Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Clinging to the Nanny State mentality

I have to give credit to the Kitchener Record for not getting sucked into the Karen Redman vortex of blaming the Federal Government for everything that goes wrong in Canada.

Yesterday in Question Period, Kitchener Liberal MP Karen Redman demanded (updated link):

Mr. Speaker, the crisis in the auto parts industry is getting worse and still the government does nothing. Kitchener Frame announced that it is throwing 1,200 people out of work and this is a huge blow to the Waterloo region

Will the government finally admit that there is a strong role for the federal government? How many good Canadian jobs have to disappear before the government does something about this emergency?

By contrast, the Record points to a variety of factors causing the carnage, including the stubborn stand of the CAW brass which refuses to consider wage cuts (Let's work to save Kitchener Frame):

...Unfortunately, CAW president Buzz Hargrove has fingered the federal government as Kitchener Frame's saviour, as if it wields a magic wand that can set everything right. Hargrove should look to his own organization and the company for salvation. The threats facing Kitchener Frame, as well as other auto parts manufacturers, are mainly beyond the federal government's power to control.

High labour costs, particularly compared to those in similar plants in Mexico, declining demand for the sports utility vehicle frames the company makes, increased transportation costs as well as the high Canadian dollar -- these are the series of body blows that have sent Kitchener Frame reeling. Despite having coffers stuffed with billions of taxpayer dollars, the federal government just isn't rich enough to turn back the global economic and market tides washing over -- and away -- Canadian industry...

Of course, unions shouldn't be blamed exclusively either. It is however, a huge factor contributing to the perfect storm that's tearing the heart out of automobile manufacturing in Ontario.

Karen Redman's simplistic attitude of demanding that more taxpayer money be thrown at an industry which needs to undergo some serious introspection is disingenuous, irresponsible and only serves to pander to the interests of the buddy of her ex-boss.

Even if Corporate Welfare could be used to save some companies the Record points out, "if it does intervene selectively, who gets saved and who is allowed to perish?"

Instead of trying to score points in QP with useless accusations and pointless questions, perhaps Karen Redman could start addressing the concerns of her constituents with suggestions of realistic methods of helping workers adjust to economics changes that are part of the ebb and flow of life - and to which we must all adapt.

* * * *
More from At Home in Hespeler - Auto Industry Bloodbath continues.

Climbing out of the Dark - Buzz, Lightyear's Behind!


hunter said...

Thanks for the link. I keep looking for Joanne's Journey, and then I find you here, at Blue Like You. Both work for me.

maryT said...

Gee, I feel so sorry for that poor industry, just like the liberals in Ont felt sorry for us when we were devastated by the NEP. How many billions did the govt take from us, and how many jobs, businesses, homes, lives (several suicides due to it) were lost.
And Chretain says our wealth belongs to all. Many Buzz should talk about union wages and benefits that have caused a lot of the problems.
Alberta solution was to start a new party. Would disgruntled Ontario workers have the willingness to do the same, and say so long liberals.

Anonymous said...

Lets not blame the Liberals alone here.
I watched QP yesterday and listened to Karen Redman ask her questions and the reply was more of the same Conservative bullshit that I've come to expect over the last couple of years. The same bullshit that I listened to when the Liberals were in power.
Question Period appears to be more about the questions and less about the answers.
There are no answers!! There's just blame heaped upon blame and it's never-ending.
"The Liberals didn't do it in the thirteen years they were in power!!!!" This is usually said very indignantly and with a flourishing huff and puff.
I'm sick of this bullshit and I think that most Canadians would agree with me.
If the answer to Redman's question had been answered with even a small degree of the intelligence and insightfulness shown in the editorial you linked to then maybe it would have shut the woman up and caused her to consider her next question in QP more carefully.
Maybe it would have started a dialogue involving the CAW that might have led to real change. Maybe Karen could have been invited to supply her own solution to the crisis that exists within the manufacturibg sector. That would have left her speechless.
Instead, all we get is 'he said, she said' and reasonable debate goes out the window.
These questions are provided to the government before they're asked so why can't we get reasonable answers to them. Enough blame!!!
In all honesty, I can't remember what the reply was or even who was speaking on behalf of the government but I can assure you that it was nowhere near as insightful as the editorial in The Kitchener-Waterloo Record.

OMMAG said...

Kitchener Frame eh?
Is that the old Budd Automotive plant?

I used to work there back in the early 70s and so did lots of people I knew.
I was going to college and had no intention of making a career out of hucking 100lb slabs of steel in and out of hydraulic presses or anything anywhere near that. So as a part timer brought in originally for a seasonal rush I worked 2nd and third shifts for the weekend. The CAW guys were the FIRST to get our group for "training" and made a real point of letting us know that they were entitled to a cut of OUR wages. What a bunch of goons! Safety came second and then the plant manager gave us a talk.

As for the guys I knew who made a 'career' out of the place .... Most of them are retired now and making more money in pensions than I will.

But at least I OWN what I'm retiring on.)

Anyway ... this place is a supplier to the car builders and the place has gone from boom to bust on every turn of the industry.
Redman is a complete idiot if she thinks that money will fix their problems

Joanne (True Blue) said...

Kitchener Frame eh?
Is that the old Budd Automotive plant?

That's right. As Hunter mentioned in her post, they were $50 jobs. I thought only plumbers and electricians got that kind of money!

A dying industry for sure - except for companies like Toyoto, (which is non-unionized) as Jim Prentice pointed out in his response (which is why I am puzzled by Anon's comment):

Mr. Speaker, certainly every single member in the House is saddened any time a Canadian worker loses a job. Kitchener Frame is a company that produced a frame for SUV vehicles. The market in the United States has fallen very significantly, causing a significant problem for that company.

I would point out that other corporations and companies in the auto sector continue to do well. There are plants that will be opening, a Toyota plant this fall, and there are also companies in the parts industry in places like Woodstock, Stratford, Simcoe and St. Thomas that are able to succeed in the current market.

The Minister of Finance, myself, the Minister of the Environment and others have met with the auto executives and with labour. We continue to work on this issue with them.

Anonymous said...

"If the answer to Redman's question had been answered with even a small degree of the intelligence and insightfulness shown in the editorial you linked to then maybe it would have shut the woman up and caused her to consider her next question in QP more carefully.
Maybe it would have started a dialogue involving the CAW that might have led to real change."

First of all, if you are insinuating that the Feds should yet again apply the corporate welfare matra of dumbing tons of cash on a dying/mutating industry you are a socialist nut...The best thing any government can do is to reduce taxes. PERIOD. And the Conservatives are doing a good job on that so far albeit still keeping a huge Government bureaucracy and waste afloat which SHOULD be also dealt with but the addicted to state welfarism Canuck will never allow it...I mean, it seems 1 in 3 of us has some sort of Gov job in this country. A deep depression or other callamity will be the only trigger to cut that excessive fat.

As for the Conservatives directly blaming unions (CAW) in the house that would be political suicide in this lefty MSM land...Prentice did indirectly point at the problem when he answered with non unionized Toyota and others setting up shop and being sucessful.

Sheena said...

Supply and demand, baby. The more intelligent people realize that autos and the associated gas, insurance, and repair scams are a suck on the household economy the less inclined they'll be to fork out their hard earned dollars for depreciated assets. All in all a very promising signal.