banana republic.’ Is this any way to run an economy?”

excerpt: “Warrack, one of the architects of the iconic Alberta Heritage Fund, told the Tyee earlier this year that the province is being run like a “banana republic” for failing to collect fair rents for non-renewable resources like the oil sands.
Warrack is a professor emeritus of business economics at the University of Alberta and former minister of lands and forests in then-premier Peter Lougheed’s cabinet in the early 1970s.

“He feels the lack of government oversight and fair royalty collection for the oil sands is creating a massive restoration liability. “There is going to be a thousand years of carnage left up there and we are not even getting fair money for it… I mean this is crazy, just crazy.”

As far as pledges to restore the area around Fort McMurray, Warrack is not optimistic. “Anybody who thinks the environment [at oil sands operations] is going to get fixed is smoking something. I mean they will just declare bankruptcy and they are out of Dodge. Is there any doubt?”

please tell me how quebec and ontario pays for social programs without western transfer payments and they are so much bettor than the western provinces why they need our charity do i get a tax slip from quebec for charity from them they are the greece of north america

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *