Stephen Harper Archives - Shopfloor

After Elections, Canada’s Manufacturers Press Growth Srategy

By | Economy, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

The Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters has welcomed the results of Monday’s parliamentary elections, which will return Prime Minister Stephen Harper to office heading a majority Conservative government, as an opportunity for the country to pursue an aggressive growth and investment strategy.

In a news release,  Jayson Myers, CME’s President and CEO said:

Policies, not politics must be the focus of the 41st Parliament. The first order of business must be to develop a long-term strategy for sustaining the economic recovery and driving investment and job creation in Canada.

We need our federal politicians to get back to the business of manufacturing Canada’s economic future and it begins with the Harper government re-introducing the federal budget it tabled in April. That must be followed by a long-term vision for a Canada that builds on our natural strengths – our resources, the skills of Canadians, our innovation potential – to grow our world class, value-added manufacturing and exporting industries.

Canadian Manufacturers and Exporters has developed an eight-point plan to accomplish those goals: Read More

Canada Embraces Lower Corporate Taxes, More Domestic Energy

By | Energy, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

Bloomberg offers analysis on Canada’s elections Monday, which gave the Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper a majority government, concluding, “Harper Wins Clear Path to Tax, Spending Cuts in Canada Vote“:

May 3 (Bloomberg) — Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper won a majority of seats in Parliament for the first time, giving his Conservative Party a mandate to bolster the economic recovery with additional tax cuts and erase the country’s deficit with curbs on government spending….

One outcome of Harper’s victory is that planned corporate income tax cuts will move ahead. Canada reduced the federal rate by 1.5 percentage points to 16.5 percent on Jan. 1, and it will fall to 15 percent in 2012 under legislation passed in 2007….

Both the NDP and the Liberals had pledged to raise corporate taxes to fund new social spending.

A Harper majority also means the country’s oil companies will have an advocate in Ottawa, after the Liberals and the NDP pledged to eliminate tax breaks and subsidies for the industry. Read More

Congrats to Canada’s Prime Minister Harper, Conservatives

By | Economy, Energy, Taxation, Trade | No Comments

Amazing election in Canada on Monday: The Conservatives and Prime Minister Stephen Harper remained in power, this time with a majority government with a 167 seats. The socialist NPD (New Democrats) recorded its bests results ever, finishing in second with 102 seats and earning the status of official opposition party. The Liberal Party suffered a crushing defeat, down to just 34 seats, and Michael Ignatieff has stepped down as party leader. The Bloc Quebecois was reduced to rump status, with only four seats in Parliament. (National Post has election results.)

The local print edition of The Washington Post had four paragraphs on the bottom of Page A14. Sure, more details emerged about the mission to kill Bin Laden, but four paragraphs? Well, maybe tomorrow.

Anyway, reaction from business follows. We appreciate the solid endorsement Canadian voters gave to domestic and offshore energy development. The Conservatives also campaigned on lower corporate taxes.  Hope our own national leaders are paying attention.

Barents Observer.com, “Canadian election results a boost for Arctic sovereignty and offshore oil

Canada’s focus on Arctic sovereignty and offshore drilling will gain strength now that Canadian voters have given Prime Minister Stephen Harper his long-desired majority Conservative government.

The prime minister held a minority government up until Monday night and has been steadily implementing his party’s Northern Strategy since he was first elected in 2006. The results of the most recent Canadian election give him more power than ever before to pass legislation and pursue plans to to promote mining, offshore drilling and other development projects in Canada’s North.

Financial Post,Tory win boost for ‘Buy Canada’“:

The Conservative Party’s resounding majority in federal elections on Tuesday should be a big plus for Canadian assets and the economy as corporate tax cuts — the backbone of the party’s platform — remain safe. But Bay Street will want to see real progress on cutting the deficit as the Tories get to work, analysts said on Tuesday. Read More

Manufacturing Group Forms to Back U.S.-Canada Border Initiatives

By | Infrastructure, Regulations, Trade | No Comments

From the news release announcing the creation of the Bi-National Manufacturing Coalition, “Bi-National Manufacturing Coalition Praises Leaders on Border Vision”:

WASHINGTON, DISTRICT OF COLOMBIA and OTTAWA, ONTARIO–(Marketwire – Feb. 4, 2011) – Leading U.S. and Canadian manufacturing associations have announced the formation of the B3 – Businesses for a Better Border – a manufacturing coalition to advise both governments on policies for perimeter security, regulatory compliance and economic competitiveness.

