Apparently, Premier McGuinty hit a nerve with his recent comments about the impact of rising oil exports from Western Canada on manufacturing jobs in Ontario. Alberta Premier Redford shot back calling McGuinty’s concerns ...
Apparently, Premier McGuinty hit a nerve with his recent comments about the impact of rising oil exports from Western Canada on manufacturing jobs in Ontario. Alberta Premier Redford shot back calling McGuinty’s concerns “simplistic
” and a “false paradigm
I’d imagine this issue feels mighty real and complicated for the estimated 200,000 families that have faced a lost job due to the resource boom. According to a new report
, published yesterday by a University of Ottawa economics professor and two others, an estimated 196,000-220,000 manufacturing jobs have been lost due to Dutch Disease -- a term coined in the 1970s to describe the hollowing out of manufacturing in the Netherlands following the discovery of a large natural gas field that drove up the country’s currency, pricing its manufacturing products out of international markets.
While tar sands proponents frequently tout the number of jobs created by tar sands development, this is the first time a number has been put to the jobs lost.
This might be all well and good if tar sands jobs replaced the lost manufacturing, but Canada’s geography
poses a tricky challenge. While Alberta reaps the majority of the job benefits of tar sands development, it’s Ontario and Quebec that feel the pain of jobs lost in the manufacturing sector. Seventy-five
per cent of Canada’s manufacturing industry is located in these two provinces.
This is a complicated issue, and it is far from black and white. Premier Redford was asking Ontario to sign up to cheerlead new tar sands pipelines, which are part and parcel of plans to rapidly expand the production and export of tar sands. Ontarians are right in questioning whether this is in our best interest.
It is simplistic to view the issue of the pace and scale of tar sands development as all positive for everyone in the country, without also taking a critical look at the negative impacts already being felt by other sectors. There are economic pros and cons that need to be better understood. As a country, it’s time for a thorough debate about this as we move toward a federal-provincial national energy discussion.