This note came to me some hours ago from Alan. In light of the latest jobless numbers in Canada, I felt compelled to answer:

“Been following you for years and read your blog everyday my wife says you are my god, I say more like a demigod. I’m not much on preparing speeches and was wondering if you had a short paragraph or two made up that I could speak about at my union meeting to benefit some of the younger members who find themselves in the strange position of being out of work after leaving high school and jumping into a workforce that promised them work enough to buy new cars and houses to their hearts content. Keep up the good work I believe that what you talk about is important in a world of special interest.”

I’ll try, Al.

Brothers and sisters:

A union draws all strength from its members. We come together because our labour and skills, our contribution in the workplace and our bond as colleagues.

That’s what a union is – the union of people, so together we’re stronger than we’d be separately. It ups our bargaining power, our influence and the respect we receive for the jobs we do. I’m proud of you all for the contributions you have made.

But these are not normal times. Too many of us – through no personal fault – have lost our jobs. We can blame the global economy, the failure of capitalism, the stupidity of politicians and the greed of bankers, but the results are the same. Losing your job means losing your identity and shelving your dreams.

Many of you came in better days, so this is hard to accept. You may have a new house or a car, had a family and taken on other obligations, only to have the floor drop out from beneath you. There’s no easy way of saying the next few months may be hell. There’s no quick fix for this situation. Millions of other people are feeling as you do now.

There is one difference, though. You’re union. We are union. Like soldiers on duty, we do not leave comrades behind. This hall is your hall. Opportunities will be shared equally. We will fight together to improve the lives of every member, to get you working again, to restore your dreams.

More than ever, working people must support one another. This failure’s not ours. We did not create the hedge funds, make the bad loans, lie about credit ratings, steal clients’ money, collect bonuses we didn’t earn or screw up regulating corporate greed and corruption. We were here, working hard and honestly, supporting our families and building our lives. There is only honour in that. And in this world in which business leaders, governments and bankers have failed, we have not.

Yet we pay the price. Every lost job among us is an indictment of the system, not a mark against a member. Be angry. You’ve earned it. Then walk out of this hall the same proud, valued person you were walking in.

And know, we walk with you.

Hope this helps a little, Al. Use what you’d like. Take care. — Garth

On the Road:

I’ve decided to terrorize the West again. If you are in the Lower Mainland area next weekend, please come by, have a listen, and say hello. On Saturday morning I’m the speaker at a financial seminar in Surrey (taking my BP vest), and the next morning in lovely Langley. Both events are free, and worth every nickel.

Surrey, BC
Saturday April 18, 10 am. Hazelmere Golf Course – 18150 8th Avenue Surrey BC. To reserve a seat, call 604-599-4585.

Langley, BC
Sunday, April 19, 10 am. Howe Street Money Expo, Coast Hotel & Convention Centre, 20393 Fraser Hwy. Register gratis, here.


#1 Michael on 04.08.09 at 11:43 pm

Wow! This article is just great!

#2 Robert Gillespie on 04.08.09 at 11:44 pm

My union brothers, my advice to you is to learn something. The days of taking 2 weeks training to replicate the same function over and over again and collecting $35 an hour will never return again.

Turn this layoff into a new opportunity and become a valuable trained professional.

Waiting at the coffee shop will only result in you one day having to work there.

#3 Wealthy Renter on 04.09.09 at 12:02 am

The speech unfortunately forgot to mention that in places like Changchun China can crank out VW Jettas for tiny fraction of the cost of a similar plant in Canada.

I was biting my tongue as I keyed that paragraph. My dad (retired) was a precision machinist, and while not a union member, his excellent wages and pension were impacted wholly by unions.

In our globalized economy, just about every product we buy in Walmart or the Eaton Centre is made in China. The next logical extension is the cars we drive. By many accounts, China is less than five years away from having cars capable of competing in North America.

I feel terrible for the auto workers, but I don’t know if there are any reasonable solutions for a local industry that is in its sunset?

#4 Lenka on 04.09.09 at 12:08 am

Hi Garth and others, I am starting to feel a little lighter in this world heavy with madness. Voices of reason are becoming more common and I wanted to thank you for yours.

I am really tired of the constant attempts to blame those who worked hard in tedious jobs, providing for their families. Who over-extended because of few alternatives available to them (I have moved from rental to rental to rental with my children as greed swept over Calgary having less alternatives than most). For most of the people I know, they were driven by fear, sometimes by greed but they did NOT cause structural imbalances in the system; as a worst sin they tried to take advantage of them. They are fast learners. I am really tired of the agenda to divide and conquer that wants me to hate my neighbour because his house value tripled or so. If there is a class war, let it not be amongst ourselves! The only reason the elites have been so successful at pushing their agenda forward is because somehow they convinced the rest of us that we are just temporarily embarrassed future millionaires. We are not!

Here is Bill Moyer’s voice: A cartoon in the Sunday comics shows that mustachioed fellow with monocle and top hat from the Monopoly game – “Rich Uncle Pennybags,” he used to be called – standing along the roadside, destitute, holding a sign: “Will blame poor people for food.” Time to move the blame to where it really belongs. –

#5 LS on 04.09.09 at 12:17 am

Any opportunities to come to Victoria? Would love to go see you speak.


#6 Mi Too Bitz on 04.09.09 at 12:31 am

Come to Calgary! Pop the bubble thinking here. :) If you come, I’ll throw in a white stetson.

#7 Apocalypse Now on 04.09.09 at 12:33 am

The way this recovery is being handled it is obvious that we are being set up for a much larger fall than the world has ever seen in history. If the trillions that have already been thrown at the problem did not fix the problem and haven’t even brought us into sight of the bottom then anyone that believes that the trillions more that will supposedly be thrown at the crisis will resolve the crisis is living in La-La land and is best left there.

Al, you should tell your union brothers to go back to the bar and watch Hockey Night in Canada and to continue their tradition of never missing a Sunday football game. After all that’s all life is for; fun and games baby, fun and games! Well I hate to break it to them but the hour has now struck midnight and the kegs have run dry; ain’t no more beer left baby, ain’t no more booze in the house. All those good years that they spent sowing the wind breaking wind in bars will now be years of reaping the whirlwind. I wish I could say I feel sorry for the ignoramuses but I am afraid I can’t. Ignorance ain’t bliss and since they did not take the time to educate themselves when they had the time; all that is left for them to do now is to pay the piper. A citizen’s first duty is to keep a watchful eye on his government not the TV screen. Your union brothers are about to discover that Big Brother loves them and will take good care of them, o how he’ll take care of them. Yeah baby, yeah!

#8 Glenn on 04.09.09 at 12:53 am

When I was a kid in high school I worked 2 summers at the county park commission. On paper, the deal was you work 2 summers and if you were a good worker you get a full time job offer.

So I did my 2 summers, worked my ass off. Then when it was time to offer jobs, I got a pink slip. As I walked out, two young kids were walking in. One kid simply said “My dad is a county cop, he bribed the union to get me this job.”

Screw the unions.

#9 WillsDad on 04.09.09 at 12:55 am

Unions took too much when they knew they had management over a barrel. Maybe if they didn’t make $75/hour they wouldn’t be in the position they are faced with at GM and Chrysler.

It’s not a one-way street when it comes to handing out blame for job losses.

#10 Grumpydawgs on 04.09.09 at 1:11 am

Garth, you’re always welcome to try to talk some sense into the denial bound myopics of the left coast. The propaganda wars are comical even though the effects on peoples lives are rather sad. The income/price ratio in Vancouver is 10.66 X average income, it’s beyond insane, and yet there are buyers.

I am empathetic with the unionists who have lost thier employment, but at the same time they must realise that they’ve been greedy. In all the years those car plants were running there was never a time when anyone agreed to say ” We’re comfortable”, ” we’re doing OK”. Every contract expiration was a time to strike and the result was always more more more, without respite give us more or we’ll close you down. Well brothers, we finally hit the wall. Automobiles aren’t affordable anymore, the pyramid scheme has toppled, there is no more juice to squeeze out of the lemon.

It isn’t true what the president of the CAW has said, that it is only a consumer cinfidence and credit crisis, no, not by a long shot. Auto mobiles are now a major financial issue with costs attached resembling a mortgage. The product simply isn’t worth the cost of production. It’s game over, this really calls for a new paradigm, we consumers don’t owe you a living. It is no longer feasible to pay an unskilled production line worker $76 dollars an hour for showing up on time.

This tale of woe is being played out all over the western world. The governments are taxing mightily and the people are trying to catch up by demanding more. The government is mismanaging our revenues and artificially depressing the value of our currency and driving the cost of food and clothing up. So we’ve had an endless cycle of strike strike strike and more more more, but now there isn’t any more.

