Friday, March 27, 2009

Trade out of Poverty

This is a policy I am putting forward at the Eastern Regional Young Liberal Policy Parliament:

Reclaiming classical liberalism: Having the Liberal Party of Canada support a “Trade out of Poverty” Agenda

WHEREAS, a significant factor of the Great Depression was the imposition of tariffs by nations against each other, stiflingly global trade and the global economy,

WHEREAS, the World Trade Organization predicts a 9% fall in world trade this year, the largest drop since the World War 2,

WHEREAS, exporting nations such as Canada, and developing nations will be the hardest hit by such a downturn in global trade,

WHEREAS, basic values of both classical liberalism and modern liberal internationalism are freedom of trade and freedom of global economic growth,

WHERAS, the Liberal Party must be a party which recognizes the positive role that globalization and the free market economy can have in alleviating global poverty,

WHEREAS, the “Trade out of Poverty” campaign, first launched in the UK, has drawn support from all sides of the House of Commons,

BE IT RESOLVED THAT, in a time of global economic trade downturn, this policy recommends the Liberal Party of Canada adopt a “Trade out of Poverty” Agenda.

Policy Background

-Have a Liberal government play a global leadership role in further opening its market up to international trade, particularly from the developing world, to help develop the trading economies of the developing world, lifting them out of poverty, and helping the Canadian economy grow and help reverse downward economic trends.

-Simplify trade rules to let developing countries share in world trade. “Rule of Origin” rules often cloud so-called free trade agreements. (Rules of Origin specify that the exports must genuinely have been made to a significant extent in the country it is intended to help – to prevent more developed countries evading tariffs by routing their exports through a low income country.) Existing Rules of Origin are so complex that many exporters find it more costly to prove compliance than pay the full tariffs. These rules also make it difficult for poor countries to participate in the complex supply chains - with components and processes carried out in a series of countries - which increasingly characterize international trade. At present fruit grown in one country, processed in a neighboring state and bottled in a third may fall foul of existing Rules of Origin even though it would comply if all operations were carried out in any one of these countries. So it is vital that future Rules of Origin recognize the cumulative value added in different Low Income Countries.

-Have a Liberal government lower Canada’s domestic and export subsides, as these discourage trade during an economic downturn even more, particularly with the developing world. Developing countries are particularly vulnerable to dumping of subsidised exports by rich countries. For example, EU farm subsidies amount to $2 1/2 per cow per day (more than the daily income of the majority of people in Low Income Countries) which enables the EU to export dried milk artificially cheaply and makes it hard for poor countries to export meat products to the EU. A Liberal government must resist the calls for protectionism and be a leader, both home and abroad, in promoting a trade.

-Helping Reduce Tariffs between developing countries
Due to a low tax base, developing nations often impost high tariffs and trade with each other. This policy is self-destructive and a Liberal government must play a role in getting developing nations to liberalize their markets to each other. Donors must help developing countries to reduce barriers against their neighbours through financial support until new revenue sources come on stream. In order for developing nations to qualify for Canadian support and aid, they must not only lower tariffs with the developed world, they must demonstrate a commitment to increasing trade with fellow developing nations.

-Help develop trade infrastructure
In order to make lasting benefits from more open trade, Low Income Countries need the physical capacity to get goods to market – roads, rail and ports. Under this policy, Canadian aid dollars would be focused on helping developing nations establish greater trade infrastructure.


I believe this Policy is something right up the Liberal alley, because it addition to advancing our economic cred as pro-market, pro-trade, pragmatic centrists, the values and ideals behind the policy is the use of market mechanisms to promote a social justice agenda (something neither the Conservatives nor NDP have any interest in, as they dislike social justice and market mechanisms respectively). With Canada's trade reliant economy and role on the world stage diminishing under Harper, a Trade out of Poverty agenda under a Liberal government will help Canada recover from the recession, help developing nations participate in the global economy, and give Canada a leadership role in promoting free trade and combating protectionism globally.

For more information, here is the website of the British campaign this policy seeks to emulate:

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Tory Anti-Poverty Plan

A Tory Senator has an...interesting idea to help low-income Canadians during the Harper recession:

Hey, who needs equal distribution of stimulus spending (75% of projects annouced by the Harper government are going to Tory held ridings), a plan to get out of long term deficit, or solutions to ensure hard-working Canadians dont slip into poverty, when we can protect the downtown Toronto home of Conservative Senators by shooting geese and feeding them to the poor?

