Once upon a time, the NDP promoted itself as a party that based its positions on fact. It was never true, but that’s how they promoted themselves.
But in reality, the NDP is a party that has consistently formulated its policy by cobbling together a a series of fantasy-based positions. Their most recent take on the Canadian economy — that the energy industry has artificially inflated the Canadian dollar, hollowing out Canadian manufacturing, resulting in an economic malaise known as “Dutch Disease” — is only their most recent fantasy-based position. It’s slowly leading them deeper and deeper down into a rabbit hole from which they may never return.
Enter Burnaby-New Westminster MP Peter Julian. Julian has stood firm behind NDP leader Thomas Mulcair in his steadfast refusal to back away from his “Dutch Disease” theory, despite all the facts to the contrary. Julian declared Mulcair’s stubbornness to be “leadership”, which is a very sad statement on what passes for leadership within the New Democratic Party.
Even in the wake of touring the oilsands alongside Mulcair, Julian isn’t interested in letting the facts spoil a good theory.
For example, Julian has recently claimed that the 2012 Alberta budget supports Mulcair’s position on “Dutch Disease.” In order to support this claim, he quotes a section of the budget that admits the challenges a high dollar poses to manufacturing sectors of the economy.
This is quite a whopper, but no more a whopper than Julian repeating Mulcair’s claim that a recent study by the Institute for Research on Public Policy supports Mulcair’s thesis. In fact, when taken together, these two whoppers become an incredible double whopper.
For one thing, it’s a clear indication that Julian never actually read the IRPP report. The IRPP report in fact differs from Mulcair on the most fundamental of points: it disputes whether or not the Canadian dollar is actually a Petro-dollar. In fact, the IRPP concluded that the value of the Canadian dollar is actually driven by non-energy commodities. They point specifically to wheat, other foodstuffs, and various metals and minerals mined in northern Ontario and Quebec.
The Alberta budget makes no mention of Alberta’s energy industry artificially inflating the Canadian dollar — mostly because the very notion of it is absurd. The international money markets determine the value of the Canadian dollar, not Thomas Mulcair. That won’t change if he ever becomes Prime Minister, no matter how hard he may try. He can certainly introduce policies designed to deflate the value of the dollar, but it wouldn’t be long before he would have to face the Canadian people and explain precisely why.
Although neither Thomas Mulcair nor Peter Julian thinks they would ever have to do such a thing. Simply put, they think the Canadian people aren’t paying attention: aren’t paying attention to the vast wealth of information that refutes their ill-founded “Dutch Disease” theories, and won’t pay attention to the disastrous economic course they want to chart for Canada.
But soon the NDP’s post-leadership honeymoon will be over. More and more Canadians will be asking serious questions of Mulcair, and when that happens, he won’t be able to dismiss them all as “[Prime Minister Stephen] Harper’s messengers.” And when that happens, Thomas Mulcair and the NDP will be in very, very deep trouble.