Friday, November 30, 2007

Canadian Neo Cons - Connecting the Dots

Let’s play connect the dots

The Telegram
a citizen’s group suggested that, whatever else the federal Conservatives have done, they haven’t turned off the federal finance taps. Or more to the point, the chefs have changed, but there’s still plenty of gravy to be had.In fact, the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) says that, after reviewing lists of federal grants in fiscal 2006-07, Ottawa awarded $25 billion in grants, contributions and subsidies — a payout equivalent to 11 per cent of all government funding.The CTF tags a number of those funding choices as questionable, and has provided a list of the top 100 recipients — identifying some of the funding as “corporate welfare” and pointing out such things as $47.5 million for the Mont Tremblant ski resort, and $27 million for a Toronto soccer stadium. One of the most interesting investments flagged by the group might have had interesting implications for workers in this province.

No. 22 on the list was big news for Saint John, N.B. And that set us to thinking. Cash injections can skew business — it’s not always obvious, and you can’t always connect the dots directly, but think about this “coincidence.” Atlantic Wallboard Ltd. in New Brunswick is on the list as having received a $35-million conditionally repayable loan from the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency to build a synthetic gypsum wallboard manufacturing plant. The $90-million plant was touted as Canada’s “most modern wallboard operation in Canada” by its main proponent, the J.D. Irving empire.The project was announced in February. Five months later, in July, Lafarge closed its gypsum plant in Corner Brook — at the time, a company spokesman blamed “increasing competition in the Atlantic region along with a slumping wallboard market.” Lafarge, of course, is a massive multinational, and the Corner Brook operation was a tiny blip in the company’s quarterly results, the only mention being: “Strong cost reduction programs have been implemented including the closure of a wallboard plant in Canada in the third quarter.”

Telegram story later revealed that Lafarge had also been exploring an $11-million project to improve the plant, one that would have seen $2.75 million come from the provincial government, and an unconfirmed ACOA investment of $5 million.Looking at the business case, Lafarge decided taking the money didn’t make sense.

Provincial cabinet member Trevor Taylor described it like this: “I’m of the understanding that the observation made by Lafarge was, ‘If we had $20 million we wouldn’t be able to make this work.’” It makes you wonder, of course, if $35 million would have made the difference. Or, in fact, if $35 million had already made the difference, but in a different way.

Maybe it’s an occupational hazard; maybe you just can’t run a gravy train without occasionally getting burned by the spills.

N.B. Watch for the name Thyssen Industries, Canadian conservatives have had a long association with them. Thyssen Industries, along with the Bush clan and I.G. Farben, funded Nazi Germany to such an extent that WWII would not have been possible without North American Corporate aid. It is good to know the roots of fascism, because those who built, caused and created WWII were the corporations and they were never prosecuted.
Not recognizing this is like not knowing your mother or father is a psychopath - you simply repeat their history, devoid of conscience.


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