Saturday, November 29, 2014

Stephen Harper and the Oily Road to Disaster

He was warned, but Stephen Harper wouldn't listen. Warned that he should not put so many economic eggs in one oily basket.

He was warned that the future would be green, or there would be no future. So it made no sense to turn us into a tarry petro state, and even less sense to torch the planet.

But he was a climate change denier and an oil pimp, so he muzzled his critics, and pressed on ahead in the name of Greater Alberta.

And now the oily basket is bouncing on the sidewalk, and the oily messiah just got dinged by reality.

Canada is going to take it on the chin from the collapse in oil prices. The plunge, sparked by OPEC’s decision to hold production at its current ceiling of 30 million barrels a day, will chip away at economic growth, eat into government revenues and erode the value of crude exports, which account for about 15 per cent of the total.

So much for the Promised Land of Petro Prosperity. So much for the mighty Petro Dollar, or as it's now known as, the shrinking Petro Peso. 

Or just the Harper.

And so much for Great Economist Leader's Great Economic Plan. 

Oops. There go the tarsands. The dramatic slide in oil prices has underscored the fragility of Stephen Harper’s entire resource-based approach to the economy.

Because not only is his Plan A a monumental bust, there is no Plan B. 

The manufacturing industry can't pick up the slack, because it was ravaged by the Dutch Disease. And Harper's oily obsession meant he couldn't care less about developing a new industrial strategy.

As Toronto MP Peggy Nash points out, Ottawa — with much fanfare — announced a $200 million fund in 2013 to boost innovative manufacturing. But 18 months later, it has not approved a single project. In fact, Harper has his own unspoken industrial policy. It can be summed up in a word: pipelines.

So while once the shrinking dollar might have mitigated the damage to the economy, and almost made up for many of us not being able to afford to take a vacation, now it won't.

For this low dollar to work effectively there must be enough Canadian manufacturers willing to take advantage of it. Thanks in part to globalization and in part to the actions of this particular government, there aren’t. Instead, we are back in the resource trap. It’s as if we never left.

We're going nowhere, and neither is the oil economy...

Thanks to Stephen Harper's good friends in Saudi Arabia.

And the good news? So much for his shrinking chances of winning the next election.

Because it should be relatively easy now for the opposition to hammer him for putting so many eggs in one oily basket. 

And it should now be clear to all but the dumbest Canadians, that Harper is no Great Economist Leader.

And even the Con eggs must know what that means...

The writing is on the wall. The Cons are slowly cracking.

And the Great Oily Messiah is bubbling or blubbering in his own bitumen...

The fickle hand of fate has finally given us a break.

And we shall use it to DESTROY him...

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  1. One of my favorite fictional characters from David Weber's "Honorverse" novels, Hamish Alexander, has a delightful observation, regardless of its fictional origin:

    "History is filled with roadkills who thought they knew exactly where 'the inevitable' was headed."

    — Hamish Alexander-Harrington, Earl of White Haven, “Mission of Honor” by David Weber

    And the law of unintended consequences knows no patience: the Saudis have decided to blow ISIS out of the water by taking away its resource (oil) sales as the market declines. With no oil and only fear, just wait for the Kurds to fix ISIS' little red wagon.

    But meanwhile, oil tanks, and Stevie and the Koch Brothers must be freaking . . .

    1. Edstock:

      Always nice to see another member of the Honorverse fan club out there. Me, I started when the first two books came out in the early 90s and never looked back (I remember sitting in my car in a parking lot at night in the rain reading Basilisk Station for the first time, my roomates were being too noisy for me to enjoy it properly so I ended up spending the next 10 hours devouring that book in a Canadian Tire parking lot near my then home, still a very vivid memory because of how much I loved what I was first meeting, Hornblower meets SF meets Nelson). The amount of useful quotes though in that series to apply to the Harper government between the targets the Havenites (Legislaturists and Committee of Public Safety) and later the Sollies is staggering. That is one of the better ones though, can't argue with you there. Let us hope we see as spectacular (if nonlethal) an implosion/rejection in the next election as Forakers "ooops". I literally have dreams based on that at times. I've lost track of how many times as new books came out in the series I was seeing elements of the Harper government within them, it was creepy at times.

