Last week, in an apparent moment of heightened consciousness, Margaret Wente of the Globe and Mail scolded corporations for their poor behaviour. This is the same Margaret Wente who frequently rails about unions and the need for their demise. She hasn’t yet made the connection that unions are the last line of defense against greedy corporations and their politician supporters.
Recently, I called for a separation of our government from the interests of corporate Canada. This treacherous relationship blazes the path towards austerity, oppression and income disparity. Let’s face it, corporations exist for one reason and one reason only: to make money for their shareholders.
Wages cost money. Design and innovation cost money. Research and improved technology to increase worker productivity cost money. These are long-term investments which the current business culture has rejected. Why? Because they limit immediate profits.
About a decade ago some corporate spin doctor came up with the notion that “government should be run like a business.”
Really? Like GlaxoSmithKline, the pharmaceutical giant that held back the possible damaging side effects of its diabetes drug? Like Facebook, whose stock prices tanked immediately after their overvalued offering to public markets? Like Barclay’s Bank, recently fined for inter-bank interest rate rigging? Like the infamous Enron, RIM, or Lehman brothers? Or maybe we should look to listeria-plagued Maple Leaf Foods, whose CEO was appointed by the Premier to the province’s new “jobs and prosperity council”?
And what is the right wing’s response? Destroy unions, scale back wages, kill pension funds and invest even more off shore.
Greed, plain and simple, is now destroying the fabric of our province and nation. Capitalism and democracy have proven to be uncomfortable bedfellows, because many of today’s politicians either come from the business sector or are so beholding to corporate Canada that they dare not utter the truth about corporate malfeasance.
When was the last time a politician had a vision to build up rather than tear down; to build consensus rather than crisis and to lead rather than follow? It’s been a while and we are paying for it.
Look around. Our infrastructure is falling apart at the seams. Programs to help the needy are disappearing faster than the polar ice caps. There is no investment in the future, only cuts to the 99 per cent who struggle to make ends meet.
And somehow corporate Canada just rolls on. Owning the communications media is a helpful tool if you intend to brainwash the populace and make them believe that they should blame themselves for their current struggles. After all, we have to do more with less, cut back, be competitive, work hard, play by the rules and all the other jingoism the Tim Hortons crowd has bought into.
Here’s the truth. Corporate Canada is giving us “the business”.
The 2008 financial crash was the biggest manufactured crisis ever. It was a Ponzi scheme that benefited corporations and banks at a cost to current and future generations of Canadians. The result is clear. We’re paying through our tax dollars while we suffering cuts to important public services. We’re paying for it through an infrastructure crippled by a lack of maintenance while we face pension and job cuts.
Enough is enough! It is time to stand up and expose the beast.
Corporations have no business in government. It’s time corporations are run like a union with principles of democracy, transparency and a commitment to the value of human dignity.
Warren (Smokey) Thomas, President