I may have accidently stepped into goose droppings while strolling through Port Credit Memorial Park a lot growing up, but I wish the Conservatives would show some maturity in handling the economic crisis they have created.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The cost of Harper Government

Throw another $18 billion on the barbie:

And for the luxury of having trusted Stephen Harper, a $14,000 per person ding:

Boy, sure is good to have such fiscally conservative, responsible mangers of the economy in power.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Friday, March 13, 2009

The Conservatives take inaction!

The Tories, under the guise of an official government website, put out a few days ago. A quick look at the website shows that it is basically your tax dollars at work to promote Harper talking points and attacks on the opposition.
Thankfully, someone has created a more, lets say "reality based" look at the website and Harper's economic plan, with no tax payer money. I think it's pretty funny:

Thursday, March 12, 2009

John McCallum pseduo-live blog

Liberal finance critic John McCallum gave a talk today at U of O, part of the U of O Economics Week. The talk was "Dealing with a recession in the 21st century: The Return of John Maynard Keynes". I don't have the net on my blackberry, but I did take real-time notes, so enjoy this "live"blog of it.

ps: After trying to type full paragraphs on fingernail sized buttons, I have even more respect for Kady O' Malley

5:30: Looks like I'm the only Raven who made the trip downtown, and I only recognize one other guy who I know to be a U of O Young Liberal, so I am assuming the bulk of the people here are economics students, not partisans.

5:32: McCallum shows up.

5:36: Man, my French sucks, I am getting maybe 10% of the French being spoken by the MC.

5:39: I dunno if anyone else sees this, but McCallum has a passing resemblance to Louis St. Laurent.

5:40: McCallum is talking now, he says the global banks "went crazy", and a significant factor in the chain reaction of collapsing banks and the economy was that the big minds of banking were using prediction models based on the previous few years data, so they were basically trying to see the future by looking backwards, with bad results.

5:43: Interestingly, McCallum openly makes a mea culpa. He says one of the big reasons Canada's banking system has been relatively ok in the global crisis is that Liberal governments in the 90's vetoed banking mergers, and when McCallum was with the Royal Bank of Canada from 94-2000, as Chief Economist, he was an advocate for bank mergers, including ones RBC attempted to do.

5:45: In addition to structural issues with the banking system, McCallum says the issue of consumer confidence is important, and with the economy in a "state of fear", it is difficult to stimulate consumer spending.

5:47: McCallum notes when he was first being trained as an economist, he was taught by direct disciples of Keynes, then he became a neoliberal, now he is leaning more back towards Keynes.

5:49: As informative as this has been so far, I would probably be getting more out of this if I got better than a C in first year economics.

5:51: McCallum doesn't think protectionism will become a big issue, says while rhetoric can get heated, and some protectionism will arise, the international economy is just too intertwined.

5:53: Prediction of double digit unemployment for both US and Canada by the end of 2009.

5:56: Now he starts to get partisan, blasts the Conservative November economic update, discusses the coalition as a means to get a real stimulus package out the door, the Liberal budget amendments, etc

6:03: Gets off the partisanship, starts talking about how Ontario should get it's fair take on EI, and with the economy hitting Ontario hard, rules regarding how long workers have to work to get it should be changed.

6:04: Final points, says a Liberal government would "support jobs of tomorrow", with a mix of interventionist measures and market tools, says Liberals would focus stimulus money towards students, building the green economy, and tax credits and cuts for venture capitalist projects.

6:06: Question time!

6:10: I ask him a question about what specific policies he would like to see toward venture capitalism, he mentions we need to increase the commercialization of research to use the power of the private sector to drive R&D for new technologies forward for venture projects.

6:16: A bunch of complex banking system questions asked by econ students that go over this Public Affairs student's head.

6:27: McCallum really doesn't like protectionism. He also mentions that the importance of internal trade cannot be overlooked.

6:35: McCallum says governments need to have balance between tax cuts and spending, thinks the Tories were irresponsible for spending money like crazy during the early part of their mandate while introducing tax cuts that played well politically, but did nothing to help the economy, and now that the government has to spend, it is in deficit.

6:37: For his closing, McCallum says that while the environment has declined in priority for Canadians as the economy becomes the big focus, it would be a mistake to write off the environment, as green technology offers a potential opportunity to help recover from the recession.

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Ontario NDP chooses Horwath

One ballot remains, but with Horwath up 43.6-31.7 on Tabuns, and third place finisher Bisson endorsing Horwath, I feel confident in calling Andrea Horwath the next leader of the Ontario NDP, and the first female major party leader since Lyn McLeod of the Ontario Liberals. Tabuns was seen by many as the frontrunner, but it looks like Horwath's hardline pro-union/anti business positions have lifted her over Tabuns, an environmentalist whose union ties were significantly weaker. While having a female, Southern Ontarian leader will probably give the NDP enough of an energy boost to win a handful more seats in 2011, I can't see how Howard Hampton trade unionism in a new package will move the NDP significantly further ahead.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

HKLB Liveblog

11:30-Dunno if anyone is covering this live, so I am gonna sign off, congradulations to Rick Johnson!

