Posted by: Nathan M. | March 23, 2009

The Death of Canadian Ideals

clipped from www.nytimes.com

In Canada, 2 Oil Giants Agree to Merge
Suncor Energy has agreed to acquire Petro-Canada in an all-stock deal worth about $15 billion, the companies announced Monday morning.
The end of Petro-Canada as an independent company would eliminate the last vestige of a ambitious, and highly controversial program, started by former Prime Minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau during the 1970s to assert Canadian control over the country’s energy resources.
I am likely one of the few people that laments this particular event-many are viewing this as a great thing that will save money and perhaps help the economy. However, there is something much deeper here than simply the merging of two companies. Petro-Canada was one of the best attempts made in Canada to regulate the economy. It was an attempt at ensuring that a Canadian resource would benefit Canada as a whole, rather than the few lucky owners and VIP’s of the company. This failure of Petro-Canada to succeed in the competitive market is not a demonstration of the lack of ability-it is a demonstration of the government’s lack of care for a society of economic equality. The current administration, and indeed the government for the last few decades, has steadily allowed for the absolute corruption of government interference. In Canada, the belief for a great deal of time has been that nobody should live on the streets while others live in mansions. This does not mean that capitalism cannot exist-but it does mean that the government needs to take steps to assist and cooperate with capitalists and people who cannot subsist in a capitalist world, in order to ensure the well-being of as many people as possible. The failure of Petro-Canada is purely rooted in the failure of the government of Canada to care. The mantra for internal policy is the same as for foreign policy in Canada-use as much rhetoric as possible, get people to believe that you are doing a lot, while spending as little money and doing as little as humanly possible. What has happened to this country? When did we all stop caring?
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Responses

  1. Both Liberals AND Conservatives are responsible and complicit in the systematic decimation of our national economies.

    History has shown that they have repeatedly made made trade choices and legally bound our country through bad trade deals like NAFTA (and now they want SPP).

    Canadians need for their government to support LOCAL economy. Import/trade is fine for items which we cannot make ourselves and cannot live without, but to let (even finance with tax incentives) big box importers to come in and squash entire towns of Mom & Pop shops is a betrayal of the hard working people of Canada.

    Unfortunately, many Canadians don’t realize that they have been financing the forfieture of Canadian economy every shopping day.

  2. I think I have found a kindred spirit! Although, it can be dangerous to go to far in regulations, since the government has just as much tendency to become corrupt as large corporations. I do believe, however, that crown corporations have the potential to be this nation’s biggest asset, if they can be administered properly. They have the potential to extend a helping hand to the Mom & Pop shops and not kill them from competition, while competing in the international economy.
    One of the problems with “buying Canadian” now is that most products are passed back and forth across the border so-you’re right, it would be better for people to go to the smaller businesses.

  3. The death of petro canada was to make quick improvents while sacrificing long term prosperity.

    A symptom of Canadians not caring? No (canadians I thnk are merely misinformed by dumbed down media). It is a classic exampe of politicions putti g their own career and popularity over real leadership.
    An isolated incident? Not in the least!

  4. I shouldve said the sail of crown assets, not the death of petro canada

  5. The problem with crown corporations? They are bloated, inefficient and eventually ineffecive. The solution: joint ventures with Canadian owned business. Who else wants a nationalized auto maker between the government, bombardier and Zen corperation? It could wrk!

  6. Definitely an interesting prospect having joint ventures. The only issue would be deciding on administration-it would be difficult to run a company with conflicts between CEO’s and the government, since both of these groups would have very difficult interests and goals. I would argue that one of the largest reasons why Crown Corporations have failed so very much is largely because our government simply has not cared to give them the time that they desperately need. Crown corporations are on the wayside in Canadian domestic policy.

  7. “joint ventures” aka “Public Private Partnerships” (when one side of the team is funded with tax dollars) have historically shown new sets of problems which should be of concern to the public funders (tax payers).

    1) Often extremely opaque policies are set in place (out of “respect” for the private parties involved) which ultimately create the darkest deepest closet for the accounting of public funds. Not that this needs to be a requirement, but deals structured between government and big business are usually skewed to the big business ( the bailouts / corporate welfare are examples).

    2) PPPs and other variations on “privitization” often include capital giveaways – assets/resources the public owns are virtually signed over to private companies without any reasonable value posted to the taxpayer’s side of the balance sheet.

    3) “Join venture” is a milder euphemism for consolidation and merger – a general pattern which has made most people watching globalization and the resultant economy very wary.


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