TABLE OF CONTENTS Oct 2015 - 0 comments

E.D. and its new definition

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2015-10-01

The medical definition for E.D. is “Erectile Dysfunction,” but during this campaign to elect a new Prime Minister, I think those two letters more appropriately stand for “Electoral Disinterest” because nobody seems too ‘excited’ about the election.

At least that’s the impression I get when talking with the politically minded people I know across the country who are normally quite outspoken when it comes to what goes on in Ottawa.

But, and before I go any further, as much as I’d like to take credit for that “electoral disinterest’ definition I mentioned above,  I must admit that I heard it on an elevator in Vancouver recently, but thought it was clever and perhaps true enough to repeat.

In any event, back to the election and what to me seems like a lackluster campaign that’s been overshadowed by the Toronto Blue Jays, the NFL season, and Donald Trump’s antics that are just warming up.

I must say that from a mining perspective, there hasn’t been much to give this struggling industry much immediate hope for brighter days ahead. In fact, aside from a few token pledges for investments into resource-related projects, little beyond the oil sands have been given a mention.

Even Bank of Canada Governor Stephen Poloz said more about the natural resources sector than the three main party leaders when he told a business audience in Calgary recently that about 20% of Canada’s economy is the resource economy and “That’s very important: it’s our backbone. It’s always been our history, and the rest is in some way dependent on that continuing to perform.”

I know it’s in the best interest of the Bank of Canada for money makers like miners to make more money and again, Poloz supported his position in favour of this by saying, “We’re a highly diversified economy, and we should be thankful that we’ve got resources as a part of our diversification, whereas lots of other countries don’t have that.”

Being “thankful that we’ve got resources” is something that’s often overlooked, and sadly, that appears to be the case during this election because, again, not much is being committed to natural resources, and in particular to mining.

The Opposition leaders have taken aim at Prime Minister Harper for not doing more to diversify the economy but in fairness, what commitments have they promised to directly  help miners?

Millions of dollars are being mentioned for everything from health and education, to pledges for Veteran Affairs’ issues, to astronomical amounts to replace Canada’s aging fleet of CF-18 aircraft with 65 F-35 fighter jets, but nowhere do the words “mining industry” jump out.

Even the Ministry of International Trade’s interest in promoting mining abroad, as it did with its now-defunct Extractive Sector CSR Counsel, is no longer out there working on the industry’s behalf.

And quite honestly, now is when it’s needed more than ever because of the uncertainty from China for international support for technology, as well as trade.

All in all, the opportunities to support the mining sector have been out there for all politicians to run with but unfortunately, not too many have seen the value in it because  promoting natural resource development isn’t as newsworthy as hugging babies and shaking hands with the people who support them anyway.

It’s all about photo opportunities with the converted, and not so much with the real issues that are weakening the backbone of this country.  

Photos

CMJ editor Russell Noble.
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Caption: CMJ editor Russell Noble.

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