Editorial: October 20

Canadian Business Journal October 2020

November 3, 2020: it is a date that has the potential of being one of the most significant in U.S. history. Americans will decide the political direction of their country over the next four years. Regardless of whether Donald Trump is reelected as president or if Joe Biden takes the victory it is evident there will continue to be warring factions in a nation that now legitimately seems to be on the brink of a 21st Century civil war. There is no middle ground. It’s very poignantly the left vs. right and it leaves very little room for sane negotiation. Canadians, like citizens from many other countries, will be watching closely as the election will have widespread international implications.

Ford Canada will build electric cars at its Oakville, Ontario plant beginning in 2024. A deal was struck thanks largely to a commitment by the federal and Ontario provincial governments to inject $500 million as the plant transitions from conventional assembly lines to those that will support the development of electric vehicles. Ford has agreed to commit to $2 billion in electric vehicle contracts. It will also result in work for the Windsor plant. Unifor union president Jerry Dias says the agreement means 3,000 Ford workers will be able to continue working and retire with a pension from Ford. The company’s head office in Detroit had already committed to spending $11 billion to develop and manufacture electric vehicles, but until this deal, the funding was entirely earmarked for American and Mexican plants.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s minority Liberal government survived a confidence vote of its throne speech, thanks to support from Jagmeet Singh and the New Democrats. The speech was approved by a vote of 177-152 in the House of Commons. The NDP promised to prop up the government on the proviso they were given certain tweaked pieces of legislation to better suit their desires. And therein is the main problem with a minority government – it essentially gets blackmailed. The government must provide the supporting party what it wants, or it is election time. The NDP finished a distant third in the last federal election and yet it’s the party that largely determines what gets passed into law.

John Turner’s time as prime minister was one of the briefest in Canadian history but for those who followed politics they will tell you that he was an incredibly astute man who had the skills to have been one of the greatest leaders of all-time. But it was bad timing that largely torpedoed Turner’s prime ministerial legacy. He was hurriedly thrown into the position as Liberal leader when Pierre Trudeau abruptly resigned just two months before the 1984 federal election, with the latter opting not to stick around for the inevitable humiliation of losing to Brian Mulroney and the Conservatives. In a more favorable situation, Turner could have been an outstanding leader. He was named a companion of the Order of Canada in 1994. Turner died on September 19 at the age of 91.

Angus Gillespie
angus@cbj.ca
@CanBizJournal

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