OPINION: How much does Justin really care about the middle class? – by Margaret Wente (Globe and Mail – December 1, 2018)


Here in Ontario, you couldn’t escape the General Motors story this week. People here still think the auto industry is the backbone of our economy. So when GM announced that it was going to close its century-old plant in Oshawa, the entire national media rushed to the city in search of desperate auto workers (who, despite the hardship of being laid off, will probably pick up new jobs pretty quickly in Ontario’s job-rich economy).

In a show of solidarity, Justin Trudeau even cozied up to his arch-nemesis, Doug Ford to express his sympathy – even though Mr. Ford effectively blamed Mr. Trudeau’s carbon tax for the GM closure.

My friends in Alberta are a little quizzical about all the fuss. Sure, they’re sympathetic. But unlike Ontario, Alberta has seen tens of thousands of well-paying jobs vaporize in the past few years. Nobody comes to interview those workers any more. “And all we get from the Trudeau Liberals is platitudes,” Jason Kenney, Alberta’s United Conservative Party leader, says.

To be sure, it’s easier for the media to focus on one big sad story than on a hundred smaller stories spread out over time. But the impact of the oil bust in Alberta is far greater than a single auto plant closing in Ontario.

Today, because of Canada’s failure to get pipelines built, Alberta oil is selling for about US$12 per barrel , while West Texas Intermediate sits at about US$50 a barrel. To extract and ship costs more than it’s worth . Rock-bottom oil prices are already costing the industry $80-million to $100-million a day.

For the rest of this article: https://www.theglobeandmail.com/opinion/article-how-much-does-justin-really-care-about-the-middle-class/

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