Roundup: A jobs crisis report rooted in fancy

The Conservatives released their Alberta Jobs Taskforce report yesterday – a make-work project to make it look like they were paying attention to the plight of the province’s resource-driven downturn, never mind that it wasn’t going to actually do anything because they’re not in government. The eleven recommendations that it came up with were…ambitious. I won’t say magic (such as the Ontario NDP’s Hydro plan, also released yesterday, relied on), but I will say that it relies a lot on wishing and hoping instead.

To start off with, the top recommendation is to eliminate the proposed carbon tax – which is provincial jurisdiction, not federal, to be clear – and to reduce corporate and small business taxes along with reversing CPP contribution increases. These are typical Conservative bugaboos, so it’s not a surprise we would see these recommendations. “Reducing red tape” for resource projects? It’s like the Conservatives forgot that when they tried to do that when they were in office, it backfired on them and created even bigger headaches as the lack of due diligence, particularly around dealing with First Nations, landed them in court numerous times. Encourage retraining? Provincial jurisdiction. Review EI to “improve efficiency”? You mean like their ham-fisted attempt at doing that a couple of years ago that cost them every Atlantic Canadian seat that they had? Recommendation five is particularly interesting because it calls on both a) reducing red tape for starting small businesses while b) creating tax credits to hire unskilled workers. Ask any small business and they’ll tell you the worst red tape is the complex tax code, so asking for the creation of yet more tax credits is to work against the first demand. Coherence! Implement programs to encourage hiring of recent graduates (sounds like big government), while increasing financial literacy across Canada? Erm, how does that actually help youth? I don’t get the connection. Lower interprovincial trade barriers? Well, considering that every government has tried doing that since 1867, and that the Conservatives didn’t make any tangible progress in their nine years in office, I’m not sure that Alberta hurting now is going to suddenly fixate everyone to solve that problem. Adjust domestic policy to the new Trumpocalypse reality? Seriously? There is no policy coherence coming from the States, so how can Canada “adjust” to it? Reform credentials-matching for new immigrants and the Temporary Foreign Workers Programme? Again, if it were easy, the Conservatives would have done it when they were in power. And finally, balance the budget? How does this solve Alberta’s job woes? Oh wait, it doesn’t. It’s just yet another Conservative bugaboo that they’re trying to hit the government with, using Alberta’s jobs crisis as the cudgel.

I’m sure that they spent time on this, but honestly, I’m less than impressed with the suite of recommendations. The lack of coherence and insistence that nigh-intractable problems should be solved now when they haven’t been for decades is more than fanciful.

Good reads:

  • Justin Trudeau spent yesterday talking with GTA mayors, as well as talking trade with auto parts manufacturers.
  • CBSA has put up a trailer near the US border in Manitoba to help deal with the influx of irregular arrivals.
  • The RCMP are warning of catastrophic consequences because of the gong show that is Shared Services constantly failing them, including in critical situations.
  • CSE says the threat of blackmail and extortion are part of democratic risk assessments as cybersecurity threats.
  • Carla Qualtrough talks about the challenges in finding the right balance to creating national accessibility legislation.
  • We finally have some data on Syrian refugee claimants whose applications were rejected.
  • The Hill Times has a look at the role that Brian Mulroney is playing when it comes to helping cabinet deal with the Trumpocalypse.
  • FINTRAC says it will review its processes after it was revealed that Manulife paid a $1.5M penalty for not reporting irregular transactions.
  • The Canadian Forces are studying the possibility of ground operations in Syria – but studying options are what militaries do.
  • There are particular concerns about toxic work environments in the public service, and that recent investigations into managerial harassment only scratch the surface.
  • Guy Caron is now officially in the NDP leadership race, citing his economist credentials and calling for a basic income plan.
  • Kevin O’Leary pulled out of the leadership debate later today citing the terrible format, but most suspect it was because of the bilingual format.
  • Kellie Leitch put out a bizarre video over Facebook, and it’s (rightfully) being roasted over social media.
  • Chantal Hébert says that the NDP needs a principled policy approach rather than a rock star leader.
  • Andrew Coyne warns that we shouldn’t be confusing this new raft of populism with conservatism, despite the current fashion by some adherents of the latter.

Odds and ends:

Liberals in Markham–Thornhill are concerned that the nomination process is being rigged to favour Mary Ng.

2 thoughts on “Roundup: A jobs crisis report rooted in fancy

  1. Heard Press Gallery Prez MacCharles on radio about how the RCMP would like to fingerprint and have mugshots of all journalists on the Hill. Could not believe at first why this was necessary after 150 yrs. But this is what happens when you put a para-military org. like the RCMP in charge of security. Hopefully that will be rejected by PM and Parliamentarians as totally unnecessary and contrary to the spirit of Parliament. Having worked on the Hill in the 70’s, every journalist was known by all, no problem.

    • Well, it’s not really fingerprints and mug shots per se. It’s background checks, which nowadays means fingerprints. And we already have photos that go on our passes. Question is more pushback from parliamentarians who may not want staff and volunteers subjected to these checks.

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