Everyone loses this round except the public service workers who have guaranteed indexed pensions and really don’t give a crap. The auto workers and everyone else who thought that it was OK to be making $125,000 for a no skill career was simply deluded. I suggest that you give back the leased BMW and the Motor Home and the 6 bedroom house and start learning to live on the income you will recieve and not on what you used to recieve.

The class war is over and the unions lost, it seems that going to medical school was better than being a factory worker after all irregardless of what Ken Georgetti and Buzz Hargrove tried to tell you. BTW Ken and Buzz are living fat on thier big juicy pensions.

#11 HMP on 04.09.09 at 1:32 am

Garth – great blog, looking forward to having you in Surrey/Langley. FYI, Hazelmere is in South Surrey (no BP vest required) with lots of Caddies, Bmers, Mercedies, Hummers, etc and only 1 mile from the Pac hwy border. Sure its different here ( all the money from the grow ops I guess) but the amount of fancy cars on the 5 mile strech of Pac hwy I drive every day boggles my mind. You will need the vest for Cascades in downtown Langley – do not walk the streets at night. Both sites are only 7 miles apart as the crow flies with some beautiful farm land in between – the rot in the downtown cores of the older towns is really sad.

Seriously though – there are still lots of people spending big dollars here on cars and other bling – asking 750K for new houses with the spring time smell of turkey/cow manure and the summertime sound of the blueberry cannons. I do not where all the money is coming from? Not from the average person I know.

#12 Time and again on 04.09.09 at 1:36 am

Hi Garth,
Most interesting site and comments. Thanks for the alternate view and interesting stats. Live in Regina and saw things in the 80’s I do not want to have happen again, but see similar outcomes in a different context on the horizon. Although we live in different times the outcomes are familiar with possible differing circumstances. In the 80’s jobs lost, higher interest rates, and homes lost. Now prices through the roof and completely out of line with income and yet to see but sure to come, job loss.
On the local news tonight house prices have increased over 12%. But they did not say how many are selling and how many are on the market. Most are sitting still despite what we are told.
I am appalled at how we have buried our heads in the sand and accepted what we are consistently told by the governments, yours included at the time.
Likely we should save money, hold off on unnecessary purchases, and avoid borrowing. The stimulus must come from what we can afford and need.
Look out for your neighbour.
Capitalism and greed has reared its ugly head. Socialism needs to be controlled and hard work should be rewarded.

#13 kanata squirrel on 04.09.09 at 1:56 am


Any plans on going to Montreal or Ottawa – I’d love to meet you in person some day.

#14 Happy Renter in North Van on 04.09.09 at 2:21 am

Garth, we in the Lower Mainland take great offense at the phrase “Bullet Proof Vest”… It’s so declassé…. In future, please refer to your Surrey accoutrement as “Body Armour”… It has a much more refined connotation ;-)

#15 Anon - GTA on 04.09.09 at 2:22 am

Huge follower and fan Garth! Keep up the good work.

Any events scheduled in TO? Please let us know…


#16 Sean in E-Town on 04.09.09 at 2:36 am

Hi Garth, really pleased to see someone out there who’s as much of a contrarian bear on housing as I am. (I’m also shopping for my first place, but not going to pay 150 months rent just to earn an implicit 3%, even if I intend to live there for 30 or 50 years.) Anyway, just wanting to ask, as I sit thinking about my ideal home, and the scorched carpet, the twenty year old oven, and the cabinetry that would make the colourblind blush, and wondering if I’m right in taking the place in the low to mid 80s when, with 15% down, fees and taxes of 240 a month, and a 6% mortgage (We’re being conservative here, so sue me…) I can carry the place for rent, and, if I save at the rate I’ve been saving (oddly enough I’m working one of those jobs that has gotten better during the recession thanks to the sheer incompetence of our internationally based competitors…) I’ll have 31K owing when the five year mortgage term is up, and be on track to retire the rest in three years. What say you Garth, commenters? Am I being a learned fool here, or are my valuations close enough to reality that making a home of this is worth it?

#17 Jack the Lad on 04.09.09 at 5:33 am

Nice speech there, Hoffa :-)

#18 Darryl on 04.09.09 at 5:46 am

Never done the Whooooo Garth thing but that letter was written with great style and emotion. Bravo.

#19 Munch on 04.09.09 at 6:54 am

Unions still exist there?

Wow, that’s backwards, man!

Munch from Joburg

#20 OttawaMike on 04.09.09 at 7:07 am

You should be a professional speech writer, Garth. Nicely written.

Here is the Roubini interview from Strombo’s The Hour, Weds. night:
He eloquently explains how we got here and where we’re going.

Here is the Remax -Expecter Phil Soper press release where expected house prices held up better than expected when he expected the prices to decline unexpectedly:

#21 pbrasseur on 04.09.09 at 7:08 am

Unions think they can bend the laws of the market and they can for a while. Workers are paid not for what they are worth (on a free market), not for what they produce but rather they get paid according to what they can get from their employer by force, often with the help of friendly state laws (especially true in Quebec) companies have no choice but to “negotiate” and end up buying peace.

But in the end the market always wins and the more it was artificially bent, the worse the backlash.

This is nothing new, just more concentrated these days, I believe it will even affect government workers at some point.

Union protection is an illusion, a sad reality for those who are just finding that out.

#22 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.09.09 at 7:27 am

Thought I’d provide a little history, for naysayers which was in Garth’s previous blog eons ago.

Initial recognizable traits of current events …

CHRONOLOGY-New Century and the subprime meltdown

Mon Apr 2, 2007 12:12pm EDT—Specifically …

2004 – New Century converts to real estate investment trust (REIT) structure, which sells shares in an initial public offering raising $783 million. Annual loan production hits $42.2 billion and the company employs 5,300 associates in 101 offices.

2005 – New Century ranks third on the Wall Street Journal “Top Guns” shareholder scoreboard list in the three-year average annual return category. Agrees to buy some assets of Royal Bank of Canada’s RBC Mortgage Co. Loan production hits $56.1 billion.

May, 2006 – Ameriquest Mortgage Co. fires one-third of its employees, raising fears that other firms including New Century could lay off personnel as a five-year housing boom cooled.

Feb. 7, 2007 – New Century says it will restate earnings for the first three quarters of 2006 and report a loss for the fourth quarter because of errors in accounting for losses on repurchased loans. Its shares fall 17 percent.

Europe’s biggest bank, HSBC Holdings (HSBA.L: Quote, Profile, Research) says it will take a charge for bad debts of more than $10.5 billion for 2006 due to problems with its U.S. mortgage book.

Part of continuing saga …

DECEMBER 3, 2007 Subprime Debacle Traps Even Very Credit-Worthy

As Housing Boomed, Industry Pushed Loans To a Broader Market

‘Duped Into Loans’

“Tom Pool, an assistant commissioner for the California Department of Real Estate, says his office has seen a number of cases involving “totally ignorant and unsophisticated borrowers who had good credit, but were duped into loans they had no hope of repaying.” But experienced borrowers with high credit scores are often too casual about the loan process.”

Nobody will ever convince me the tumbledown in the auto industry was not absolutely tied to the macro events devolving from subprime loans, and the laissez-faire attitude of auto industry executives.

#23 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.09.09 at 7:33 am

#15 Sean in E-Town on 04.09.09 at 2:36 am

I’ll have 31K owing when the five year mortgage term is up, and be on track to retire the rest in three years. What say you Garth, commenters? Am I being a learned fool here, or are my valuations close enough to reality that making a home of this is worth it?

Go forth … and breed in abundance, but stay away from Gary Lunn and nuke-you-ler reactors!

#24 Bob on 04.09.09 at 7:50 am

Canadian employers slashed 61,300 jobs in March, pushing the unemployment rate up to 8 per cent — the highest in seven years.

All of the jobs lost were in full-time positions, Statistics Canada said in its report Thursday.

Since October 2008, 357,000 jobs have been cut, which represents 2.1 per cent of the work force.

In percentage terms, the decline is the largest recorded over a five month period since the 1982 recession.

Statistics Canada says the March losses were widespread across a number of industries but most notably in:

manufacturing (-34,000)
finance, insurance, real estate and leasing(-19,800)
construction (-18,000)
natural resources. (-10,500)
Analysts had been predicting about 55,000 jobs would be lost in March.

Provincially, British Columbia (-23,000), Alberta (-15,000) and Ontario (-11,000) saw the largest job losses

#25 Grantmi on 04.09.09 at 8:07 am

Nice…. Nice .. Speech! Brought a tear to my eye. (NOT!!)

Dear Al;

Just so you know before I make a comment… I worked for three unions growing up in my life time. One in Vancouver City, the United Fisherman’s Union, and one other. (Escapes me!)

All three taught me a very valuable lesson. GET EDUCATED and get a job in a non-union business!!!

One highlighted moment stands out in my memory was working for the union at a mill shop processing recycled news print. (I’ll skip the name.. I sure guys are still working there after 25 years after I left… lol)

I showed upped.. green as hell for the job they hired me for. I started the first week all excited and working my arse off producing the meaningless widgets I was hired for.

