Tuesday, September 6, 2005

If you really want to line up at the pumps…

The London Free Press publishes a CP story on a make-work Leger Marketing telephone poll that suggests almost half of Canadians would like to see petroleum resources and oil companies nationalized. The article is titled Poll reflects fuel-price frustrations — the editors are too patronizing to call it Poll reflects widespread economic ignorance and moral apathy. And petroleum resources are already effectively nationalized, provincially.

In the Leger poll, which was provided to CP, 49 per cent of respondents wanted petroleum resources nationalized while 43 per cent said they would like to see the same fate for oil companies.

Quebecers were the strongest supporters of resource nationalization at 67 per cent, followed by residents of the Atlantic provinces at 53 per cent, Ontarians at 45 per cent and British Columbia at 42 per cent. Forty per cent of respondents on the Prairies and 36 per cent of Albertans were in favour. Among those opposed, Albertans led the way at 49 per cent followed by British Columbians at 39 per cent.

Quebec led in support for nationalization of oil companies, with 61 per cent in favour, followed by the Atlantic provinces (46 per cent). Alberta was most opposed at 59 per cent, followed by the Prairies (49 per cent), B.C. 46 per cent and Ontario, 41 per cent.
Minority of One is rightly sceptical about the accuracy of this poll. Even in Canada, fervent communist sympathies and NEP-era nostalgia do not run that strong. The poll seems to act as a gentle reminder to Canadians that their partiality towards private property is humoured by the capricious sufferance of what a government could whimsically expropriate as majority rule.

It never hurts to give Gods of the Copybook Headings the last word:
Nationalizing the Canadian oil industry, as Trudeau attempted to do by stealth with Petro-Canada and the NEP, will destroy the industry and provoke a rebellion the likes of which has never been seen in this nation's history. It wouldn't come to pass though. There is no one with any knowledge of recent economic history, and an IQ above room temperature, who believes that such a plan would work. Yes, even a Liberal. Even Dalton of the Light Brown Hair, during the 2003 election, shot down the idea of nationalizing the auto insurance industry on the ground that it would lead to a bureaucratic nightmare. When Ontario politics' answer to Norman Bates gets it then we can be fairly sure that Panicky Paul gets it too. Some of the more left-wing Grits might flap their gums about taking over the oil patch but at the end of the day it will only be talk. Remember, Liberals are experts at making the right noises and doing, as WLMK taught them, nothing by halves that can be done by quarters, and nothing by quarters than can be avoided completely.