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“I am a Canadian, free to speak without fear, free to worship in my own way, free to stand for what I think right, free to oppose what I believe wrong, or free to choose those who shall govern my country. This heritage of freedom I pledge to uphold for myself and all mankind.” ~~ John G. Diefenbaker

JOHN FELDSTED – It’s not fair, but it is business as usual for federal investments in Ontario and Quebec

The federal and Ontario governments have convinced manufacturing giant 3M to start making N95 respirator masks at its plant in Brockville, Ont., a move that will give Canada a domestic supply of critical personal protective equipment, CBC News has learned.

The two levels of government and the company will evenly split a financial investment of at least $70-million to boost production capacity at the existing 3M facility in Brockville, with a goal of producing masks by 2021. Both levels of government have also agreed to long-term agreements to buy masks from the company.

Federal and provincial sources tell CBC News the official announcement will be made Friday afternoon by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Ontario Premier Doug Ford in Brockville.

 

Wow! Talk about chutzpah!

I wondered about this when I saw the Doug Ford / Justin Trudeau love in on CTV news. It is a classic example of politicians putting lipstick on a pig. 3M already has a plant in Brockville. The Ford and Trudeau governments have each agreed put up $35 million to boost plant capacity to make N95 face masks in Canada.

Ontario and Canada will each receive 25 million masks each year for the next five years. That is 125 million mask each. That means each government is paying $0.28 per mask up front – before any masks are even made, let alone delivered.

As with most of these press releases, the figures are fuzzy.

The CBC states the investment is $70 million split 2 ways. Then it goes on to talk about a $23.3 million investment by each government which is really a down payment on the deal. Why can’t they just be honest?

This is not a “domestic supply”.

The plant may be located in Canada, but the company is American owned. If you wonder why I find that unsettling, you have forgotten that Caterpillar, another US-owned corporation closed its London, Ontario plant in 2012 to cut production costs.

Ontario at least gets some jobs out of the deal, and thanks to Trudeau, the rest of us get to share in the costs. That is not fair -- but it is business as usual for federal investments in Ontario and Quebec.

We now have two foreign-owned face mask plants under construction, one on Quebec, the other in Ontario.

Yes, I know Medicom is a multinational owned by a Montreal-based holding company – that had closed its Canadian plant. With plants all over the world Medicom is not domestic.

Neither the Premier or the Prime Minister seem to have the foggiest notion of what a domestic manufacturer is, which should scare the heck out of you. They are juniors in the major leagues.

John Feldsted ... is a political commentator, consultant, and strategist. He makes his home in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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