After about a week into the job.. one grisly looking old timer union worker, (I can still picture his face… big old red booze noes, and wispy frame) came to me and said…. “Eh buddy! You know those items you’re producing during the day shift! Well you cutting a ton of them!

I was proud! I thought hell! I was doing the job they hired me for… and would be running this company as president in no time!!!

I said – “thanks! appreciate the feedback!!”

he said! “No! You don’t get it. Slow down! You’re making to many! YOU’RE SHOWING UP THE GUY ON THE NIGHT SHIFT….. he can only make half of what you’re making! You’re making our other Brother look bad!!”

I shat you not!!!!

After that….. well….. you can tell where I stood about unions!!

“Assalaamu ‘alaykum my brother!!!

#26 bcgirl on 04.09.09 at 8:18 am

Great post Garth.

We need our unions now more than ever. The union is the best thing that ever happened for working people.

Thanks for such a great blog!

#27 Comrade Okie on 04.09.09 at 8:18 am

The larger any organization becomes, the higher the likelihood of some corruption. Take Government and Corporations for example. Singling out Union corruption is a tad disingenuous. So is bantering around that $75 per hr. figure related to auto workers total compensation packages including health and pension benefits. I read an interesting view on this recently, which put forward the thought that if labor represents 5% of the total cost of a vehicle, why are we so focused on that consideration?

There are very many unions whose members don’t receive the average $26 per hr. that auto industry hourly workers receive, so using this as example is simply picking the most convenient cherry.

Further to that, once one becomes older and wiser it is easier to expand viewpoints and thus understanding. While younger, and exposed to little other than contemporary consumer based influences, it is very much the norm to base ones outlook on these things.

Some people need to view the world around them differently. Looking through the big end of the horn only shows a tiny amount of what you are looking at.

#28 JET on 04.09.09 at 8:19 am

“We’re union” – almost sounds like “We are borg”.

The days of just joining the collective and be secure for life are numbered. Resistance is not futile.

#29 Kurt on 04.09.09 at 8:33 am

Nice writing! Professional and compassionate, focused and supportive. The role of unions in our current society is debated endlessly and, rather using this as an opportunity to get up on a soap box, you provided what was asked for.

And those posters who have instantly jumped to the conclusion that I’m pro-union and that it’s time to drag out *their* soapboxes, I ask you to please stop and think.

#30 Gord In Vancouver on 04.09.09 at 8:36 am

Outstanding statement, Garth.

#31 Kris on 04.09.09 at 8:38 am

C’mon Garth, who are you trying to kid? Why are you encouraging unions to plunge themselves into even greater denial? You got one part right about unions – protect your brothers, but screw the company, the government and the public.

Non-unionized people who actually have to worry about job performance, continual education, competition in the workplace, and performance related pay cannot be expected to have much sympathy for the average union member.

You are very good at saying the hard truth out loud. How about this one – everybody must share in the blame for this current economic crisis. To some extent, we’ve all been greedy, wasteful, blind and arrogant in our lives as consumer, worker and investor.

Let’s all look for compromise in our lives and together try to rebuild a society that will make Canada a better country for our children.

(ps. maybe somebody hacked into your blog and is impersonating you….or perhaps you’re on cold medication or something?)

Che lives. – Garth

#32 Al on 04.09.09 at 8:38 am

Capitalism is about competition. If a company A charges too much for its product, company B will undercut them. Company A will fail unless it cuts its price.

Labour is just another product economically speaking. Since we live in a global economy, we compete with overseas labour. We’re failing because we won’t cut our price. Politicians can use all the smoke and mirrors they want to hide this simple economic truth, but result will be the same.

#33 David Bakody on 04.09.09 at 8:52 am

Well done on your letter Garth ….. As a once proud member of Local 1005 Stelco Hilton Works I have never forgotten my fellow workers, and those showers where I blew dirt and steel dust out after every shift and hung my work cloths on a hook hoisted high in the air.

For non members ….. dig out the Tennessee Ernie’s words to “16 Tons” …. in many ways things have not changed …. and by the looks of things our proud work force is being forced back in time.

As Garth mentioned the vultures are out and this will happen here ….. and I believe their will be a price to pay for it ( Think if interest rates double or triple and wages do not then in reality a $150,000 mortgage would be like a $450,000 mortgage) so think before you leap.

In 1984 when interest rates were 16-17% I bought a two story, 4 bd home, C/A and attached garage in Kitchener for $67K stayed there for two years sold it for $68K moved back to NS and had our modest home built with extras for $72K interest rates dropped to about 7% and the people who bought my Kitchener home sold it two years later for $119K ….. are lights on yet?

#34 David Bakody on 04.09.09 at 8:52 am

Addemdum 1984 should read 1982.

#35 Herb on 04.09.09 at 8:59 am

“Whooooo Garth”, definitely, but …

One thing missing from your draft: recommended action. What do you suggest the “brothers and sisters” do with their individual pride, collective solidarity and anger? What does “Opportunities will be shared equally” mean when there are no opportunities?

It’s not commiseration and inspiration they need, but action.

For those who think employment problems are solved by education and training, get real. I know a framing crew whose members include three engineers (two civil and one electrical). They have been driving nails outside this Ottawa winter to keep money coming in, and will be SOL when their supply of pre-sold homes runs out.

Education and training will qualify you for jobs that are there. They mean dick when there are no jobs.

What means dick is self-worth. All flows from there. — Garth

#36 Signal Loss on 04.09.09 at 9:09 am

When you’re speaking at the money expo try to steer the conversation from those HoweStreet guys away from gold: everytime i listen to that podcast it seems to be gold this, gold that, punctuated by oil and federal civil service bashing. Ok i get it, gold did well but the fact that gold did and (may still do) well is bad news, isn’t it? a negative indicator for the rest of the economy? It’s very small “c” creepy, as in: society is slipping into a near-future dystopian nightmare but i have my shiny gold and silver bobbles and my Glock.

#37 Simon on 04.09.09 at 9:23 am

Hourly wages and all that aside….. The CAW I remember had a poor way of rewarding performance, perhaps things are different today. Please correct me if I’m wrong….

Year end bonuses were never based on performance, but solely on seniority. This places a damper on the high performers at a lower seniority level. The amazing this was that the union members didn’t even have a performance assessment at the end of the year. What non-unionized industry does not have an annual performance review?…. So how can you foster an efficient work force that aggressively strives for break through improvements to make the company more competitive?

A few weeks ago the CAW head when asked whether the union was interested in owning a stake of the autos he said NO! So to me there is no skin in the game on the part of the union. That is not to say that management at these auto have performed well, we all know that they have not either…

The days of the unions as we know it today are over. It’s time for a big reality check.

#38 Jim Tuba on 04.09.09 at 9:32 am

Best City on the Planet

#39 Dodged-A-Bullit-In Alberta on 04.09.09 at 9:39 am

Greetings: I worked 26 1/2 years for a unionized airline. Retired with a small pension in 2000, and now am facing the possibility that the pension plan may crater due to investment losses in the world markets. As long as governments and financial regulators (joke) allow greed and corruption to go unpunished we are totally screwed. I have just found employment at the local coffee shop to build some cash reserves. (Take note poster #2) I had a patron yesterday comment that ” there is no way I will sweep up sand and gravel, let them get someone else, they can hire a power sweeper.” My response was: ” I am the someone else, and the sweeper.” As many posters on this blog have stated, and I agree, you ain’t seen nuttin yet. Alberta still has a ways to fall and it won”t be pleasant.

#40 Coho on 04.09.09 at 9:43 am

Unions sprung forth in response to employers’ exploitation of peoples’ labour. Of course there are union members who exploit the wages and benefits a union provides by doing their best not to work an honest day, ever. Then when unions become powerful, they act like the very exploitative companies whose unfair practices gave birth to them.

There are always those who’ll take advantage and betray the trust of others, from a lazy union worker to company managers and ownership, to salespeople, politicians, priests, cops, etc. Evil is an equal opportunity essence. It recognizes no borders, professions, age groups, political parties, genders, social circles cities, or neighbourhoods. There are too many who’ll embrace it in order to “get ahead”.

I can just imagine a Divine extraterrestrial intelligence debating the viability of Earth and earthlings saying “That corrupt vile little planet is so haywire, it’d find a way to screw up a free lunch”.

#41 UBAB on 04.09.09 at 9:45 am

All politics aside, that was a great speech – I’m not in a union, never was, but that made me tear up. At the end of the day, unions are made up of your fellow Canadians. They do have the same dreams and hope as the next guy. They have families and mortgages and kids to put through school as well as the next guy…

#42 Jason on 04.09.09 at 9:47 am

Massive Mortgage Fraud

The financial industry brought the economy to its knees, but how did they get away with it?

