“Dead money.” That’s what Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney this week called the half trillion dollars Canadian corporations have stashed away.
Both Carney (and surprisingly) Finance Minister Jim Flaherty have criticized corporations for stuffing money into mattresses while our economy lays dormant. Both men have said investment in research, technology and innovation could increase Canadian productivity and global competitiveness.
Instead, corporations have concluded that an economy in crisis is one they can best control.
Since the U.S. banking industry set off the 2008 financial crisis, employers have attacked the wages, working conditions and pensions of Ontarians believing that desperate people are easy targets for their neo-conservative economic agenda and self-interest.
A crisis is to conservatism much like dampness is to mould. So our current crisis is invented by those most likely to prosper from it.
Coinciding with the upcoming bi-elections in Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughan, Ontario’s Liberals have fashioned their own crisis. They have terrified parents by hollering that a school work stoppage is about to occur, even though none of the pre-requisites have taken place. Teachers and school boards have not taken legal steps like conciliation, a strike vote and a “No Board Report” from the Ministry of Labour. To the Liberals, none of this matters! Keep hollering ‘crisis’ enough times and eventually people will begin to believe their bluster.
In line with this, OPSEU’s college faculty was hit this week with management’s request for a ‘no board’ report that could lead to a lock-out of our members or an imposed contract. This abrupt action by college management demonstrated it had no intention whatsoever to bargain a fair and just settlement. Instead they chose to create a crisis.
And who profits from this? The bankers. Or should I say bankstas. These are the folks our Premier seems to adore: Moody’s, Goldman Sachs, Don Drummond and Gordon Nixon, head of the Jobs and Prosperity Council.
Wage and benefit cuts for workers translates into billions in corporate tax savings that corporations then salt away with the bankistas. Low wages for working people. Great, that means seven -figure salaries for them. The bankstas promote cutbacks to our pensions. Great, this builds buy-outs and golden parachutes for them.
On Labour Day, Canadian workers gather to celebrate the importance of unions. Organized workers have fought, and always will fight, for of a strong, growing and sustainable middle class. We are the last defense against the interests of corporations and the bankstas.
For right wing pundits who have counted us out, I say watch out. We are rising up to mount a fight they have never before encountered. People everywhere see the problem. They get it. My office has been inundated with calls from workers, the unemployed and even some from business, praising OPSEU’s efforts to expose unfairness in our economy.
We are building a movement together: one person, one group and one community at a time.
That‘s the OPSEU way. We are Ontario’s union. Dead money has no chance against this movement.
I think McGuinty will soon leave the political stage. People are demanding a new kind of political leadership. The bankstas and their cronies hear the same call.
It is a time for justice. It is time for change. Happy Labour Day 2012!
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President