Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Toronto's Star's Thomas Walkom, Stupid Or Ignorant?

because it's got to be one of those two choices. Fresh on the heels of PM Stephen Harper's interview with Peter Mansbridge, where the PM was truthful about the realities Canada might face due to the European debt crisis, Walkom writes another predictable Torono Star editorial, trying to portray the PM as uncaring. Here's a sample:

 "Prime Minister Stephen Harper is warning Canadians to prepare for another rough ride — this time with little help from his government.

He says he is pessimistic about Europe’s ability to solve its twin debt and unemployment crises.

He says that if these crises are not solved before the Greek election, less than two weeks from now, Europe’s financial system will begin to unravel.

He says that if and when that happens, Canada’s banks — and Canadians in general — must feel the pain.

And he suggests that this time around, his government won’t respond with another stimulus package to boost jobs.

Instead, Ottawa will forge ahead with its current strategy of deregulation and wage reduction, a strategy aimed at reducing costs for business.

That’s the gist of Harper’s remarkably frank interview Tuesday with CBC Television’s Peter Mansbridge.

 Now I myself watched the entire interview. I doubt Walkom did. The PM was clear that the government had a contingency plan in place should the European crisis spread to Canada and it's economy. Whatever the reason, it appears Walkom was either too ignorant or lazy to actually verify his facts before printing such a trash piece of journalism. You see, it was just Monday of this week, less than 48 hours before this journalist(?) wrote this, where finance minister Jim Flaherty himself told the media this:

"Flaherty not ruling out possibility of more economic stimulus
Published Monday, Jun. 04, 2012 09:28AM EDT

Last updated Monday, Jun. 04, 2012 04:43PM EDT

Finance Minister Jim Flaherty says he is very concerned about the deteriorating situation in Europe and will intervene with economic stimulus if it becomes necessary.

The minister told reporters in Toronto that the government is in a strong position to act as it did in 2009 to stimulate the Canadian economy because it has relatively small debt and a shrinking deficit.

Mr. Flaherty says he will discuss the worsening economic climate with his Group of Seven colleagues Tuesday morning, but made it clear he considers the situation serious.
Global markets have fallen sharply in the past few days as news coming out of Europe worsened, with Spain joining Greece on the crisis watch list.

On Monday, Portugal’s finance minister said foreign bailout creditors were providing another batch of the country’s $96-billion (U.S.) rescue package after concluding the government is abiding by the terms of the loan.
Mr. Flaherty says Canada would be hurt by a financial crisis spreading out of Europe or a downturn in the U.S. economy"

 Now given the fact Flaherty's remarks were put out across Canada by The Canadian Press, I struggle believing Walkom was unaware of the government's position via Flaherty or PM Harper. At the least, The Star should immediately issue a correction, stating in fact the PM and his Conservative government do in fact have a plan to help Canadians should the euro crisis cause damage to the Canadian economy.

 The Star and Walkom's credibility depend on it. On second thought, never mind.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Canada Post Issues Recall Of Dalton McGuinty Postage Stamp

after receiving numerous complaints. Canada Post was unsure of why there were so many complaints of the just-released McGuinty stamp, as they had never received similar complaints of any other stamp release in their history. After issuing a recall for the remaining unsold stamps, it was discovered that customers were actually spitting on the wrong side of the stamp.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

iPolitics Writer Doesn't Know Electoral Boundaries?

Absolutely brilliant. iPolitics columnist Eric Beauchesne tries to backup Mulclair's "Dutch Disease" comments, and makes an ass of himself:

"Canada’s economy may be suffering from so-called Dutch disease. The claims of a resource-fuelled rise in the currency that is hollowing out its manufacturing sector was reinforced this week by reports of a plan by General Motors to shut down an assembly plant in Finance minister Jim Flaherty’s own riding"

Now one would think someone writing something for iPolitics would actually have a clue that the GM plants are in Conservative MP Colin Carrie's riding of Oshawa, not Flaherty's riding of Whitby-Oshawa. And I could easily point out the other glaring errors in this editorial. The easiest being those vehicles now being built in the Oshawa plant will continue to be built in the U.S. The fact is this move by GM has nothing to do with a slowing economy. GM and the other manufacturers  have plans to further ramp up production numbers. Nor does the plant closing have anything to do with the high Canadian dollar.