      As to your actual point about our now exposed "onion" government, Detweiler could certainly give them lessons in competence all right, although no so much in pure evil, and what is truly scary about that thought is Detweiler and company actually have some principles they are basing their goals on for the human race, as wrongheaded as they are, Harper, not so much. There is a reason I have taken to calling him Harper the Destroyer and Salter of the Scorched Earth. The way Harper has systematically destroyed not just our governing structures institutionally and within the civil service but also our core economic structures is truly something no-one would have believed of any possible PM prior to his rise to the office (well almost no-one, I alas am not surprised, I did try to warn people in exhaustive detail, but even I am a little surprised at just how single-minded and wide his path of destruction turned out to be).

      We spent decades trying to increase economic diversification from our resource sectors, and not only did Harper tun back the clock there he even sold out several of the resource sectors (remember the way he sold out the softwood lumbar rulings just when we were finally nearing the end of that years long court process and looking to finally have the win?) in favour of his precious Albertan oil energy sector.

      We still do not know who funded his rise to leadership of the CA, his lack of disclosure and openness there should have warned more people than it did. I would strongly suspect though we would find a whos who of the prime oil sector/tar sands power players at the top of his backers. The only competent "good government" the Harper government has shown is in destructive purposes, we have to my knowledge not seen any well created/structured sustainable creative governing by this government, not even for their core supporters. The only reason there is still one of our three mottos still in place is that Canadians are typically peaceful people, because we lost order and good government some time back under the Harper regime.

      I really hated being Cassandra about Harper, I so wanted to be wrong, if nor in kind by at least degree, but alas the only way I might have been wrong was in understating, not overstating the reality of the horror that would be the Harper period of government, especially majority government.

    2. BTW Edstock, did you ever get the sense that watching the Harper government in action made it easier to suspend disbelief when it came to the level of corruption and incompetence that was the High Ridge government? It is almost too eerie thinking the commonalities between the military ministry of Janacek and that the Harper government has provided, especially but not limited to the procurement side. I just keep hoping that the Canadian public awaken as much as the Manticoran public did, although hopefully with a far less catastrophic reason for that awakening.

      I'm serious Edstock, for me the eerie parallels between High Ridge and Harper, both the people and their respective governments and what they did to their societies is one of the most disturbing examples of life imitating art/fiction going. Indeed, one could make a good case of for Janacek being the spiritual descendent of Fantino. The amount of commonalities between the High Ridge government and the Harper government despite the one having been created and destroyed before the rise of Harper to the PMO has on occasion seriously creeped me out despite my intense love of the series. I mean At All Costs came out well over a year before the rise of Harper to the PMO, yet there have been times when I re-read the series when I could almost swear it was being based on what we have been living with. Have you ever had that sensation run up your spine?

    3. I somehow missed that quote. Thank you.

      Can anyone give me the source for the quote in the title page (or somewhere in the front part of ) the Short Victorious War where the Russian pm is quoted as saying what they needed in 1095 was a "Short Victorious War : as they attacked Japan

  2. hi Edstock...that's a great quote, I think I'll save it thank you.But as for the geopolitical strategy of the saudis I think they have many targets. ISIS is certainly one of them but there is also Iran its hated Shia rival, that needs oil to be in the $140 a barrel range. Then there's the fracking industry in the U.S. which is also a real threat. And of course the cheaper the price of oil, the less urgent the need to find other energy sources. It's a dangerous game because driving down the price of oil could have a devastating effect on the Russian economy, and make Putin even more aggressive. Like that roadkill I have no idea where this is heading. Let's hope it helps evict the Cons, but doesn't end with a bang...

  3. Thanks Simon .. and Edstock says it well..
    But Canada is in the hands of a virulant incompetant ideologist
    And the likes of Tony Clement Fantino Baird Joe Oliver etc
    are looking after the dictates of Stephen and right hand unelected man, Ray Novak
    The magnifying glass needs to stay on Stephen Harper - close examination
    Nobody in his Harper Government seems capable of coherent thought
    instead Canada is confronted by 'Cabinet Confidence'
    a closet where creeps can hide failure, deceits, broken promises
    and twisted evangelical ideology

  4. hi salamander...when I look around these days I can't quite believe what I'm seeing. I sometimes wonder whether the world is going crazy or whether I am. ;) But yes you're right, it is that virulent ideology that is so very damaging. They will bend the facts to suit it, or muzzle them, and in the end it all adds up to criminal incompetence. We have all the resources and the talent to become a modern country, but the Cons will hold us back and reduce us to the days when we were hewers of wood and drawers of water. The opposition parties need to hammer that message home, and the harder and the sooner the better...

