Saturday, May 31, 2014

Requiem for the factory hands

In today's Globe and Mail Adam Radwanski offers a sympathetic treatment of the plight of southern Ontario's once-thriving working class.

Radwanski's lament goes on for many thousands of words. He interviews numerous academics, union officials, as well as the de-industrialized working class who struggle to survive on minimum wage jobs after their factories have been shuttered.

He even offers a passing hint that many of those jobs may have ended up in Mexico.

But what is truly amazing is that he manages this entire in-depth analysis of Ontario's manufacturing collapse without a single mention of NAFTA.

I remember Brian Mulroney campaigning on the JOBS JOBS JOBS NAFTA NAFTA NAFTA!!! platform back in the middle '80s. It was an obvious crock of BS from the get-go. It was a pitch geared to appeal to our inherent racist belief that the brown folks south of the Rio Grande were not up to building stuff in an industrial economy.

No one knew the truth better than the factory worker's themselves; working on an assembly line at Ford or Chrysler ain't rocket science, and Mexicans will be happy to do our work for a small fraction of our hourly wage.

We knew from the beginning we were doomed.

Thirty years later the national newspaper of record waxes nostalgic for a bygone era, but completely ignores the single most important reason why southern Ontario went from industrial heart-land to rust belt.

That's intellectual dishonesty of the highest order.

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