Saturday, April 13, 2013

The Lessons RBC Should Teach Us

It's my bet that, when historians look back at this decade, they will point to the temporary workers debacle as the incident which hastened Stephen Harper's exit. They will note that what happened last week crystallized something for Canadians -- the realization that Stephen Harper wasn't working for them.

Not that temporary workers don't have their advantages. But last week clarified who, exactly, were the advantaged. Michael Harris writes that the government program is:

certainly a good thing for multinational corporations, a term Prime Minister Harper often confuses with the Canadian economy. They get cheap labour, malleable governments and a regulatory environment that is simpler than a Hells Angel’s tax return. In the United States, they also get jaw-dropping tax benefits from moving their physical assets, production and jobs overseas.

It's about more than shipping jobs overseas. It's about not paying taxes:

The principle benefit is the ability to ‘defer’ taxes on profits made offshore indefinitely. Once those profits are booked outside the country, they often find their way into tax havens in places like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. As for the taxes the multinationals actually pay offshore, they are 33 per cent less than if they would have been if paid in the United States, according to a 2008 study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

And, as the CBC has reported, there is a lot of money sitting in places like the Cayman Islands and the British Virgin Islands. The oligarchs sit on that money and -- contrary to the conventional wisdom -- they don't create jobs:

As for job creation being funded by offshore profits — it just doesn’t happen, here or in the U.S. Between 1998 and 2008, U.S. multinationals shed 1.9 million American jobs and added 2.4 million in the offshore. According to StatsCan, a quarter of a million jobs have been lost in Ontario’s manufacturing sector in the decade since 2002. Offshoring is part of the reason. Its actual effect is not just to get rid of jobs and benefits in costly jurisdictions: It also reduces real wages in the ones that are left.

Then the mantra becomes "we can't afford it" -- it being Medicare, or the Canada Pension Plan or Old Age Security.

Canadians have begun to figure out that Stephen Harper works for multinational corporations -- and that the voters who put him in office are expendable.


Lorne said...

The criticisms that your post links to, Owen, offer a sharp contrast to the cheer-leading being done at the Globe and Mail for outsourcing. As Alison at Creekside noted in her post today, Amanda Lang, who is being paid as a speaker at an outsourcing conference sponsored by IGate on April 23, wrote an enthusiastic endorsement of the practice; in another Globe article, Doug Saunders laments the fact that foreign workers can find no easy path to citizenship in our country, and suggests that xenophobia is at the heart of opposition to outsourcing.

Owen Gray said...

I read Alison's post, Lorne, and noted who was paying her stipend. And that's the point.

There are a number of journalists who are on corporatism's payroll. These days public opinion is bought and paid for.

Anonymous said...

What about Harper permitting China onto our Canadian soil, at the tar sands? China refused to pay Canadian wages. Harper permitted China, to bring their $800 per month resource workers with them. All companies want cheap foreign labor.

Harper's Omnibus Bill allows China to sue any Canadians, blocking China's invasion into Canada. Therefore, China sued in BC, to take the BC mine jobs. Chinese miners also earn, $800 per month. 300 BC miners applied for the 200 BC mine jobs, Harper gave to China. Rumor has it? There are 2000 more, Chinese miners on their way.

There are to be nine mines and mine expansions, going into Northern BC. Who will Harper give those jobs to.

Harper is planning China, in the rich resources of the High Arctic. Who will get those jobs?

Prince Rupert Port was expanded for, the huge freighters from China. In Ashcroft BC, the C.N. yard was expanded. This is to store the junk, from China. The junk will be sorted there until, it goes on it's way, to where ever? The other trains, will highball past Ashcroft.

That Prince Rupert was expanded for, the cruise vacation ships would stop at Prince Rupert Port? I will ask, how many cruise ships, have stopped there?

Owen Gray said...

It's been pretty clear for awhile now, Anon, that Stephen Harper has no interest in the lives of workers, foreign or domestic.

He simply wants to cut wages -- because that will improve the corporate bottom line.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous said...

A message to Canadian Employers who insist on using Temporary Foreign Workers:

If I know that your business is using them I will boycott you and tell the world about it. I will spend my money elsewhere and tell others to do the same. Hire and train Canadians and legal immigrants first.

Owen Gray said...

It's all about increasing profits, Anon. The best way to send a message is to hit them in their profits.

Owen Gray said...

Thanks for the link, Anon. Perhaps it will generate some action.