  5. When you bomb the hell out of the middle east..Saudia Arabia`s friends, OPEC`s friends..

    OPEC told Canada and America, you want production cuts....You cut your own production...Saudi Arabia and ISIS are connected at the hip.

    Smart move Harper...Russia and China as one..and now the middle east,all these nations are about to piss down Harper`s throat.

    1. hi Grant...Let's never forget that before he became Prime Minister Harper had hardly left the country. So he's no geopolitical genius, and in less than a decade he has destroyed half a century of distinguished Canadian diplomacy. He's like a bull in a china shop, he doesn't know what he is doing. Once we could hold our heads high, now we must hang them in disgrace. The generation that allowed him to rape our country so violently, will forever live in infamy...

  6. Since 2006 the percentage of GDP based upn adding value has gone from 36% to 18%. Canada is in total economic regression.

  7. Anonymous6:16 PM

    With Harper selling Canada to Communist China? I believe I read China is going to take, more chunks of the tar sands. China brings over their own cheap labor. Petro-China put in a bid to *help* build the Enbridge. China tankers the oil back to China and refines the oil, again with their cheap labor.

    Harper called Russia and Putin evil Communists and then, sells Canada to China. Now China is financing Putin. Harper has China a, massive resource project in the High Arctic. China is very nicely, sharing the High Arctics vast resources.

    Every time Harper insults and angers Russia? Putin scores another energy deal with China, away from Harper. My belief is? China and Russia are laughing all the way to the bank, at Harper's utter stupidity.

  8. It is no longer profitable to get 'bitumen' out of Alberta's Tar Sands, Stephens wet dreams have gone up in smoke hidden behind mirrors. Allot of Albertans will be out of work, if I remember correctly they need $100/barrel to break even. So the Red Chinese now can't develop the resources Harper gave them, interesting. The pipelines now will no longer happen because of financial risk. After Harper helped destroy Libya that he had no right or mandate in doing so Libya needs $184/barrel to balance its budget. Qatar $77/barrel how much does Canada need? See the scale here:

    Also from Thursday overnight to Friday morning oil dropped another $3/barrel to $66/barrel if this does not sink the con's nothing will, we are in for a recession Mr. Economist Prime Minister Harper, thanks only you and you alone are responsible....

    1. I agree with all you say *but* oil pricing is extremely fluid. The price per barrel will rise again. The only question is when.

    2. hi mogs...thanks for that chart. I've read all kinds of estimates about how low the price of oil can go before it has a major effect of the oil sands. But one way or the other the writing is on the wall. It may be hard to believe but the age of oil as a fuel is drawing to a close. New forms of energy are coming on strong, and if Canada doesn't shake its oil obsession we will be left behind...

    3. hi Omar...the price of oil will no doubt go up again but almost certainly not in time to save Harper's ass.If the opposition parties start fighting the Cons with baseball bats instead of feathery dusters we should be able to use this oil slump to fatally damage the Harperites...

  9. Oh I forgot to add this $66/barrel found here:

    1. hi mogs....I've seen predictions that oil could go as low as $30 a barrel and needless to say I'm keeping my fingers crossed. Anything that undermines our growing dependency on that planet burning oily goo is good as far as I'm concerned. I'd rather take a hit in my standard of living, than hand down a scorched earth to the next generation...

  10. IMHO, the Chinese 'Goodfellas' are going to be really, really pissed as time passes. Sure hope Stevie has good retirement security, or he could wind up in the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car.

    1. hi do come up with some great images, as well as some great quotes. The Chinese "Goodfellas" and Harper trussed like a turkey in the trunk of a Lincoln Town Car is one I shall treasure. When I was a student I worked for a few weeks at a pizza joint run by the mob at the old Expo site, and the cheese was delivered in the trunk of a mob mobile. One day while unloading a massive hunk of mozzarella I thought I noticed blood stains, and having argued with da boss, shortly after that I decided to quit... ;)