The Epistle of Q — Chapter 146 (c)

There’s more After the Convention

Okay, some have suggested that I should actually provide more than a single issue for the next federal election campaign. So let me suggest now something that didn’t get much attention in the media after the Convention, but definitely needs to be pondered in the lead-up to the next vote. I refer here to the country’s relationship with China, and it is not to send in a SWAT team and rescue the two Michaels, as much as that would make a great NCIS episode. No, I’m going to suggest that there be a change in government investments in business.

But before I get to that idea, my first comment is very straightforward:

First: Start standing up to China in a forceful and direct way. All the cozying up to that dictatorship has got us nowhere. So stop doing it! If what happened in Residential Schools (and you know my position on that) is genocide, then what China does to its minorities, let alone Tibet and Hong Kong and Taiwan, is genocide of a wide variety of definitions. So just say so. It may cost the two Michaels some more time in jail, but once Canada starts really standing with its allies, just possibly China may realize that this is a battle they may not win to the degree they had hoped.

Second: Develop a new approach to helping small businesses by providing seed monies for any business that can quickly develop a product that can allow a Canadian firm an alternative to buying the same product from China. Don’t be too scatter-gun at the outset. Make one target the appliance sector and in particular the mini-motherboards that operate fridges, stoves, dishwashers, washers & dryers, and the like. Make another target the clothing industry by giving subsidies on any group of items that would allow Canadian retailers to place comparables on racks to enable purchasers a choice. Put in place a gradual reduction in the subsidy over a five year period as Canadians become aware of the need to pay more to retain Canadian manufacturing.

Third: Make packaging of food much clearer as to not simply where the product is initially acquired but where it is processed and packaged. Again, give Canadian processors (particularly of ocean products) a limited time increased tax write-off of their advertising budgets (perhaps two years) to fully explain why it is better to buy totally made in Canada (or at least North America) these products.

Fourth: Make all products that are manufactured in China carry a noticeably readable label that states not only that they are made in China, but the province and city. Each business can then provide a map so customers can then learn a bit more about the country, including whether the area may be a location where forced labour is used.

Now if you are worried about Chinese retaliation let’s think about that for a moment. It is already claimed by China that its new middle class is bigger than all of the USA, so whatever it needs is most likely energy resources, so we can offer equal opportunity in terms of monetary value in the short term while we retool our own production systems. Moreover we already have had pork and canola bans placed on us by the Chinese and we seem to survive. However, we should now do more to encourage in Canada canola oil processing and start exporting that product around the world. This increases the value-added within the country while reducing the impact of bans on the raw canola itself. As for pork, again we should do more processing here at home and start a vigorous effort to find markets for a wide variety of pork products in different parts of the world. Plus, we should encourage more consumption of Canadian produced meats anyway, along with more home-grown vegetables, fruits, and the like. Whenever we find something we are lacking, we should immediately develop reciprocal food-products trade with the sourced-food countries (again on a monetary value basis) so that they gain reasonable access to our surplus, while we do likewise with theirs.

Let’s shift our foreign aid to encouraging prosperity in countries that can fill our needs for certain foods that can’t be grown in our climate by exchanging our specialty products such as canola oil, apples (including apple sauce), grains (especially wheat, oats & barley), as well as selected manufactured products. In such designated countries we can subsidize our products so that they receive a higher proportion, particularly of food related items, so that it becomes an incentive to produce more of their own unique foodstuffs. As well, we can work with them on education and water management to assist in the development of core skills within the population related to improved production and trade capacities.

What this all is simply suggesting is that if we want The Great Re-Set to be truly beneficial to Canadians, let’s focus on how we make ourselves stronger and those who will deal with us in a friendly and productive manner stronger as well. If increased wealth allows more Canadians to buy electric cars and solar panels, so be it; the market will determine that. If increased wealth encourages more Canadians to travel both within Canada and to those countries deemed friendly to us, that would be a bonus. If increased wealth enables the government to significantly reduce the debt and deficit, that will simply improve our legacy to our grandkids.

All of the above was only obliquely touched on during the Convention and even then it was more in sidebars to the main agenda. I now challenge candidates to start having the conversations and see what better plans are out there, if there are some…

As always,