Yes, on the
face of it, it does seem that Canada is being unfairly run over by the US.The US just announced a 220 per cent tariff
on a new line of Canadian Bombardier jets.They are claiming that Bombardier receives unfair government subsidies
from the Canadian government. Is this true?What kind of subsidies? In a report from the Frasier Institute titled Bombardier and Canada’s corporate welfare
trap (I know most of you don’t like them, I don’t either) we are told
that the welfare program for Bombardier began in 1966 with its first government
payment of $35 million. “In the decades
since, various Bombardier iterations received over $1.1 billion in (figures
adjusted for inflation) in 48 separate disbursements from just Industry Canada.
That includes two 2009 cheques worth $233 million”.
I find there
is an interesting parallel between the recent US accusation of government
subsidies for Bombardier and the multi-national logging companies’ corporate
welfare. As I have written previously, I think the US is correct in this claim.
But our governments are supposed to represent us, right? Not private companies? Yet if the true worth of our public forests
had been secured by the government by charging a true corresponding value
stumpage fee for every huge old growth tree cut in BC public forests, BC would
be a financial beacon of light right now.We would have no child poverty, no homelessness, nobody going to bed
hungry at night or scrounging in garbage bins.Our medical and social services would be so up to date that drug
overdose deaths would be a thing of the distant past. Where did all this lost
public revenue generated by our public forests go?Into the private pockets of the logging industry
(the US jet manufacture that originally sued for redress) also has subsidies,
it is the particular kind of Canadian subsidies that the US objects to. While
Boeing’s aid comes in the form of favorable defense contracts and tax breaks on
the state level, Bombardier’s subsidies, by contrast, come in the form of the
government effectively partnering with the company in funding the early stages
of development. But quibbling about the details is a false distraction. Both
are types of PPP (public private partnerships) masquerading as private industry
while sucking up obscene amounts of tax money out of hundreds of millions of
increasing impoverished North Americans. Nobody has clean hands in this deal.