Unbalanced economy fuelling Ontario job losses, Thomas Mulcair says – by Bruce Campion-Smith (Toronto Star – September 14, 2012)

The Toronto Star has the largest circulation in Canada. The paper has an enormous impact on federal and Ontario politics as well as shaping public opinion.

OTTAWA—Canada’s unbalanced economy has had a “devastating” effect on southern Ontario with the loss of thousands of good-paying manufacturing jobs, NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair says.
After spending four days touring the region this week, Mulcair said he’s not backing down on his view that the failure to develop Canada’s resource riches in a sustainable fashion is costing the economy.
“We’re always going to have a resource-based economy. We always have had and always will have . . . We also had a very strong secondary sector. We built up manufacturing. Those were choices that were made,” Mulcair said in an interview Thursday.
“We’re killing off that balanced economy and it’s really having devastating effects in regions like southwestern Ontario,” he said.
In the past, Mulcair has blamed so-called Dutch Disease for the loss of 500,000 manufacturing jobs across the country in recent years. Taking its inspiration from the impact of natural gas development in the Netherlands, it refers to when natural resource riches drive up the value of a country’s currency and badly damage manufacturing exports.
When he first raised the issue in the spring, Mulcair sparked a sharp political debate. The Conservatives accused the NDP leader of being anti-growth and trying to pit one region against another.
But in June, a report by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development highlighted the economic disparities across the country. Alberta, Saskatchewan and Newfoundland enjoyed the largest income gains over the last decade, thanks to their booming resource economies, while Ontario lagged because of its reliance on a “sluggish” manufacturing sector, the report said.
It noted that the manufacturing sector had shrunk, taking with it jobs, and blamed the trend pegged on the rise in the Canadian loonie.
However, Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney waded into the debate last week, saying that high commodity prices are “good for Canada” and dismissed suggestions that Dutch Disease is to blame for inequities in the Canadian economy.
He said that only about half of the rise of the Canadian dollar on exchange markets in the past decade can be attributed to higher natural resource prices. Instead, he said changes in the Canadian economy were more the result of external factors.
For the rest of this article, please go to the Toronto Star website: http://www.thestar.com/news/canada/politics/article/1256429–unbalanced-economy-fuelling-ontario-job-losses-thomas-mulcair-says

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