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My name is James and I am looking for a small number of people in the London, ON area, even just one would do, to help me mount a unique activist campaign for the coming federal election.
After years of study (I am currently finishing up my doctoral thesis on Canadian Politics) I have come to the conclusion that Free Trade/Globalization has been the single biggest factor in the decline in Canada’s standard of living. It has seen probably a million jobs lost overseas, as employers take advantage of lower production costs in Third World countries. Statistics show that Canada lost roughly half a million jobs in manufacturing since about 2000, and though I can’t seem to find any stats on service sector losses, I would estimate them to be another significant sector for offshoring, based on the growth of the Offshoring Consulting firms specializing in connecting businesses with low cost alternatives to Canadian employees in business services and other service sector fields.
Add into that the growth of Foreign Temporary Workers in Canada, which reached another half a million in the last ten years, and you easily have a million jobs lost in some way to Globalization (I see FTWs as the natural response of Canadian employers to globalization, bringing the sweatshop home to roost, so to speak).
Free Trade/Globalization hasn’t just cost us jobs directly in the manufacturing and service sectors, it has also had spillover effects on government revenue, social programs and public sector employment, as well as in secondary services such as retail or restaurants. With less people working and earning decent wages, government income taxes have shrunk. At the same time, the need for government safety nets has increased. Corporate tax rates have been lowered in the vain hope of attracting and keeping investment in Canada to preserve jobs. Even sales taxes have declined as people have less money to spend. One of the key ways that governments have responded to this growing fiscal crisis has been to reduce public sector employment, which of course only adds to the crisis. Finally, less good jobs means people are either cutting back on discretionary spending (vacations, movies, restaurants, etc) or are sustaining their lifestyle via debt, which is fast approaching its limit. So you see a second echo effect as these sectors also reduce their staff. It all makes for a downward spiral in our standard of living.
I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion. I read it in the analyses of prominent leftwing economists and political scientists. I also hear it expressed in Tim Hortons and McDonalds, where working class people go to eat cheap food and sip cheap coffee (I wrote a signficant part of my thesis in these places). “Free Trade really screwed us” they say. Not as detailed as the academic analyses but no less true. These people know because they’ve seen good jobs replaced by minimum wage jobs.
But despite this, I don't think we are likely to see much discussion of Free Trade/Globalization in the upcoming election. I think all the major parties either support Free Trade or are too cowardly to take it on. Not to say that things like Bill C-51, terrorism vs civil liberties or other non-economic issues are not important, but I just don’t think they are as important as jobs to people’s everyday lives. The Conservatives, Liberals and NDP all have basically the exact same strategy when it comes to economic policy and that is tax cuts for businesses. I just don’t see that working, it hasn’t worked for the past twenty years. They seem to think the Canadian middle class is disappearing because it’s taxed too much, or that it needs bigger child bonuses or more education, or some such silly nonsense. It’s because there’s no good jobs anymore and no one can afford a middle class lifestyle.
So my plan is to run a totally off-the-wall, attention grabbing independent campaign to get Free Trade on the national debate, to force parties to talk about it and take a stand on it. I am going to use social media, funny videos and intelligent and sincere arguments to get people, especially young people, to start thinking about Free Trade and why we should reject it. We just need to stop competing with sweatshops, because the only way you can compete with a sweatshop is to become one.
Whew, what a mouthful. Thanks for reading if you made it this far. What I’m looking for is just a small number of people in the London, ON area, where I intend to run, to help me with this. Problem is that working two jobs, raising three kids and completing my doctorate has left me with almost no social life, and few of my friends know much about politics or campaigns or have the time to contribute. I spent most of the last 5 years volunteering in one of the major parties before I became disillusioned with them, so most people I know that have the time and experience are party activists whose partisanship comes before policy analysis.
I need people to help with the campaign and people to appear in skits and videos I have written to educate and agitate the public on Globalization. I’m not running to win. I’ve seen a lot of independent candidates try to imitate the big parties and there’s just no point to that. But I believe an intelligent, honest and creative campaign could get some attention for an issue. And I’m sure it would be a hell of a lot of fun too.
Lastly, I just want to acknowledge a major danger of taking on Globalization and FTWs, which is racism. Simply put, a lot of people see these issues as ‘foreigners taking our jobs’. I intend to confront this myth head on, as I don’t think economic nationalism is inherently racist. This isn’t about protecting white Canadians’ jobs from foreigners, but about protecting jobs for all Canadians regardless of race, religion, language etc. All Canadians need jobs, we need a properly funded government and social programs, we need to know there’s some point in sending our kids to college or university, that they have a shot at a good life, not just scraping by, constantly worried about money.
So if you live in London and this sounds interesting, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
I don’t think I’m alone in this opinion. I read it in the analyses of prominent leftwing economists and political scientists. I also hear it expressed in Tim Hortons and McDonalds, where working class people go to eat cheap food and sip cheap coffee. “Free Trade really screwed us” they say. Not as detailed as the academic analyses but no less true. These people know because they’ve seen good jobs replaced by minimum wage jobs.