Manufacturers, and their integrated supply chains, face growing transactional compliance hurdles when shipping goods across our shared border. This threatens manufacturing competitiveness, dampens export growth, and stifles job creation in both countries.

Today’s announcement by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper on their shared objectives is an important step forward in addressing the needs of manufacturers in the integrated Canadian/U.S. economy. B3 applauds the two governments for their announcement today of a shared vision for perimeter security and economic competitiveness.

B3 is steered by the American Automotive Policy Council (AAPC), Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), Canadian Vehicle Manufacturers’ Association (CVMA), and the U.S. National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). As one can tell from the membership, a major focus will be the integration and effective cooperation of the automobile industry on both sides of the border. Good time to build a new connection between Windsor and Detroit — the Gordie Howe International Bridge sounds good.

Also, from the White House on Friday, “Joint Statement by President Obama and Prime Minister Harper of Canada on Regulatory Cooperation“:

Today, President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Stephen Harper have directed the creation of a United States-Canada Regulatory Cooperation Council (RCC), composed of senior regulatory, trade, and foreign affairs officials from both governments.  In recognition of our $1 trillion annual trade and investment relationship, the RCC has a two-year mandate to work together to promote economic growth, job creation, and benefits to our consumers and businesses through increased regulatory transparency and coordination.

Canada Works to Expand Markets for its Exporters

By | Trade | 2 Comments

A news release from Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada, “International Trade Minister Highlights Canada’s Aggressive Free Trade Agenda

(No. 309 – September 23, 20102:10 p.m. ET) The Honourable Peter Van Loan, Minister of International Trade, today emphasized the Harper government’s commitment to opening new markets through an aggressive free trade agenda. Minister Van Loan delivered his remarks at the launch of the 2010 edition of the Economic Freedom of the World Index in Ottawa, after he tabled legislation to implement the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement in the House of Commons.

The submission of the Canada-Panama Free Trade Agreement to Parliament is just the latest move in the Harper government’s aggressive policy of expanding trade opportunities for Canada’s exporters. Note the emphasis on manufacturing:

“This agreement improves access to the Panamanian market for Canadian goods, services and investment at a time when Canadian manufacturers and exporters seek to grow their business in global markets,” said Jayson Myers, President and Chief Executive Officer of Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters.

In less than four years, the Government of Canada has followed through on its commitment to open new markets to Canadians and Canadian businesses by concluding new free trade agreements with Peru, Colombia, Jordan and Panama and with the European Free Trade Association states of Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

The Harper government has also launched discussions on economic partnership with two of the world’s largest economies: the European Union and India. A trade agreement with the European Union will represent the most significant Canadian trade initiative since the North American Free Trade Agreement, and is expected to deliver a $12‑billion annual boost to the Canadian economy.

Expanding, Reinforcing Transmission Grid — In Canada

By | Energy | No Comments

President Obama and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper held a press availability after the two met Wednesday. A passage from the transcript that contained news:

We discussed energy security and climate change. I remind all our American friends that Canada is by far the largest supplier of energy to the United States. And we are determined to be a continental partner in dealing with the joint — with the very linked problems of climate change and energy security. Our two ministers, our respective ministers have provided us with a report on the clean energy dialogue, which I think shows some great progress in identifying areas of joint action. I think the next step will be some specific projects that we can pursue.

Today, Canada is announcing a major hydroelectric project, a big transmission line in northwestern British Columbia, which has the capacity down the road to be part of a more integrated North American hydroelectric system that will be obviously part of dealing with both these problems of energy security and climate change.

From the Prime Minister’s office, the news release, “PM announces Canada’s investment in Northwest Transmission Line.”

From Canadian Press, “Harper announces money for B.C. transmission line that will fuel mining industry“:

VANCOUVER, B.C. — Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced millions of dollars in funding Wednesday for a long-awaited electricity line in northern British Columbia that has the mining industry dreaming of massive growth in the region.