It’s now clear why they are refusing to declare the big five U.S. banks insolvent……

#43 eddy on 04.09.09 at 9:49 am

“union brothers, alas, we are obsolete. extinct, and approaching a never ending coffee break. with our well honed skills of extortion and blackmail perhaps we should turn to organized crime. wait, we Are organized crime! perhaps we should all move to china and organize the workers into the toilette. looking forward, we’ll have more time to catch up on our reading, about the good old days, you know, the 19th or 18th centuries where we belong. are we on overtime yet?”

#44 "Sir" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.09.09 at 9:51 am

…They need Unions in China…which would raise the price of their finished goods by a factor as high as X 10.

Then and only then is when North American manufacturers can compete.

…North American Union members never complained about buying 99% of their Wall Mart, Brick…

The only way back to a “Norm” is to close the borders…and that’s never gonna happen now.

…So….if you cant’ beat’em, join’em….in Vancouver/Shangcouver, the next financial/trade/culture/leisure capital of North America.

Where have I heard that before?

#45 lgre on 04.09.09 at 10:06 am

“We need our unions now more than ever. The union is the best thing that ever happened for working people.”

I disagree; unions are needed in some places and not in others. I worked for companies that need unions and I work for one now that would actually be hurt if a union came in..outsiders have already tried to unionize us and it always fails..

CAW is actually hurting the automobile industry now and has been for years, Toyota and Honda run without a union and are doing fine..we are constantly hearing about the big 3 and the greed of the CAW, higher the wage higher the dues..instead of working together the CAW is still doing their hard nosed negotiating and it will sink the industry or reduce its size drastically. I don’t know about you all, but I would rather make $20/h instead of $30 for a while instead of making $6 with poggy.

#46 pbrasseur on 04.09.09 at 10:06 am

@ Herb #34

“For those who think employment problems are solved by education and training, get real. I know a framing crew whose members include three engineers (two civil and one electrical). They have been driving nails outside this Ottawa winter to keep money coming in, and will be SOL when their supply of pre-sold homes runs out. ”

Its about market worth, not moral worth or any other kind. It doesn’t matter if you have a Phd if there is no demand for your skills.

The best garanty to get a job is to make sure you have skills the markets demand. Governments can help by providing resources to acquire skills but in the end it’s an individual responsibility. That being said crisis are inevitable…

The drama with unions is that they provide the illusion of security which discourages people from taking care of their own destiny.

#47 LS on 04.09.09 at 10:06 am

“I know a framing crew whose members include three engineers (two civil and one electrical). They have been driving nails outside this Ottawa winter to keep money coming in”

I call BS, at least on the electric engineer. There are still plenty of jobs left for engineers (dunno about civil, but mech/elec/comp). If that electrical engineer can’t find an engineering job he/she is either incompetent or just not looking very hard.

#48 RS on 04.09.09 at 10:12 am

Great speech Garth!

#49 $fromA$ia on 04.09.09 at 10:12 am

Garth, would owning 5% in bullion and 33% in gold mining stocks be ok as a protection hedge for future inflation against the rest of my Kash?

Kash with a K because Kash is KING thus far till inflation comes!

#50 ralph on 04.09.09 at 10:15 am

This brings to mind the story about the Ant and the Grasshopper (Aesop’s fable).

#51 dekethegeek on 04.09.09 at 10:17 am

Garth I’d love to see you but Surrey? Forget it, dont want my car stolen while I’m in listening to you speak.
Langely is a little better,thats where all the Hell’s Angels seem to live these days so it’s a tad quieter but pushing and shoving my way through all those God Fearing Christians from Abbottsford(Jesus is over Abbostford for those of you who cant see him hovering up there) are a little intimidating to us “non believers”
Enjoy your visit
PS It started raining again last night , supposed to last til October. Bring your brolly.

#52 Jacqueline on 04.09.09 at 10:32 am

That was a really moving speech. My husband is in the plumber’s union and we worry that he will be layed off. He works in ICI (Industrual Commercial Institutional) Fortunately we do not own a house so our monthly expenses are pretty low and we have been saving money.
To those of you that keep bringing up the autoworkers, there are many unions out there. My husband was an apprentice for 5 years. He started out making hardly anything. He attended trade school and night school throughout that period and had many years of on the job training. He also has a B.Sc., although that is not necessary, he said that many apprentices that he has worked with actually do have university degrees. So do not knock all unions. I think his union is very well run.

#53 rory on 04.09.09 at 10:36 am

#9 Grumpydawgs you said:

“Everyone loses this round except the public service workers who have guaranteed indexed pensions and really don’t give a crap.’

I agree with Mr. Grump …

I eluded to pensions being a huge liability a couple of months ago. This will pit the public unions against the taxpayers with the gov’t in the middle (and what gov’t doesn’t cave). If we do not see the stock market recovering in the foreseeable future expect to see strikes (so a lot of disruptions – get your supplies now) and maybe even confrontations between taxpayers and strikers.

The gov’t and the union people need to be realistic. You cannot expect increased payments for fully funded indexed pensions from people that do not have the same benefit.

Mish also has an article today about pensions.

#54 No logic on 04.09.09 at 10:40 am

When the economy will eventualy recover and people start getting back to their jobs there will be only one person, who will loose the business – it’s Garth.

#55 Jeremy on 04.09.09 at 10:40 am

Thanks for your union speech Garth. I wasn’t expecting that from you and it was great to read.

It is very easy to get into philosophical debates about unions and their purpose. Opinions on both sides are being expressed in these comments to your blog entry. That’s a good thing.

But I do get upset when people blame workers on the line for the collapse of GM and Chrysler, demonizing their hard earned right to organize and bargain with their employers. All I ask them to do is take a history lesson or two, learn more about the auto industry, and read more about the context that gave rise to the entire global economic crisis.

Thank you Garth for underscoring that this crisis isn’t a crisis of unions. It is something much bigger.

#56 Jacqueline on 04.09.09 at 10:41 am

I should add he does not make $75/hour!

#57 Steve Tanner on 04.09.09 at 10:46 am

Garth come to calgary – there a pile of people that would enjoy hearing you. Its more of a mess here than anywhere else… well maybe vancouver!

#58 ncoffee on 04.09.09 at 10:51 am

All this anti-union stuff misses the point.

It doesn’t matter if particular unions (or even all of them) are run badly by the people in them; that doesn’t take anything away from the concept itself. Every system is vulnerable to human weakness, bias and error.

I can point to an endless supply of (non-union) businesses that are run extremely unfairly and inefficiently … but that doesn’t justify being anti-business in principle. The concept of business is good. It just means those particular businesses need some major work. And they all do. Same with the unions.

All the criticisms directed at the concept of unions can be applied equally to the concept of business itself, but, potentially because of being bombarded by anti-union propaganda for decades, people compartmentalize the criticism, and apply it only to what feels safe and normal to apply it to. Much like what we call “greater fools” around here.

For example, if I told you a story about when I was a teenager and the boss hired his daughter instead of me, does that mean I’m justified in saying “Screw business”? Not so much, guys.

#59 John on 04.09.09 at 11:07 am

Sorry, I cannot accept that union membership makes someone special. “working hard and honestly” is a personal trait, not related to whether or not you are union.
The average working slob is not to blame for this financial mess. This is true of union and non-union alike. Reliance on solidarity with your union brothers as part of the solution will only prolong the pain.

#60 Automotive Union Jobs ... on 04.09.09 at 11:10 am

Many union jobs are being shed permanently, at least in automotive.

At the peak, the US consumer purchased 17 million vehicles in a single year, this year it will be 9 million.

For over a decade automotive companies produced vehicles at an unsustainable level and many of those were the high margin trucks and SUV’s that were flying out the door when gas was cheap.

This high level of automotive production was facilitated by cheap, readily available credit. Throughout the 2000’s 100’s of billions of dollars were extracted from rising home equities as lines of credits (as though your house was a huge ATM). This money feed the purchase of toy’s … boats, cars, flat screens etc … The housing and commercial real estate booms also created huge demand for pick-ups. Plus rising equities and employment gave people the confidence to go out and purchase vehicles.

It’s all done for now.

Rising unemployment will keep people away form new vehicles just like it keeps them away from housing. The fear of high gas prices again in the future will keep more people away from the high margin trucks and SUV’s. A huge over supply of housing and commercial properties will keep construction demand for vehicles low for years. Plus, the staggering debt load that the US consumer has acquired over the last 15 years has finally caught up to them and their future spending will be curtailed for many years.

While total sales in the US may rebound to around 12 million vehicles a year once the economy recovers it will be DECADES until we see 17 million vehicles a year sold again.

This means permanent US automotive production reductions of over 30% … 30% fewer plants and Union employees, permanently.

