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More specifics coming from Iggy today on economic platform? (UPDATED: Yup)

It appears that might be the case, according to Susan Delacourt:

Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff is in Toronto today to nail down the key planks of his economic platform – growth, green jobs and a role for government in the economy… Ignatieff…will argue today that Canada is poised to flounder in the restructured economy, because Harper’s government has racked up a deficit that now stands at $55.9-billion and has no real strategy to lead Canadians into a new economy. The idea of government as a helping force in the economy is a defining difference between the Conservatives and Liberals, he says.

“Maybe before the world economic disaster you could indulge in the kind of free-market ideology that Mr. Harper grew up on in the 1980s,” Ignatieff said. “(But) there isn’t a Canadian who doesn’t understand that when the markets tanked, there was only one place to go for safety – and that was to government. Not big government, not tax-and-spend government, but government that protects Canadian savings, Canadian pensions, Canadian mortgages and Canadians.”

The policy proposals Ignatieff is expected to advance today include an aggressive effort to find markets in India and China; investments in plant machinery, green-energy solutions, more research-and-development spending and programs to help firms hire new workers.

If the hints in this article are any indication – that he intends to argue the government needs to do more to help aid in the economic recovery, then I’ll be pleased for 2 reasons. The first reason I’ll be pleased is that Ignatieff will have finally started to present to Canadians what he intends to do different from the Conservatives on the economic front. The second reason is that as a progressive/social Liberal, I’m pleased to see him take aim at Harper and the Conservatives preference as an ideology to do laissez-faire economics (i.e nothing) as it comes to government. Remember, this government is only doing “stimulus” because it felt it was forced to do so, and there are more then a few out there who think the Conservatives don’t really know how to do stimulus -it’s not been in their ideological nature (though as Gerard Kennedy has been showing in Parliament, they do seem to be adept at making sure a large plurality of their economic action plan goes to Conservative-held ridings).

Regardless, I like the fact we’re finally presenting at least even general views on things like economic strategy to present to the public and contrast it to the Conservatives. Specific programs can be unveiled during an election campaign, but if you want to remove the question some in the media (and presumably, some in the public) have been asking about what Ignatieff and the Liberals would do differently then the Conservatives if elected to government, this type of presentation is what you need to do.

UPDATE @ 12:52 pm: And here are the highlights of the speech, courtesy of the Liberal website:

The Liberal Leader committed to the following:

Champion Canadian business and technology
• Improve upon Canada’s 13 out of 30 ranking in research and development by driving strategic investment to job-creating innovation throughout the economy, including clean energy, high-tech, advanced manufacturing, health sciences, forestry and farming.
• Support manufacturing research and commercialization to help businesses get new technologies to the factory floor and bring new products to market
• Investing in clean energy research and renewables to become the most efficient users of energy in the world
• Stand up for flagship Canadian companies, technology and jobs with an investment review process that guarantees our national interests

Invest in people and communities in every region
• Increase the gas transfer to flow money directly to municipalities, relieving pressure on property taxes, and enabling cities and towns to invest in transit and water systems
• Support the success of rural, remote and northern communities by completing Canada’s broadband network and building roads and bridges
• Create incentives for small and medium businesses to hire and train workers

Open new international markets
• Re-establish Team Canada missions to India and to China to reverse our shrinking exports to these growing markets
• Enhance the commitment to the Atlantic and Pacific trade gateways and key border crossings to improve our export performance
• Provide federal leadership to engage the United States at all levels to bring down non-tariff barriers such as Country of Origin Labelling that are costing Canadian beef and pork producers their livelihoods

In addition, Mr. Ignatieff said that a Liberal government would put forward balanced, prudent and transparent plan to get Canada’s finances back in order, starting by opening the books with a full audit and making the Parliamentary Budget Officer independent.

UPDATE 2: Aaron Wherry of Macleans has Ignatieff’s full prepared remarks here.

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6 comments to More specifics coming from Iggy today on economic platform? (UPDATED: Yup)

  • LMA

    Lorraine, the Tar Sands have been expanding since oil prices started to rise years ago. The evidence of rising GHG and pollution of the Athabasca watershed with resulting human sickness and wildlife destruction has been around for years. Why haven’t big oil companies stepped up to the plate and started working on clean energy technologies before now? – their bottom line is profit. Our government has to provide incentives for research into clean energy technologies, as well as set and enforce environmental regulations to stop this pollution, e.g. the Fisheries Act, and Harper and the Cons won’t do it.

  • Lorraine

    Is this the kind of initiative that Ignatieff claims can ONLY happen under Liberals and HIM?

    Oil giants Texas, Alberta team up to develop clean energy solutions

    9/21/2009

    The premier says a new partnership could yield energy technology solutions that aren’t yet even considered.
    Ed Stelmach says Alberta and Texas are combining their expertise in energy and nano-technology to advance work on clean energy development.
    The Memorandum of Understanding encourages collaboration on projects designed to enhance sustainable energy development, lead to development of clean technologies and improve efficiency in renewable energy technolgies.
    The president of Houston’s Rice University says the collaboration has great potenial to benefit North America and the rest of the world with new solutions to energy and related environmental challenges.
    The agreement talks about nano-technology influencing factors from reducing energy inputs during production, reducing water use, ehancing tailings remediation, reducing emissions from coal, improving emissions from solar energy cells and more.
    The deal arises from the premier’s trips to Texas in 2008 and earlier this year.

  • Lorraine

    I think Ignatieff’s researchers should do some homework before he claims that funding to post secondary education went UP under Chretien and DOWN under Harper.

    Paul Martin slashed funding to the provinces by 30% and post sec. ed. was dealt a huge blow. Provinces were strapped trying to pick up the slack and, if you all recall, there were huge picketed demonstrations across the country by students.

    This funding has been restored and expanded under the Conservatives to include all kinds of training not before funded as much such as the vital trades.

    Ditto for research and development.

    So, Ignatieff should be careful when trying to rewrite history as these facts are easily accessed. Just because he was not here when all of this happened does not mean he can invent history to suit his own purposes.

  • Helen

    The following is a comment taken from a blog in a national newspaper.

    His name is Steve from Ottawa…

    “Ignatieff saying Harper is ‘contemptuous of basic Canadian values’ is blatantly ironic since he refused a free Canadian flag from an accredited volunteer at this year’s World’s Junior Hockey Championship held in Ottawa.

    I know, because I was that volunteer.”

  • JMR

    One of the messages we MUST put forward is that with all the broken promises that Harper has done during his tenure we can not TRUST this man not to go back on his word if he should be returned to power. The one I am most afraid of is the pledge to pull our troops out of combat by 2011. DO YOU TRUST this man I don’t. I think that is the message we have to push over and over again TRUST.

  • LMA

    Agreed, it’s time for Ignatieff to start introducing policies and tell Canadians the Liberal alternative. This will help build trust in him as a potential leader. I also thought the latest ad on green jobs was well done except for the backdrop which could have been more dynamic. As for the Cons adopting or attacking the Liberals policies if they are presented too early, presumably these policies, like stimulus spending, would also not be in the “ideological nature” of the Cons. If they do attack Liberal policies, well that is a debate that the Liberals should welcome.

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