Harper used a trip to Washington, D.C. to announce up to $130 million in federal cash for the Northwest Transmission Line. The province has already committed $250 million, and the mining industry is expected to pick up the rest of the estimated $404 million price tag.

Good to see the recognition of hydroelectricity as “green power.” But in any case, the important news is the expansion of transmission capacity and the willingness of Canada’s government to support the extractive industries that create wealth and jobs.

Prime Minister Harper Making the Case for Trade

By | Energy, Global Warming, Trade | No Comments

From The Globe and Mail, Toronto, noting PM Harper’s meeting with congressional leaders on the Buy American provisions in the stimulus bill that provoked Canadian responses and hurt companies on both sides of the border, “PM prepares to lobby U.S. Congress.”

Canadian prime ministers troop to the White House every few years, but rarely lobby the congressional leadership who control matters key to Canada’s interests – such as inserting Buy American clauses into stimulus-spending bills. Mr. Harper meets Mr. Obama for less than an hour Wednesday, but will hold two sessions Thursday with the top Democrats and Republicans in both the House and Senate.

“In the American system, particularly when it comes to issues of trade and protectionism, often our bigger challenges are in Congress, as opposed to the administration,” Mr. Harper said in an interview with CTV News before he left for Washington.

“So far the administration has responded quite positively to our offers and our attempts to deal with this. But it may be the case that the administration alone can’t deal with it. That’s something we’ll have to gauge on this trip.”

The prime minister will also talk about the move by some in Congress to punish Canada for developing its oil sands in northern Alberta. Environmental groups are engaging in protests and stunts against PM Harper’s visit, agitating against U.S. energy security. See SecureOurFuel.org’s commentary, “Greenpeace’s War on Reality.” Key excerpt:

of PetroChina’s involvement (financial and otherwise) in the oil sands eliminated all doubt, if any remained, that even if U.S. policymakers end our unique relationship on energy with Canada, those resources will continue to be produced for, sold to and used by millions (billions?) of grateful energy consumers in Asia – impacting America’s economic and strategic position, but doing nothing to limit the emission of carbon dioxide (in fact, according to one respected study, emissions may actually increase under an LCFS).

UPDATEHow ‘Buy American’ Can Hurt U.S. Firms“:

Mr. Pokorsky runs Aquarius Technologies Inc., a company in Port Washington, Wis., that makes equipment to treat sewage. The stimulus plan earmarks some $6 billion for municipal wastewater projects that are right in his company’s sweet spot.

But the bill’s Buy American provisions — meant to give U.S. companies a leg up on foreign competition — are causing Aquarius and other U.S. companies a lot of grief with both suppliers and clients in Canada.

Protectionism invites retaliation invites further protectionism invites further …


Canada’s Contribution to U.S. Energy Security

By | Energy, General, Global Warming | No Comments

Let’s start with some basic facts about Canada’s contribution’s to the U.S. economy From the Energy Information Administration background sheet:

In 2006, Canada produced 19.3 quadrillion British Thermal Units (Btu) of total energy, the fifth-largest amount in the world. Since 1980, Canada’s total energy production has increased by 87 percent, while its total energy consumption has increased by only 44 percent. Almost all of Canada’s energy exports go to the United States, making it the largest source of U.S. energy imports. Canada is consistently among the top sources for U.S. oil imports, and it is the largest source of U.S. natural gas and electricity imports. Recognizing the importance of the energy trade between the two countries, both participate in the North American Energy Working Group, which seeks to improve energy integration and cooperation between Canada, the U.S., and Mexico.

Our emphasis. As an ally, free country, and dependable energy supplier, Canada is an essential contributor of U.S. energy security.

Some groups are dedicated to crippling that energy production — and U.S. energy use —  by demonizing petroleum produced from the Alberta oil sands. And, by making oil sands a bete noire, they hope to prevent development of similar U.S. energy resources such as shale oil. The anti-energy, anti-growth agenda will be on display this week when Canada’s prime minister, Stephen Harper, comes to Washington, D.C., for a meeting with President Obama.

From The Globe and Mail, “Oil sands under attack on environment“:

The environmental battle over Alberta’s oil sands is going global, forcing the industry to respond to new attacks on its record and putting fresh pressure on Ottawa.