#61 Jmack on 04.09.09 at 11:30 am

“I’ve never met a company with a union, that didn’t deserve it” Hoffa

#62 rory on 04.09.09 at 11:33 am

Ooops …meant this site talked about pensions today … … not Mish’s

#63 BE on 04.09.09 at 11:34 am

For anyone interested in some real world housing data, read on.

Some family of mine listed their house in Barrie in September at $210 000. They just sold for $195k after dropping asking down to $199k.

Last summer their neighbor sold for ~$210 000

It took 8 months but they sold after a 7% reduction in value.

#64 ts harpoon on 04.09.09 at 12:04 pm

As a former student participating within a well structured union I say to you: Excellent writing Garth Turner, simply excellent.

#65 jwk (nee jwkimba) on 04.09.09 at 12:07 pm

#15 your proposal is an example of the Greater Fool theory in action. even on a small scale it simply isn’t financially prudent to buy right now.

All you are really doing is pre-paying rent by paying off the mortgage.

Some quick work with the trusty HP12C* gives us some numbers.

In short, after you pay it off in 8 years you need to stay there another 8 years before you use up the pre-paid rent (ie the purchase price+interest paid). are truly ‘rent free’. 16 years is a pretty long horizon, but assuming the value stalls out for the next 5 years you may have some capital gains.

numbers in short:

[email protected]=550/month
prepay to knock 50k off in 5 years (80k in 8) =$833/month
payment per month = $1383
payments over 8 years =$132,768
what you wold have paid in rent over 8 years if rent=carrying cost = $78,000
extra amount you paid to own=$55,000 (what I call ‘prepaid rent’)
Months of pre-paid rent bought =99 ~ 8.3 yrs

When there is no capital gain in the asset, it is very hard to justify a purchase….and I have not factored in property taxes which seem very likely to rise.

* actually I used the HP12c emulator on my iPhone :)

#66 thecomingDepression on 04.09.09 at 12:30 pm

Unions are the most destructive force we have in Canada. This is the reason why wages are out of control. SO things will change:

You’re going to find this in the future: Anyone who works will be on a contract basis. In other words, no dental, no medical, no UIC, no pensions paid. You will be fired at any given time. Without notice. Your contract may or may not be extended. You will be controlled , not by the company you work for , but rather an outside source. If the company wants you fired the “Agency” does it. The “Agency” will pay you. You have a beef go to the “Agency”. You get fired you go to the “Agency” to collect your stuff.

Its here its coming, get ready for it. Bye Bye UNIONS.

#67 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.09.09 at 12:42 pm

#9 Grumpydawgs on 04.09.09 at 1:11 am

While I agree with you 100% on your analysis I also think we need to remember that the union workers felt obligated to achieve equality with the way overpaid executives.

After all it is the line worker who actually produces a profitable product. Unfortunately, manglement felt they deserved the Lion’s share for themselves and the Stockholders.

One begat the other, and the majority, i.e., the workers, fought for equality. Both were mindless as to what effect it has had on the general public.

This goes to Frank Stronach as well at Magna International. Their part pricing is worse than the interest rates at a Pawn Shop. One can buy the very same parts from the States for one third to one half the Canadian price. That is blatant gouging of Canadians by Canadians.

We, too, are to blame because we kept buying their way overpriced products. In fact, the Japanese care are generally higher priced than the North American ones. The South Korean cars are right up there as well.

They all have followed each other just like the gas stations change their price in a heartbeat when ordered to by the distributors, or when their nearby competition changes their’s.

Now, we all find, if and when we sit down and tally up the outflow of our money, that we are supporting not only the automotive and oil industries, but the insurance and maintenance industries, which refect back in our costs for everything else including food, housing, medicines, etc., as well as the government with GST and PST taxes. To top it off Ontario’s Premiere has now increased the cost of everything by 8% beginning in 2010.

I aklso note the insurance companies remain isolated in their mind set from the rest of us. We just traded in a 2007 for 2009 vehicle, the very same make and model with the same equipment and the insurance company said ‘We have to raise the premium!’ I asked ‘Why?’ their response was ‘we have had bad experience with that particular vehicle.’ I then asked’ So, how come there was no increase on the 2007?’ Well, that stymied them a I had them caught in their own self-serving LIE! Again, no real regulation of these money grubbning Bozos.

BTW, I have noted that WalMart has been increasing prices lately. They also paid out $2 BILLION in bonuses to their employees. So who knows how to run a company becomes the question? It seems there is simply no concept of connectivity between sectors. We all rely on each other. Until that becomes the norm it will be more of the ‘I’ and ‘Me’ attitude which still translates into a perpetuation of the root cause of the problem.

Such attitudes can lead only one of two places in the end…destruction of the economy and society, or the realization that Greed is NOT good and nationalization of key industries is the only means of preserving ourselves as a society. This has worked well in the past with public utilities until they allowed assinine salaries for top manglement to happen. Then we get an Ontario Hydro/Hydro One where the failed CEO walks away with millions in unearned money at the expense of the customers and citizens.

Where was the oversight by government for the public good? That is the REAL QUESTION. We do not pay these people, i.e., the elected politicians, to go frolic! We pay them to be the stewards of our future. They have FAILED us and yet do we rise up?

As Pogo said, and it is ever so TRUE..’We has found the enemy and they is us!’

#68 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.09.09 at 12:45 pm

What means dick is self-worth. All flows from there. — Garth

And that, my dear friend, is not measureable in money! It is an internal quality each of us must achieve on our own, and with the help and support of others who show faith in our content of character. ;-)

#69 Bob Bagina on 04.09.09 at 1:00 pm

#26 Comrade Okie said what needs to be said, even though your a pinko (just kidding).

If you’re going to attack auto workers for the wage + benefits they earn you may as well attack the pimple faced kid earning $15/hr working at KFC or the ambulance chasing lawyer earning $75-300/hr for protecting corporate pirates, or blah blah blah.

How quickly the peasants have turned on themselves forgetting the opulence and transgressions of billion dollar giveaways and the raiding of the public coffers at the behest of their masters.

Where’s Miles Horton when you need him?

#70 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.09.09 at 1:09 pm

#32 David Bakody on 04.09.09 at 8:52 am

In 1980-82 the interest rates in the U.S. went as high as 24%. That was due solely to Reagan and Carter imposing the Credit Control Act of 1980 which was designed to protect the banks, and more so the U.S. Government, from the consequences of their failed foreign policy of ‘Friends for Cash!’.

Chrysler filed bankruptcy then as well, and Lee Iaacoca took over and brought the company back strong. Nowe the have the former CEO of Home Depot that has taken them back into the red. He did the same thing to Home depot. That comes from my friends at a Chrysler dealership who KNOW!

I will never forget that it was Paul Volker who was the Federal Reserve Chairman then. I remember pleading to Clinton to do something. I got BS replies about how terrible things were for the banks. Yeah, Forget? HELL NO!’

Then Reagan and his gang of Redumblicans further failed the people with their ‘hands off free-market’ approach based on the most assinine economic policies possible with no regulations and inflation as ‘growth!’

Trickle Down Economics my ass. The real trickle down was from the Clap they infected the economy with. Harper and the residual Redumblicans in the U.S. are trying to do the same thing.

Hence, we are now dealing with the fatal effects of those years of failed policies as the patient (aka the economy) bloated itself into a state of inescapable DEATH! I call it economic Ebola!

The rest of the rhetoric people are spewing is pure ill-informed hope. This ‘adjustment’ was inevitable and is as inescapable as terminal cancer.

If the damn government really intended to do anything about it they would:

1. Immediately and completely regulate the financial and oil industries.

2. Cap all executive salaries as a percentage of actual net profits.

3. Set the interest rate on mortgages at 1-2% Simple Interest and allow deduction of the interest on our taxes. They are Double Taxing our money.

4. Immediately cap credit card interest rates at 7-8%

5. Restore meaningful interest rates on savings accounts.

6. Raise the taxes on those making over $150K per year as the mortgage and fuel costs reduce.

7. Eliminate all loop holes and make it an indictable offense to have an offshore account hiding money from fair taxation.

8. Focus on Canadian’s needs first and tell the IMF to F**k off on assisting despotic countries who have resources they can market, but are hoarding their own capital for the despotic leaders.

9. Nationalize our resources for all Canadians and forbid foreign ownership. That means investors may reap a fair return if there is a real profit, but not have any voting rights in Canadian resources, nor toher fundamental control of them. That si the same as investing in any other company. You get a dividend from profitability, but not do not have power to run the company.

Have we seen anything even close to those realistic policies? I have not in Canada! And only some in the U.S..

Time to take the Buckley’s ‘Tastes horrible, but it WORKS!’

#71 victoria reader on 04.09.09 at 1:14 pm

Thank you for this post Garth. I find it strange so many people bad talk unions. A simple way of looking at it is that take any job out there. On the nonunion job the workers make less wages and more often no benefits where the union workers are supported. The jobs are bid close to the same amount of money between the two so it is the nonunion employers who pocket the most. So without unions, working people get paid less and the top percent earners get paid much more. Id rather work in a world with a strong middle class.

