And why should you worry about a bunch of union people? Is anyone looking after your interests? The German people did not seem to care before the Second World War but a pastor, Martin Niemöller, wrote, after the Allies released him from imprisonment in Dachau: “Then they came for me and there was no one left to speak out for me.”
And that is the most basic reason why Canadians have to speak out about incidents such as the Caterpillar scam in London, Ontario and the Rob Ford attack on city unions in Toronto. These should be a matter of deep concern to everybody.
The General Motors diesel engine works in London, Ontario were acquired by American venture capital firms in a fire sale when GM was on the ropes. The Canadian government gave the new company a $5 million incentive to keep Canadians working at the London works just five years ago. Today, owned by the giant Caterpillar Inc., with US$42 billion in annual sales, the plant is being moved to Indiana where the state government has passed ‘Right to Work’ laws and Caterpillar can pay a barely living wage.
The Rob Ford Versus the Unions scenario is a little different. The city of Toronto can hardly move city jobs to a less union-friendly environment. They have to create one. And they are hardly talking about a small adjustment to keep city taxes down. When was the last time you had someone say to you:”Just give up all your rights and we will look after you”?
If you think that is a good deal, you better settle in for a long strike and some very smelly garbage—in half the city—as the weather warms up. Just by prolonging the strike for two months with the savings in salaries, Ford will have reduced city expenses to his budget.
Torontonians are in trouble. If they let Ford win against the city workers, they had better wonder who is next. We will believe that this fiasco is over when we see Rob Ford wearing a button saying: “Have you hugged a union member today?”
The London Caterpillar situation is far more serious. This is not just giving the finger to trade unionists but is also saying ‘screw you’ to the Canadian government. Maybe Prime Minister Stephen Harper could care less but Dalton McGuinty and that bunch of Whig wusses at Queen’s Park had bloody well better do something.
If nothing else, McGuinty could wear the crown a little easier if he sat down with Andrea Horwath, Leader of the Ontario New Democrats. Mrs. Horwath has a vested interest in aiding the unionists in London. Deb Matthews, one of Dalton’s key Cabinet colleagues, has a legislative seat at risk if there is no support for London area jobs.
Just think. Premier McGuinty could have a win-win situation, if he just got off his ass.
Copyright 2012 © Peter Lowry
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