Saturday, October 19, 2013

Hack Pundit of the Week: Jeffrey Simpson

Jeffrey Simpson is so knowledgeable, he doesn't need to think
Leave it to the senior senile sages of Globe and Mail to cough up columns that exist only in the fantasies of the author's feeble faculties. When Margaret Wente isn't blaming women for their own kidnappings and rapes, it is to you, Jeffrey Simpson, that from failing hands we throw the torch of uninformed journalism. Be yours to incinerate whatever reputation we had remaining.

In Saturday's column, economic columnist and Ottawa Senators irate superfan Jeffrey Simpson decried the NDP's "knee-jerk opposition to free trade". He takes the NDP to task in no uncertain terms:
But because the NDP fundamentally doesn’t like free trade, and because it unexpectedly won a bunch of seats in rural Quebec in the most recent election, the party will die on the free-trade hill to fight for continued and unaltered protection for dairy farmers. No thought will apparently be given to the food-processing industry (some of which is unionized), which dislikes supply management because it drives up important input costs for its products. 
Nor will the NDP think of consumers, especially low-income ones, who spend more of their income on food and are hit with unnecessarily higher prices for basic commodities, including dairy products. Nor will the NDP applaud greater market access for Canadian beef and pork to the EU market, because it has no seats in rural Western Canada. 
This automatic opposition to free trade goes way back in the NDP and runs very deep. It bespeaks a philosophical distrust of free-market economics and globalized trade, and a desire to see trade “managed” by governments. It also reflects a strong dislike of anything fettering government’s ability to interfere in markets.
That's quite the condemnation! The NDP is a slave to Quebec rural interests; it cares little for low-income Canadians' high cost for food; it's indifferent to the well-being of Western Canadian beef producers. It all stems from an ingrained desire to pull the strings of the economy for the nefarious motives outlined above.

The only problem with this column is that none of this is true. Not a word. Not a jot.

This screed against the NDP is based on Jeffrey Simpson's gut rather than facts. The opposition parties have not spoken for or against Comprehensive Economic Trade Agreement (CETA) because no one knows its details. The official statement by the NDP, released the day before Simpson's column, makes it clear that every single assertion by the hack columnist is false.

In fact, they welcome a closer economic relation with Europe but until the details are known, they reserve their judgement until the facts are laid out in public.

So Jeffrey Simpson simply makes up the content of his column based on the fancy of his feelings. After all, going to the official NDP website and looking up "statements" is really hard work, you guys!

So congratulations Jeffrey Simpson for not letting the facts get in the way of your column. You uphold the Globe and Mail's sterling reputation which includes: plagiarism, racism and lack of research, with such aplomb that scores of Canadians will surely be throwing away $20 a month now for a digital subscription to the newspaper.

The Globe and Mail commentary section: where irresponsible journalists go to die. 


  1. Agree 100%. Like most "small-c" conservatives, Simpson has a hatred on for NDP bordering on rabid. Every few months he writes a hatchet job against the party. He doesn't need facts, his goal is to incite hatred against the party.

    Simpson writes, "The world has changed; the global economy has changed; the rules of world trade have changed. But the NDP has not." Yet the reality is that 30 years of free-market reforms have created towering levels of inequality and debt (public and private,) downsized and outsourced jobs, hollowed out the middle class and culminated in a global economic meltdown.

    If the NDP represent centrist Keynesian economics, which created modern living standards in the post-war era, I'm all for them.

    As for the right-wing neo-liberal economics Simpson espouses, the fact is they have been a colossal failure. We need evidence-based economic policy to turn things around. Free-market ideology fails to get results in the real world and that includes free trade.

    As I show in my blog "Democratic Voting Canada: Free trade ideology is much ado about nothing" GDP growth in Canada during the 24 years preceding the 1988 FTA was twice the growth in the 24 years that came after. Canadians did not get any net benefit from free trade. We lost out, big time.

  2. hi Michel....good one. I also thought Simpson's diatribe was extremely unfair, to the point of being bizarre. Especially since we don't know the details, we have no idea how much the drug patent extension will cost the provinces, and the promise to compensate them is vague in the extreme. But that's Con Canada, where the media and so many Canadians still don't get it...

  3. @Ron - Agreed. As Ralph Nader remarked, if NAFTA was free trade, it would be a one page document. Reality is more complicated then that as smaller population countries like Canada can have their vital industries pushed out. It's about fair trade. At the end of the day, we have to make sure that these deals are in the best interest of Canadians.

    @Simon - Exactly. With no details, anyone championing or demonizing this deal is basing it on things we "heard" from the Con spin machine. We need to know the facts.

  4. I remember when NAFTA was being sold to Canadians that it would be so good for citizens that we would have more money to fund more social programs than ever before. Oh and those businesses who would negatively effected by the trade deal would be financially compensated.
    After the deal signed (by Mulroney Cons) and not abrogated later (as promised by Chretien leading up to the majority Liberal win in 1993) it has lead to less and not more social programs and no company was compensated for losses. So it's good to stick to the "facts" and wait to see the deal and see if it is in fact a "fair" deal.
    Simpson must have forgotten in his rant that in the election of 1988 that Turner led Liberals campaigned against the deal. But don't let the facts get in the way of a good rant and smear job.