Crawl Across the Ocean

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Monte goes to Cabinet

If you read a fair number of political blogs, you've probably already encountered the Reuters article where Monte Solberg talks about corporate subsidies, but my point is a little different from the one I've seen other bloggers making so far, so bear with me.

For reference, here is the relevant quote from the article:

Export-oriented Canadian companies complain they have been hit hard by a steep appreciation in the Canadian dollar, which is up 30 percent against other major currencies since 2002, helping to wipe out tens of thousands of manufacturing jobs.

Industrial subsidies, long a point of contention for Canadian right-of-center parties, may be a necessary evil, he added, admitting that the Conservatives were coming round to the idea that firms sometimes needed subsidies.

"It would be better to have a worldwide agreement (against industrial subsidies). But because some people subsidize, we have to match that,"; he said.

Asked if plane and train manufacturer Bombardier Inc., a particular target of subsidy critics, could continue to benefit from federal government largess, he said: "We're reluctant converts."

Now, it would be easy to deride this sudden abandonment of principle by the Conservatives, or to dig up some archives of right-wing folks talking about how subsidies to Bombardier were the reason they could never vote for the Liberals, but, to be honest, I'm just happy to see Solberg - likely to be a senior member in cabinet - quickly realizing and admitting the reality of the situation.

Which is to say, that when you're dealing with problems that have a prisoner-dilemma type structure (i.e. collective action problems) and which are international in scope, made in Canada solutions don't work. You need to rely on international agreements. Given how quickly Solberg has grasped this key concept, I will definitely be supporting him for Minister of the Environment, the motherlode of international collective action problems, and a place where his recognition of the need for international agreements to solve international problems will serve him well.


  • While I'll certainly agree with your opinion (that it's nice Monte spoke after looking around the office and learning what's what), I'm going to allow myself a little chuckle recalling all the provincial elections we have in BC where every time a party gets tossed, the new one is "Shocked, shocked! I tell you!" that the province's finances are in such bad shape that they won't be able to keep all their promises after all...


    By Blogger Thursday, at 10:55 PM  

  • Funny how reality always seems to trump political dogma when parties get in power.

    I'd be far more worried with a "damn the torpedoes full speed ahead" approach.

    By Blogger Mike, at 8:31 AM  

  • I was going to write something similar just before the election. The reason that Harper and co are mostly harmless now is because his ( and the CPC's ) transition from ideologue to politician is nearly complete.

    Making Monte the minister in charge of Kyoto is just mean :)

    By Blogger KevinG, at 10:17 AM  

  • Thursday - Yeah, it's not just B.C. where that happens, it is a regular occurrence in Ontario as well, and probably everywhere!

    Mike - agreed.

    Kevin - How do you know it hasn't always been Monte's dream to meet our Kyoto obligations, he just couldn't admit it to his constituents?

    By Blogger Declan, at 8:49 AM  

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