 The reason 2,000 GM workers will be out of a job in one year is because the CAW, led by Ken Lewenza, refuses to accept the reality of today's global workforce and economy. Whereas the UAW has foregone wage increases in exchange for profit sharing and performance bonuses, Lewenza's strategy of playing hardball with companies like GM looking to cut costs will continue to result in Groundhog Days, with plant closings and further job losses becoming recurring news.

 It's also notable the author never sees fit to mention the number one reason for "eurosclerosis" as he calls it. That would be the debt crisis of countries like Greece and Italy, countries that have have hit their fiscal Armageddon due to socialist spending policies, the same ones Mulclair promotes.

  If Mr. Beauchesne disputes the facts of the riding boundaries, I would be more than happy to forward them along.

Friday, June 1, 2012

CAW Head Ken Lewenza Should Resign

It's becoming all to common, so much so that even someone like myself is becoming immune to these types of news stories. I'm talking about GM's announcement today:

 “As previously announced, the Consolidated Line will cease at the end of (the) scheduled lifecycle for the current-generation Impala. This is currently anticipated to occur in June 2013,” the company said in a statement Friday.'

Now I'll readily admit the greed shown by corporations and their executives is to the point of making me gag. But in this instance, as in other recent announcements, the blame for this closing, with the resulting job losses of 2,000 GM employees,as well as spin-off jobs should be placed squarely on the shoulders of CAW head Ken Lewenza. It's 2012, yet Lewenza still thinks he's bargaining in the 60's. There have been closings over the past few years where Lewenza and the CAW National refused to allow concessions even when the workers losing their jobs, the ones getting thrown out of work, were open to the idea of concessions if it allowed them to maintain jobs they had been working at for many years.

 Were these GM assembly line jobs going to a country like China, where Canadian workers cannot competitively stand a chance of matching wages, I can see the workers accepting their fate. But these jobs, quality jobs with good pay and benefits, aren't going overseas. Their going south of the border. The reason? Lewenza's steadfast stance that the CAW will not change it's bargaining position in regards to bonuses instead of wage increases.

"Last year, the CAW’s counterpart in the U.S., the United Auto Workers agreed to link pay raises to company performance. Instead of fixed wage increases, the union accepted signing bonuses and profit-sharing incentives, concessions the CAW has unequivocally rejected."

Make no mistake. The gap between the wages paid these workers in the U.S. compares closely with those paid to the Oshawa workers. What has resulted in this announcement is Lewenza's pig-headed refusal to look at the big picture, or more importantly doing what's in the best interests of those line workers. Instead, Lewenza clings to a by-gone era where the unions ruled the roost. His position also ignores recent history. When GM and Chrysler faced bankruptcy, the union had not one iota of bargaining power. Zippo. Nilch. Yes, both GM and Chrysler have posted profits recently, They also lost billions that will take a decade to recover. Allowing these companies further time to recover will result in new vehicles that will require assembly plants and workers to build. Companies are still pinching pennies on R&D. A successful company will have successful workers.

 This alludes to the title of my post. If Lewenza truly believes he is right, call a meeting of those 2,000 workers. Allow an open vote as to whether the CAW should change it's bargaining strategy and adopt performance and profit-sharing bonuses. If they vote for change, Lewenza must accept the will of the workers, workers belonging to a union supposedly based on the concept of democracy.

 If Lewenza refuses the results of the vote, or simply refuses to allow a vote, then he should immediately submit his resignation. We've witnessed the closing of the Oshawa truck plant because the CAW refused to bargain two-tier wages. Those trucks are now built in the U.S. and Mexico. We've witnessed the London plant close that made locomotives. Yes, Caterpillar asked for ridiculous concessions, but Lewenza sealed the workers fate with his steadfast refusal to even make a counter-offer. Lewenza has strongly hinted he will continue down this road in this years negotiations, with either the Chrysler Brampton or Windsor assembly plants likely to be another closure target. Chrysler has a vacant mini-van plant in St. Louis that could be manufacturing Caravan's in  mater of days.