Saturday, June 02, 2012

Abstract Thinking

This week, the Harper government  legislated Canadian Pacific workers back to their jobs, claiming it was "protecting the economy." It used the same argument to justify its back to work legislation at Canada Post and Air Canada. But, Tom Walkom writes this morning,  General Motors' announcement yesterday that it will shut down one of its Oshawa assembly plants reveals the Harper claim for what it is -- a lie:

When Stephen Harper’s Conservatives talk about protecting the economy, they are speaking of an abstraction.

They override the right to strike of rail and airline workers in order to further this abstraction. They run roughshod over the environment in its name.

But the real economy is not an abstraction. It is people’s jobs and wages. It is our livelihood. It is how we get by.
And this real economy is not doing well.

The fact is that the real economy is slumping all over the world:

Worldwide, the real economy of jobs and wages is in deep trouble. Europe’s ham-fisted handling of the eurozone debt crisis has thrown millions out of work in Spain, Portugal, Ireland, Italy and Greece. Britain’s ill-advised government austerity scheme has thrown more out of work there.

Faced with slowing growth and consequent job losses, China is engaged once again in a game of currency devaluation, in a bid to boost its exports.

These events in far-away places have ricochet effects around the world. On Friday, the U.S. announced that its already too-high unemployment rate has started to inch up again.

The prime minister has been leading the austerity charge at home and abroad. GM's announcement is just another example of the wages of austerity. Stephen Harper is not concerned about the wages of ordinary working folks. In fact, he's doing all he can to lower them -- because the concept of wages, like the economy, is an abstraction.


The Mound of Sound said...

The right of collective bargaining is enshrined in article 23(4) of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights which came into effect in 1948. Collective bargaining cannot exist without the right to strike. Harper's persistent refusal to permit the strike option constitutes a genuine human rights violation.

Owen Gray said...

Harper is on record, Mound, for his claim that Human Rights Commissions are a threat to individual liberty.

It's no wonder that, at the U.N., Canada has no credibility.

Gloria said...

Canada is being shunned because of Harper. Yes, the U.N. did refuse Harper a seat. The New Trans Pacific Trade Group, also don't want Harper. At every meeting of Nations, Harper is the trouble maker every time. He manages to insult and anger every country present, at Durban, Davos and Copenhagen. Harper has the gall, to Lord it over other country's. Harper doesn't think they don't know, he started our with a $13 billion dollar surplus. It wasn't Harper's good management, that saved Canada in the recession. That's for damned sure.

Harper is the worst P.M. in Canadian history. He is the worst P.M. for financially managing our tax dollars. He has wasted utterly billions, on the most stupid ventures ever seen in this country. Billions given to the wealthiest corporations in the world, Harper and his Conservatives theft and waste for their own luxury. Did Harper really need, a $1 billion dollar fake lake? The F-35 jet, nightmare costs.

The one and only danger to our Civil Rights and Liberties and our Democracy is Harper. Other country's media, have even written on it. Other country's don't like Harper, any more than we do.

Owen Gray said...

I don't think we should kid ourselves about Stephen Harper's international status.

He's tolerated, because Canada is a member of the G8. But we have fallen a long way since Lester Pearson's time on the international stage.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

The austerity approach is such a failure even some of its proponents are muttering "stimulus". I notices Obama used that bad word the other day. Perhaps, the election of Hollande in France and the possible election of the left in Greece has made some people take notice and think they should do something different before they lose total control.

Owen Gray said...

The ground is shifting under the feet of the European leaders, Philip. I wonder if Stephen Harper is paying attention.

Tossing Pebbles in the Stream said...

Here is an article on you favourite economist