#72 Comrade Okie on 04.09.09 at 1:14 pm


“I said – “thanks! appreciate the feedback!!”

he said! “No! You don’t get it. Slow down! You’re making to many! YOU’RE SHOWING UP THE GUY ON THE NIGHT SHIFT….. he can only make half of what you’re making! You’re making our other Brother look bad!!”

You know, that’s real hard to do when you work on an assembly line. You understand that don’t you? Methinks, that is partly why Mr. Ford invented that concept.

I mention this given how so many here on this site have such strong feelings of resentment toward those who work for wages in the Auto Industry.

I worked on an assembly line once. Rebuilding Rail Cars of all shapes and sizes. That place was unionized too, and it had some horrific slackers that should have been dealt with because it resulted in the supervisors pushing it’s good workers far harder to achieve the necessary production.

But the thing is, when management is heavily burdened with liars, thieves and drunks, it diminishes their moral authority and thus the ability to deal effectively with the freeloaders.

It seems that freeloaders can get respect among their own kind. Then there is the bullsh*tting class. An extension of the above, and incorporated within. They quite often float to the top.

Furthermore, the place was old, filthy and the air was horrible and probably carcinogenic. There were few fans, and at times you couldn’t see more than 40 or feet. I would like to see some of our pampered civil servants and corporate workers endure that for a while. A lifetime’s worth might give someone like you better perspective.

I went on to run my own businesses later in life, but I never forgot those conditions, nor those people. And I have never sneered at them like you just did.

#73 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.09.09 at 1:15 pm

#24 Grantmi on 04.09.09 at 8:07 am

Yes, I can relate. I have belonged to two unions in my life. Both had more deadwood than Stanley Park and the Do-Nothings loved to intimidate. I told them to F**k off and did my damn job. The others respected me.

It is usually a small, but imtimidating minority that likes to run the show. They are the True Scabs on our economy. Such types are everywhere, not just in unions.

#74 "Sir" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.09.09 at 1:22 pm

The U.S. Dollar is where its at.

….If the U.S. goes bankrupt, they will take the rest of the world down with them.

…If the U.S. economy recovers, the U.S. Dollar will lead all fiat currencies.

Either way, Vancouver/Shangcouver will become the next financial/trade/culture/leisure capital of North America.

…No need for bunkers out here, we are earthquake prone…it’s all good w/ our luxurious, rickety, crickety, Arthur Erikson type,(Erikson, as did F LWright, borrowed from the Japanese and Scottish School of Design) abodes.

#75 dd on 04.09.09 at 1:43 pm

#30 Kris

… Why are you encouraging unions to plunge themselves into even greater denial … not worry about job performance, continual education, competition in the workplace …

Remember to put in police, nurces, teachers, and Doctors unions (associations) in that list too.

Let us all generalize … if you belong to a union you are lazy, fat, dumb, blue collar, and don’t deserve the wage you are making.

#76 PTDBD on 04.09.09 at 1:49 pm

Unlike other BNN “experts”, Danielle V. Park had her predictions correct and was clear and consistent before the last stock market “dip in the road”.

Her Juggling Dynamite Blog is worth reading. Don’t miss the link to the William K. Black interview if you haven’t seen it yet.

She is not a perpetual bear or bull but calls them with expertise.

#77 MenWithHats on 04.09.09 at 2:08 pm

One solution is to have employee owned business’s .
Pensions and other benefits indexed to profitability .
I have noticed that very few employee owned companies have gone under here and in America .

#78 Jasson on 04.09.09 at 2:15 pm

Garth, in this link someone poster earlier, a person interviewed on BNN who is a wave theorist, is calling for down at 1000, major depression lasting until 2020. His theory is that we are tracing the steps of the last GD almost exactly. He feels we are in the bear market trap now, and after August the stock market will fall off a cliff, such as it did after the market rallied 50% or so in the early 30’s. So can you or any others comment on how this time is different? This is the deflationary depression, and we are in the “winter” of the economic cycle which will last 20 years or so. The theory is each economic season lasts 20 years. This one is the winter in..bad…gloomy…stormy…cold… so, where is the sunshine? I guess i just cant make sense of all this as everyone has a different opinion everyday, its so confusing!

#79 Jon B on 04.09.09 at 3:08 pm

The party is over for the auto unions, and I’m sure they know it.

#80 highway61 on 04.09.09 at 3:17 pm

“(…)To underline the point, British Columbia and Alberta were hit the hardest in March, losing 22,600 and 14,900 workers respectively.”



#81 Vancouver_Renter on 04.09.09 at 3:32 pm


“he said! ‘No! You don’t get it. Slow down! You’re making to many! YOU’RE SHOWING UP THE GUY ON THE NIGHT SHIFT….. he can only make half of what you’re making! You’re making our other Brother look bad!!'”

I have several union stories:

1. A friend of mine, who worked in a union shop, was warned that he was spending too little time in the washroom. His quick trips to relieve himself were making this union brothers look bad.

2. Another friend who, years ago as a student, landed a job at a unionized door-manufacturing company. He told me he learned the procedure to assemble the door and quickly became very productive. A “union brother” wondered up, stuck his finger down his own throat, and intentionally threw up all over his finished doors and the associated tools. Then he was warned, “Maybe THAT will slow you down a bit.”

3. A friend who landed a job picking up residential garbage in Vancouver soon learned that Vancouver garbage men habitually work a few hours and then “go hide”. He said that, every day, the garbage trucks would park on a secluded street in the city FOR A FEW HOURS and the union workers would spend their time reading newspapers and chatting. He lasted a few months before he quit and went back to school.

4. A family member who works for a unionize mill laughed and told me that workers regularly “go hide” in the massive mill complex. “We find a hole to crawl into and sleep for a few hours. Everyone does it. The company can’t do a thing about it.” He also told me how the workers would occasionally lock the doors on a lunch room, tape up the windows with newspapers, and play cards for hours. When the manager tried to get them back to work, he would be “warned” to back off.

5. Another friend was hired on at the unionized maintenance department of a local hospital. He’s a hard-working, ethical guy. He told me that, on his first day he picked up a repair order, repaired the machine in question, and returned it to the appropriate department. The staff in the department were shocked and said, “We… we just requested the repair today. Repairs typically take 6-8 weeks. How on earth did you do it in one day??? This has never happened before.” My friend told me that old time union workers “did as little as they could get away with”. He quit the job soon after to preserve his sanity.

When there is little or no risk of being fired for poor performance, nothing good can come from it. Not only does the business suffer, but the worker becomes complacent and develops an unreasonable sense of entitlement. Upon seeing a mob of picketing unionized workers years ago, a friend of mine made the following profound comment… “It’s simple really. If you don’t like your job and/or the pay… then QUIT.”

I’m sure there are some hard working individuals in unions and that some unionized careers would not permit a worker to slack off – because there is too much work to be done. But clearly it’s not all rosy out there.

#82 Carney is a jerk on 04.09.09 at 3:39 pm


Bloomberg has reported that the Bank of Canada Governor ”Carney has pledged to lay out a plan that would flood banks with cash to halt the hoarding of capital and expand lending.” Consequently, the Loonie has been sliding against gold.

Looks like gramps and gran will be eating the store brand dog food instead of the premium stuff.

What an evil bastard this this conservative government is, feed the louse ridden bankers and starve the defenceless and poor..

#83 Carney is a jerk on 04.09.09 at 3:41 pm

I’ll try that hot link again:

Quantatative Easing

#84 Dave on 04.09.09 at 3:47 pm

Unions took too much when they knew they had management over a barrel. Maybe if they didn’t make $75/hour they wouldn’t be in the position they are faced with at GM and Chrysler.


labour costs for Chryser- blue collar, white collar, reitirees accounts for 7% of their cost. Lets not lay the downfall of these companies solely on its employees. The problem is much bigger than labour costs.

#85 Reg on 04.09.09 at 4:09 pm

To those who would propose that the governments let the automakers sink… you might want to take a read of this…

#86 electrician boy on 04.09.09 at 4:37 pm


I have no words……….dissapointed……..but I am still an admirer.
Think twice about this subject !

#87 vtj on 04.09.09 at 4:48 pm

#24 Grantmi:

I had an almost identical experience in one of my very first summer jobs in a union shop 25 years ago. After 2 weeks of being harassed by one of the “brothers” for moving too fast, I quit and moved on to a non-union job (packing orders & loading 45-footers) for the remainder of the summer. I’m 100% certain that both of these jobs played a huge role in getting me to go on to university and to obtain an engineering degree.

