Here is a very hard-line piece from David Olive today in the Star about what the Canadian government should do about Caterpillar – a tone I’m not used to seeing Olive, the Star’s business columnist, come out and write in his pieces, so he’s obviously ticked off:
We could nationalize EMD, for which there is abundant precedent across the continent. America’s third-largest bank, biggest insurer and dominant home-mortgage guarantors are now wards of the state. Short of nationalization, Ottawa could impose prohibitive tariffs on all Cat products. That might eventually bring Athabasca tarsands production, heavily reliant on Caterpillar equipment, to a halt. Which would be a useful topic of discussion between Barack Obama and Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman, since Athabasca is America’s largest source of imported oil. Yes, the tariffs could be contested as an alleged violation of World Trade Organization rules. But then, it’s Cat alone that has consistently acted in bad faith.
Caterpillar likes to play hardball. So let’s play hardball.
You can be almost guaranteed the Harper government won’t touch nationalization with a 60 foot pole. How about the others? I’m not inclined to think Harper and company will do a darn thing. They’re too busy trying to kiss and make up with China, who they’ve alienated for several years now, and only because they’re trying to find a new market for their tarsands oil. Meanwhile, Caterpillar is raiding Canadian intellectual property and patents made by a former Canadian company and whisking them away, (as others have done before) throwing our folks out of work in the process, while this government does nothing – particularly galling in this case because Harper was in this plant in 2008 waving his corporate tax cut for the company around bragging about how it would be good for business in Canada and for London Ontario.
The only thing Caterpillar used that for apparently, was to add to their tally sheet of their billions made in profits, and made our government look like suckers in the process. You can bet that they will be too ideologically bound to their economic philosophy to care. I’d not be surprised to see them say that Canada needs similar “right to work” legislation up here in order to compete with Indiana and other states.