The Calgary-based industry is accustomed to defending its image in North America, but it now faces a multifront war. That growing global opposition is highlighted by its role in today’s federal election in Norway, where the state-owned oil company’s plans for the oil sands have sparked controversy.

As well, a documentary that premiered in Switzerland and is now playing at the Toronto International Film Festival depicts the projects’ devastating environmental impact; and a delegation of Chinese journalists is planning a visit to the scarred landscape of northeastern Alberta.

At the same time, U.S. activists are continuing their attacks in Washington, scheduling a news conference this week ahead of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s visit with President Barack Obama to highlight the dramatic increase in emissions that would occur if oil sands production is expanded as planned.

Along with tendentious documentaries, the latest tactic for attacking Canadian oil is the low-carbon fuel standard, which we wrote about here and here. As the industry alliance, Secure Our Fuels, explains, the standard attempts to shut out the U.S. No. 1 foreign supplier of energy:

Under an LCFS, if the oil isn’t “Jed Clampett” ready – that is, able to be produced without much time, talent or effort – it isn’t a form that’s treated kindly. And since so much of Canada’s oil resources are classified as “heavy,” very little of it will be eligible for shipment to U.S. markets – forcing American consumers to contract with foreign, unstable suppliers half-a-world away instead.

Exactly right. U.S. economic growth, our national prosperity, is going to require the use of petroleum for many decades to come. Putting one dependable supplier, Canada, off limits will raise the cost of energy, slow domestic economic growth, and at the same time make the U.S. more reliant on less secure suppliers like Venezuela and Middle Eastern countries. The opponents of Albertan oil sands know all this, and they mostly don’t care.

Congress, Administration Watch the Trade World Go By

By | Trade | No Comments

CanWest News Service, this morning, “Canada signs free-trade agreement with Panama“:

PANAMA CITY — Prime Minister Stephen Harper will sign a free-trade agreement with Panama on Tuesday morning, giving Canadian business greater access to the small but fast-growing Central American economy.


Once the deal is ratified, Panama will immediately eliminate tariffs on more than 90 per cent of its current imports from Canada. The remaining tariffs will fall within a decade.

And from the Aug. 5 letter to President Obama from major business groups, including the National Association of Manufacturers, referring to the pending Colombia, Korea, and Panama free trade agreements:

In particular, we urge you to pursue major market-opening agreements with the Asia-Pacific and beyond, as well as more focused initiatives on an industry and country-specific basis, including the passage of the three pending trade agreements.  Such initiatives will help enable U.S. workers and industries to gain access to the 95 percent of the world’s consumers, who command 80 percent of the world’s purchasing power and who live outside U.S. borders. …

Failure to lead will be costly to the United States.  Our manufacturers, farmers and service providers will continue to face significant barriers in foreign markets and will also be disadvantaged vis-à-vis many of their foreign competitors whose governments are negotiating agreements to ensure that their industries and workers have new market-opening opportunities.


President Obama and PM Harper: Keep U.S.-Canada Trade Open

By | Trade | No Comments

Good message on trade coming from the meetings in Ottawa between President Obama, on his first trip abroad, and Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper.

Bloomberg, “Obama Says U.S., Canada Must Avoid Erecting Barriers to Trade”

Feb. 19 (Bloomberg) — President Barack Obama said the U.S. and Canada must avoid erecting trade barriers or impeding cross- border commerce amid a worldwide recession.

Obama also said he raised with Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper the idea of putting labor and environmental provisions within the main body of the North American Free Trade Agreement without unraveling the accord.

“Now is a time when we’ve got to be very careful about any signals of protectionism,” Obama said at a joint news conference with Harper in Ottawa.

Canada and the U.S. have the world’s largest commercial relationship, with almost $600 billion in trade annually. Each nation is the other’s largest trading partner.

Reuters, “Canada PM says confident U.S. will meet trade obligations“:

OTTAWA, Feb 19 (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said on Thursday he is confident that the United States will live up to its international trade obligations under NAFTA and the WTO in relation to the “Buy American” clause in the recent U.S. stimulus package.

Harper, speaking at a joint news conference with U.S. President Barack Obama, said that Canada’s economy cannot recover without a recovery by the U.S. economy.

Canada and the United States have the world’s largest trading relationship, worth about $1.5 billion a day. ($1=$1.26 Canadian)