I’m far from convinced that unionized environments bring out the best in people and I’m even less convinced of the need for unions in this day and age. As an example, look no further than the abuses by City of Montreal employees over the last few years. Is it normal that the union protects snow-clearing machine operators caught drinking on the job? Two years in a row? Seriously …

My heart goes out to anyone who’s lost their job, be it a union job or otherwise. It’s too easy to blame the unions or any specific group of people for this mess we collectively find ourselves in.

#88 john on 04.09.09 at 4:56 pm

TSX – October 2008 – 10,000
TODAY – 9,200

#89 john m on 04.09.09 at 4:56 pm

Well my comments will not be pleasing to some BUT….last month 61,000 canadians lost their jobs,their taxes have contributed to billions in bailouts for the auto sector while they wonder how to put a meal on the table for their family. Unions are good within reason BUT when an employer has a good share of their workforce sitting on their ass because they can not help anyone because its not their job and their job doesn’t require any help at the moment.Now the auto sector wants us to pay their pensions,sorry………personally ive worked hard all my life and looked after my future,when times were tough i adapted and did what i had to do to make a living,i have no pension plan ,and ill be damned if i will agree to my tax dollars going to support the pension plans of a few who were quite happy to spend their lives putting in the front left headlight of a car (for example)and demand a lifestyle of a CEO……….give your heads a shake boys this is the real world!

#90 OttawaMike on 04.09.09 at 5:06 pm

A guy walks into a bar and sees a golden statue of a squirrel. The bartender sees the guy looking at it and says it will be $10 for the squirrel, $100 for the explanation. The guy is intrigued and buys the squirrel. After a few drinks he decides to drive home. As he goes he realizes squirrels are following his car. He speeds up only for more and more squirrels to start chasing his car. Eventually there is an entire army of squirrels chasing him. Realizing it must be the golden squirrel he bought he drives to the edge of a cliff and throws it off. The squirrels all follow, thousands of them plummeting to their deaths.

The guy returns to the bar, and the bartender just looks at him and say “I knew you’d be back, you want the story now right?”

The guy replies, “No, but I’ll take that golden realtor.”

#91 Chris in England on 04.09.09 at 5:50 pm

‘If it does spark competition then all the better for homebuyers.’

HSBC to lend £1 billion to buyers with only a 10% deposit.

That didn’t take long.

#92 john m on 04.09.09 at 6:03 pm

Most people as they go through life take pride in their accomplishments.In the auto sector this has not been the case…….the most common form of braggado after a shift and a few beers with the boys has been how little they had to do that day……..and what an assh.le the guy down the line is for working too hard……..”whats he doing bucking for a promotion”. The results of this mentality have cost every Canadian taxpayer for their cost of necessary transportation and contributed in a large scale to the demise of the auto industry.When appreciation is replaced by contempt for the guy writing your paycheck………you have made your own bed!

#93 john m on 04.09.09 at 6:26 pm

Im wound up over this topic and if you don’t post it i understand Garth….but! the auto workers unions have held the Auto Companies at ransom for years………ALL I CAN SAY IS DON’T TRY AND PULL THIS SHIT WITH ONTARIO’S TAXPAYERS……….

#94 pjwlk on 04.09.09 at 6:33 pm

Amen brother Turner! Great speach! I’m going to nominate you for president of our local, you’ll sure as hell do a better job than he is…

Oh yeah, for the knobs on this blog who think autoworkers make $75/hour – why not research your opinions, even just a little bit, before you open your mouth? At a minimum it might help you form a credible argument.

#95 David Bakody on 04.09.09 at 6:36 pm

#64 thecomingDepression on 04.09.09 at 12:30 pm

The day Unions are gone …. safety is gone … QA is gone… wages are gone …. week ends are gone ….. 40 hour weeks are gone ….. sick pay is gone ….. time off is gone ….. paid stat holidays are gone …. speaking up is gone … overtime pay is gone …. seniority is gone …. parking lots are gone …. pension plans are gone …. life insurance and health care all gone …. dental plans are gone …. human rights are gone …. holly smokes sounds like China, Russia, India, Mexico, South America, and the Baltic …. so my good friend why not just pick one of those countries to live/work and you can have it all now sir/madame.

#96 wellwell on 04.09.09 at 6:38 pm

Some of the union haters on this thread don’t seem to realize that enormous sections of our economy are subject to outsourcing in the future, including highly paid portions of the service sector. Laughing and pointing fingers at the CAW is downright ignorant, given this continent’s immediate and long-term socio-economic challenges. No bunker is going to protect you from this.

Yes, we have to realize that the gravy train is over, but it’s all of us, not just a few thousand workers on the line. Winston Churchill could have been speaking about the economy in the twenty-first century when he said the following in 1938 after the Austrian Anschluss:

“For five years…I have watched this famous island descending incontinently, fecklessly, the stairway which leads to a dark gulf. It is a fine broad stairway at the beginning, but after a bit the carpet ends. A little further on there are only flagstones, and a little further on still, these break beneath your feet.”

It may take a generation or more to crawl back up the way we came. As Garth was intimating, a lot of people are going to have to find within and among themselves the character of the mother in Langston Hughes’ poem ‘Mother to Son’:

Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And splinters,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor,
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So, boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps.
‘Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now,
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.

#97 Sun Yat-sen suit on 04.09.09 at 7:04 pm

Look at the countries where the high-paying union jobs are now being exported to.
They have lower wages yes? But the workers rights and lives are cheaper in both the eyes of the employer and government. AFL/CIO membership has been in decline for years now. Time to take the union to these countries.

#98 Kent on 04.09.09 at 7:13 pm

To those young people looking for a future. Go West young man (or woman) and don’t stop to you get to Asia.

#99 Ron on 04.09.09 at 7:19 pm

Unions for all or for none!
Just one more way to divide us into the “worthy”
and the “unworthy.”
Hurray for our union! Hurray for our team!
Hurray for our country! Hurray for our race!
I personally find these war cries indistinguishable.

Furthermore, the “widget” society must die now.
The perpetual growth model that our economies are
presently based on perfectly reflect the infinitely expanding human ego.

How about this odd concept: Work when work is actually required.

Still far too much monkey in the mix.

I’m sure that we can solve this all by finding more and more complex ways to explain the same ridiculously obvious situation. At least we’ll sound smart.

#100 Dan in Victoria on 04.09.09 at 7:26 pm

Interesting comments,I’ve been in the union,non union,and ran my own business.Lets say we build two houses side by side,exactly the same,one union and one non union.Which one do you think the consumer is going to buy first?My experience is the cheapest one,figure it out from there.

#101 Rural Rick on 04.09.09 at 7:29 pm

Thanks for reminding us that unions are made up of real people, our neighbors and friends.

#102 taxpayer like you on 04.09.09 at 8:32 pm

83 Reg – read your link

But that guy just doesnt get it. The auto industry has too much capacity. The numbers say it could shrink by half.
We simply cannot use all it can produce. Are we supposed
to bail them out then buy $45k SUVs every three years
just to continue to support them? The industry simply has to adapt to the market(s).

#103 dd on 04.09.09 at 8:44 pm

#76 Jasson

… major depression lasting until 2020. …

as soon as everyone jumps on board this one, it is time to push all your money into the market. I would rather belieive Roubini. At least he has number to back his story up.

#104 taxpayer like you on 04.09.09 at 8:50 pm

Ah yes, the high cost of labour. I’ve seen 7% tossed around as the labour cost at the detroit automakers.

That is absolutely incorrect.

Labour cost is 100% of everything we buy/sell worldwide.

Think about it. You dont pay a rock, or a tree, or a piece of steel, or a TV. You pay a person at every step along
the way. We can debate the value added by the various
parties, but it still comes back to somebodys labour.

#105 . . . fried eggs and spam . . . on 04.09.09 at 8:52 pm

#76 Jasson at 2:15 pm — “. . . So can you or any others comment on how this time is different? This is the deflationary depression, and we are in the “winter” of the economic cycle which will last 20 years or so. The theory is each economic season lasts 20 years. This one is the winter in..bad…gloomy…stormy…cold… so, where is the sunshine?”

Valid questions, to which there are a multitude of answers and all have at least part of it right — for each up, there must be a down.

Trouble is, most of these up / down cycles are happening so quickly, and leaves people bewildered and scratching their heads in astonishment.

Rather than bore readers with another opinion, I’ll put a few links here so each can see how really screwed up this planet is, because it is.

Deflation? Possibly. —

Hyperinflation / Depression? Possibly. —

Tulips from 1630? Possibly. —

“. . . Now, courtesy of our new Treasury Secretary, Kissinger protégé Little Timmy Geithner, who is on loan from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and Little Timmy’s sidekick, Buck-Busting-Ben, chairman of the privately owned Fed, we are about to experience a hyperinflationary money bubble as Little Timmy and Buck-Busting-Ben create and unleash a money supply mania. . . .”

#106 dd on 04.09.09 at 8:55 pm

Sir” North Vancouver Citizen Jr.

