Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Our Race to the Bottom

Rarely have I read a more accurate and succinct chronicle of what the last few decades have done to the people of this country. Enjoy, compliments of The Toronto Star:

Re: Credit cards main cause of high debt, Jan. 27

Growing up in Ontario in the 1960s I remember a good many of my friends’ fathers worked in the local steel mill. It was a typical job an immigrant would occupy — unionized, with a pension plan, health benefits, a decent wage that allowed the family to own a modest home, put food on the table, own a car, and even take a vacation once a year, or have a fishing boat in the driveway.

By the time the kids were grown, the house was paid off, and the parents were able to help the kids go to university or college. That lifestyle no longer exists for most people. Slowly, so that no one really noticed what was happening, over time the take home pay was not quite keeping up with the cost of things. For instance, 10 years after I bought my first car the equivalent car cost $10,000 more. My pay, which would have been considered a good middle-income wage, did not go up $10,000 in that same period.

So, to maintain a standard of life that their parents enjoyed, which they quite reasonably expected, people had to go into debt. People charged purchases to credit cards, big ticket items at first, but gradually it became necessary to use credit to buy essentials like groceries. People took on lines of credit from their bank, putting themselves into a perpetual state of indebtedness. The people lending the money got richer, the shareholders and executives of corporations got richer as the money they saved in wages went into their pockets instead.

The fatal blow to middle income came with globalization, when industry moved en masse to the Third World to exploit cheap labour. Ontario was hit hard as a good part of the economy used to be based on the production of goods. And now, you have a race to see who can offer the lowest wage. Many U.S. states have declared themselves “right to work” states, so that unions can be bypassed, and the desperate unemployed will work for ever lower wages. In Ontario, the governement waged war against unionized teachers. So, hard working Canadians, the ones lucky enough to have a steady job, have to either carry excessive debt, or do without.

And all of the money that was given back to corporations and the rich, as an incentive to invest back into the Canadian economy, turned out to be a nice bonus to the executives and shareholders, and it seems, the only inducement to operating in Canada, is a wage structure competitive to the Third World.

Sylvia Castellani, Bradford


  1. Harper wants Canadians as, living in a third world country. Harper and the wealthy are stuffing their coffers full.

    Harper is giving Canada to Communist China. China refuses to pay Canadian wages. China's minimum wage is, $236 per month. Harper has permitted China to bring over, their own cheap labor. All company's are permitted to hire cheap labor. Harper's Omnibull Bill, permits China to sue any Canadians getting in China's way. China sued in BC, to take the mining jobs.

    Harper is planning for China in the rich resources in the High Arctic. China has Nexen too. Canadians rights have been taken away from us. This country will literally be, an occupied country.

    Harper does give billions of our tax dollars to, corrupt greedy banks, mines, large corporations and his favorite charity, big oil. He also gives them, huge tax reductions. Every time giant corporations line up at the trough, and squeal for more money? Harper gives them another tax reduction. That stops their squealing, for a few minutes anyway.

    The best thing for provinces, who don't want to be given to Communist China, should get out of Harper's Canada. This country isn't Canada anymore anyhow.

  2. Harper certainly has been working to reshape the face of Canada, meadowlark, and until more Canadians say Enough!, I fear his agenda will continue unchecked.