Saturday, November 24, 2007

When in off Quebec

Flaherty throws some money at Quebec's economic problems:

OSHAWA, ONT. -- Quebec offered a port in the storm to its struggling manufacturers yesterday by way of a $620-million provincial aid package to be paid out over five years.

The sector has been on a "brutal" ride due to the Canadian dollar's rapid ascent, and will get $178-million in tax relief along with $442-million for training and other assistance, according to an announcement by Premier Jean Charest.

The measures are designed to help a sector - which has lost more than 70,000 jobs in the last two years - adapt to the higher currency.

By contrast the business community of Oshawa, Ont., one of the heartlands of the country's troubled auto manufacturing sector, received concern but no concrete promises from federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty in a speech there yesterday.

--A much better plan would be setting up a foreign trust fund for oil revenues. This would serve to push down the Loonie so that non-energy sectors of the economy could compete. It would also provide a nice nest egg for when the price of energy products takes a tumble.

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