11:22-258 of 258. Rick Johnson wins with 15, 483/43.72, John Tory with 14,576/41.17, Mike Schreiner with 2,352/6.64, and Lyn Edwards with 2,117/5.98.

11:10-I'm trying to find somewhere that has live coverage, CTV, Global, and City have all switched to other stories.

11:03-Global was referring to Tory's leadership in the past tense.

11:01-City News has live coverage, saying "the party is now in disarry".

11:00-Lets see how the late news handles Tory's loss.

10:57-Just clearing up the dregs now, 253 of 258, 43.73-41.17. A few people have guessed Christine Elliot as PC leader.

10:50-Oh, and we are now at 248 of 258. 43.80-41.06-6.68-5.99 is the breakdown for the major parties.

10:48- Any guesses for next PC leader?

10:47-Toronto Star says that Tory has lost.

10:44-Facebook tells me Tory has conceeded, 243 of 258, Johnson up 43.78-41.07, Greens looks like they will finish third.

10:43- Pretty much every media source is calling a Liberal victory at this point.

10:36- The Lindsay Post is describing a Liberal victory as "near certain".

10:32-239 of 258 in now, Johnson still up by 3%. Unless the remaining polls are entirely Tory, I am going to proclaim Johnson the winner of HKLB, and Tory to resign within days, if not tonight.
10:26-Independent Taylor nears the 1% mark, with 0.95.

10:21- This is real bad for Tory. 229 of 258, and the gap was widened to 3%.

10:17- Does anyone know what the rules are for how close a provincial election has to be for it to be a recount?

10:15-191 of 258 in now, 43.77 to 41.20. NDP narrowly in 4th.

10:13-Jason Taylor, the independent, is at 0.82, wonder if he will break 1%? Given that his motivation for entering the race was anger at Tory parachuting in, and that this election looks close, he could play a larger role then he votes indicate.

10:08-This result is not exactly what many (including myself) expected. 65% of polls reporting, Johnson up 10,402-9,812. If Tory doesn't win, he resigns tonight.

10:02-149 of 258, Johnson with a 2% lead!

10:00: Edited so most recent postings go at the top.

9:59: With roughly half the polls reporting, I wish I was in HKLB right now.

9:56: 130 of 258 in now, Johnson continues to lead. 8,220-8,024.

9:51: Wow. 107 of 258 in, and Johnson has re-taken the lead. 6,851-6,809. Now, the more densely populated areas of the riding would probably be more Liberal friendly, and report earlier, but still, this is not looking good for Tory. Greens still up on the NDP, none of the minor candidates are above 1%

9:47: The Greens are still narrowly leading the NDP, on the eve of their leadership convention, a 4th place finish would be a real kick in the teeth.

9:44: 65 polls in now, the PC's must be feeling pretty nervous, as Johnson again closes the gap, 3,917 for Johnson, 3,967 for Tory, or 43.62-43.07. As I wrote in my earlier blogs, Tory can't just win HKLB to silence discontent, he has to win decisively, and with a quarter of the poll results in, an almost tie would definately keep Tory in hot water.

9:37-So it is, Johnson closes the gap further, 883-839 with 30 polls in. Greens have pulled ahead of the NDP, 120-113.

9:36-I have been told via facebook that the website doesn't lie, and it updates on the 2 and the 7, lets see if that holds up.

9:32-Results are starting to pour in now, 19 polls, and Johnson has cut into Tory's lead, 479-437, or 44%-40%. The NDP and Green candidate are nearly tied, at 72-66.
9:28-Despite the lie of the website, 8 polls are now in, and Tory is up on Johnson 102-88.

9:24-I am growing somewhat skeptical of the Elections Ontario website claim that result are updated ever 5 minutes.9:15-Rick Johnson least the first poll reporting, with 23 votes to Tory's 11, with 2 for the NDP, 1 for the Green, and 1 for Jason Taylor.

HKLB prediction post

With the HKLB by-election today, lets see who can peg the results most accurately. Feel free to leave a comment with a guess.

John Tory-PC: 45%
Rick Johnson-Liberal: 36%
Lyn Edwards-NDP: 10%
Mike Schreiner-Green: 7%
Others: 2%