- Harald Bauder comments on the Cons' continued efforts to provoke a race to the bottom when it comes to wages:
(B)oth the planned EI reforms and the temporary foreign workers program are part of a wider strategy of lowering the bar on minimal working conditions. Both policies seek to add a segment to the bottom of the labour market, below normal wage and labour standards.
In fact, the foreign workers program has been very effective in establishing wage and labour standards below those of what Canadians would accept. This program has established a double standard, according to which foreign workers are more vulnerable and exploitable than Canadian workers.
Now Finley asks Canadians to lower their standards to the same level. Canadians who are unwilling to accept the same working conditions kept artificially low by the foreign workers program will lose their EI entitlements.
If the Conservative strategy is successful, then McDonald’s and other employers would gain access to a low-wage and docile workforce of Canadians who are just as vulnerable and exploitable as foreign workers are today.- But Lawrence Martin notes that even as the Cons push as far as they can in the opposite direction, public opinion is firmly on the side of combating growing inequality and personal insecurity:
Until now, the blowback against the undoing of the old Canadian way has been held in check by several factors, among them Stephen Harper’s skill at not appearing radical in what he is doing, the ascendancy of Western conservatism, the weakness of the Liberal party and the power of the Harper team to frighten and intimidate critics.
But there are signs of change. The New Democrats, leading the Conservatives in a poll released this month, have reached historic highs. The issue of inequality is now ranked as the most pressing concern of Canadians. It being an issue that is a hallmark of a regressive society, it could spur a progressive revival.- Bea Vongdouangchanh reports on the growing list of former PC ministers reacting with due alarm at the Harper Cons' attacks on Canada's fisheries.
- And finally, Brian Topp wonders what would happen if we applied the anti-government crowd's assessment criteria for public investments to the types of corporate structures that have so regularly led to economic ruin.