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Impact of the rising Dollar

First Minister’s Photo-Op In the Offing


By —— Bio and Archives--November 12, 2007

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Canada’s current government has been in office for about two years. Not once in that time has Prime Minister Stephen Harper seen fit to meet with the provincial and territorial leaders at a first minister’s conference. Suddenly with the high Canadian dollar impacting export businesses from east to west,  Harper has agreed to just such a meeting, but only after several premiers demanded it. My question is why. Why now, why not earlier and why this particular issue?

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It’s not like there weren’t any serious issues or concerns that needed to be discussed before now.

Sometime between now and January,  the Prime Minister says he will sit down with the first ministers and discuss the impact of the rising dollar. Oddly enough, of all the issues facing the people of Canada, a high dollar is arguably one government can do the least to resolve.

It’s possible to ease corporate tax burdens, lower tariffs or subsidize specific industries, but the value of the dollar is not something political leaders have any real control over. On the other hand, there are a myriad of issues our leaders can and should be addressing but aren’t. These other issues that may not grab headlines or provide the same kind of photo-ops as a soaring loonie,  but they are issues that have real solutions. Solutions that would do far more for the country in the long run than moaning about a high dollar.

Why aren’t the first ministers and the PM trying to resolve the deadlock over an east/west power grid? A grid that would allow provinces to wheel power across the country, without impediment, to areas that desperately need it.

What about the issue of senate reform? Rather than simply talking about abolishing the senate,  why isn’t the PM spending some time (up front) working with the provinces to find a way of reforming that tired old body and making it do what it was designed to do, provide regional representation to all areas of the country?

Why, with so many seniors on voting lists across Canada and with more entering their so called “golden years” every day, is nothing being done to help older Canadians live out their lives without having to choose between medications, food and home heat? Millions of older Canadians are doing exactly that. The Old Age Security plan is designed to keep seniors at or below the poverty line and heaven forbid you paid into a pension plan, out of your pocket, because you’ll soon find that your foresight has won you the prize of having your government pension reduced.

There are countless issues that affect all Canadians and that need to be addressed. Issues that the government has far more ability to control and manage than the Canadian dollar. Why have these not warranted the attention of Stephen Harper or the first ministers? Why have they not resulted in a leader’s conference or been addressed at all?


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Myles Higgins -- Bio and Archives | Comments

Myles Higgins is freelance columnist and writes for Web Talk - Newfoundland and Labrador
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