“The U.S. Dollar is where its at.…If the U.S. economy recovers, the U.S. Dollar will lead all fiat currencies.”

Wrong again. The dollar might shoot up again in the short term because of frightened investors. This will be the best time to short the currency. Simple supply and demand; with the printing press in overdrive mode for the next numbers of years the currency long term is only going in one direction.

#107 dd on 04.09.09 at 8:57 pm

#92 Dan in Victoria

… consumer is going to buy first… the cheapest one …

Ya and in 5 years the condo will be wrapped up in green plastic becuase of the poor workmanship

#108 dd on 04.09.09 at 9:02 pm

#82 Dave

… The problem is much bigger than labour costs…

Ya … management not listening to consumers and traking long term trends. Unions didn’t run the companies into the grown … it was/is dumb dumb management.

#109 Dodged-A-Bullit-In Alberta on 04.09.09 at 9:02 pm

Greetings: Here is a link to a mind boggling scenerio. Obama wants Americans to re-finance so they can spend more money, not decrease their debt load. Un-real!!

#110 Johnny Five on 04.09.09 at 9:04 pm

Al, please eat the honey roasted lightly salted peanut out of my Shi*t.

Listen you maudlin little blowhard. You and your union buddies can suck hell and die. I worked in a union and it did NOTHING but try to SCREW anyone who didn’t S*ck their fill in the blanks for years.

When I was a STUDENT at a CEMENT PLANT, I got FIRED because I handed a mechanic a wrench. Let me repeat that: I handed a mechanic a wrench when he wanted me to hand him a wrench. I was a student.

Suddenly I found myself in front of a union grievence board because of that. I had 40 year old men who were utter f-ing losers who pushed brooms SCREAMING that I was screwing them out of a job because they pushed a broom for 20 years and told me I was F-ing them because I handed a mechanic a F-ing Wrench.


Die you union bastard with no skills, no hope and no future. You don’t deserve $40 an hour for being stupid.

Garth, I know this will never see the light of day, but you should think about it. There really are 2 sides to every coin.

#111 dd on 04.09.09 at 9:06 pm

“The layoffs keep coming

Layoffs are now a leading indicator on the wreakage to come.

#112 john on 04.09.09 at 9:07 pm

My neighbours house sold for $435,000 in October 2008

My other neighbours house (same model) sold for $439,000 last week

#113 David on 04.09.09 at 9:09 pm

The CAW has priced itself out of the market. It all started with Bob White and carried on by Buzz Hargrove. They broke the car companies. I have a family member who did not wish to go to school and quit in grade 10. Quit school and his dad got him a job at one of the car plants. Afer his probation period he was making several hundred dollars per year moree than a Nurse and Teacher who spent all those years seeking education. Where is the justice.

When they go on lay off they have a special arrangement no other worker had in Canada. Their wages were topped up with EI payments. The Progressive conservatives under Mulroney brought in a progam that denied Military and RCMP the right to draw EI on retfirement unless they found a second job and worked the required weeks. Now the GM workers who did not contribute any money to their pension plan are blaming the Government for their pension problems.

Buzz Hargrove sucked up to Bob Rea and the NDP and used them until they found that he was too expensive to support. He then moved to the Liberals Paul Martin to sell his support. He could not buy the Conservatives so he went on a hate rampage against Harper and the Conservatives.

As soon as they get into difficulty they run to the Government looking for a handout. If they get one they are quiet for a short while. As soon as they see an opening they are back with their hand out.

There are several people in this country who do not have a Union. They contibute to their pension plans and fend for themselves. They do not seek or receive any handouts.

It is time that someone stands up and says no. The Finance Minister of Ontario is under extreme pressure as he comes from Windsor. If he has any back bone he will remain strong.

#114 Bottoms_Up on 04.09.09 at 9:29 pm

Garth once belonged to a union, so he likely knows their pros and cons.

Pros: you don’t get screwed by your employer. Go read ‘The Grapes of Wrath’

Cons: the union leaders don’t necessarily represent the will of the employees. Ask any elementary teacher in Ontario if they were ever asked what they actually wanted.

Unions didn’t kill GM. GM management (read greed and lack of foresight) killed GM:

#115 Grumpydawgs on 04.09.09 at 9:29 pm

#105 DD, sorry to burst your bubble but the leaky condo issue is purely a design flaw and not a labour quality issue. I wrote a paper in 1984 when the first plaster condos designs were being Ok’ed by the engineering department at COV.

It was obvious even to students at the time that the envelope would fail. The fact that nothing was done has always been a source of some question. The guys that snuck under the wire on the leaky condo lawsuit deal were the architectural, engineering and permits and planning insurance co’s. Every knew they would leak before they were built. I know there were quite a few ( like the one I used as an example) which were failing WHILE under construction.

Bottom line, accepted construction design principles will not be replicated anywhere in the world. This was a made in BC issue and when designs were exported to Ontario the design flaws failed in exactly the same way. Wonder why the inspection services, architects and engineers were whitewashed in the BC government ‘Inquiry’… too.

#116 Grantmi on 04.09.09 at 9:37 pm

Mr. Okie…

With all due respect!!!

You know, that’s real hard to do when you work on an assembly line. You understand that don’t you? Me thinks, that is partly why Mr. Ford invented that concept.

It was not an assembly line!!!! There was 2 shifts.

12 hr days. 4 on… 4 off! If you really want to know the place! It was a Paper Mill in Burnaby, BC. (You figure it out… .. no one will remember any way!… I’m sure ‘Ol Booze nose is long gone!)

My yob was to cut circular sheets of square flat paper to put onto rolls of recycled news print!

That’s not the half of it.. Most the guys were either sleeping in the lunch room… or find secure spots in the plant to dozed off on the night shift.


Peace my BROTHER!!

#117 TakingResponsibility on 04.09.09 at 9:48 pm

Good post, Garth.

Very good advice for everyone, too; not just union members.

I’ve always argued that libertarian-ism does not have to equal sociopathy.

#118 Jimster on 04.09.09 at 9:54 pm

CAW- Face it! You will never be able to compete with Asian slaves.

#119 Herb on 04.09.09 at 9:59 pm

LS @ #46,

the elec and one civil engineer are based in TO and renting rooms in Ottawa while working here. If you know of any jobs in TO for them, I’m sure Garth, who knows how, would be happy to put you in touch with me.

The other civil engineer has relocated to Ottawa, where his wife found a good job. No doubt he, too, would appreciate a job in line with his training, if you happen to know of one in Ottawa.

You know, people, there are times when having to work for a living is a challenge. Self-esteem is great, but it won’t keep the bankers from the door. Honestly now, how many on this board have eaten shit to keep a job or get ahead in violation of their self-esteem?

#120 JAYVEE on 04.09.09 at 10:06 pm

Thanks Garth,

People, the unions are screwed. When you are competing with India’s$2,500 cars, you have no leverage. Expect a continued turn south. This is a global shake-up. If you thought we were in a happy “global economy” before- LOOKOUT- this bites HARD in a downturn where every business is looking to cut costs. You think North America is desperate??? Take a look outside the mirror….

#121 lgre on 04.09.09 at 10:10 pm

‘My neighbours house sold for $435,000 in October 2008

My other neighbours house (same model) sold for $439,000 last week’

and your point?? put yours on the market..maybe you’ll get $639k

It has yet to sink in, Canada has been brainwashed with the ‘we are different’ song. When it does sink in it will be too late..times are a changing.

#122 Eduardo on 04.09.09 at 10:12 pm

I give 32987 thumbs up to all the union bashers.

Unions were created to protect workers’ human and working rights. This isn’t necessary anymore. Now all that unions do is ask for more money and threaten strikes. They also decrease their productivity continuously.

The union workers who actually work would get paid more if they worked according to the market. The ones who actually should be fired would get fired. Unfortunately there are more union workers who dont work that those who do which is why strikes allways get majority votes and the useless ones run the union.

I’ve seen union guys who were caught drunk driving not once… but three times and couldn’t be fired because of union threats.

Unions are glorified extortionists.

#123 jess on 04.09.09 at 11:28 pm

BALTIC DRY INDEX – what shipping?

china bailing the shipbuilding industry?

The government may force state-owned shipping groups to buy more vessels as foreign carriers scrap orders, according to Steve Man, an HSBC Holdings Plc analyst in Hong Kong. That risks increasing costs and overcapacity among shipping lines grappling with a collapse in global trade.

#124 Paul Fist In Your Face on 04.09.09 at 11:36 pm

#108 Johnny Five on 04.09.09 at 9:04 pm :

Well I guess you shouldn’t have handed him the wrench I suppose.

#125 Dan in Victoria on 04.09.09 at 11:39 pm

Post# 105 DD Read my post “exactly the same” Post 113 Grumpy dawgs, Yep!

#126 Reg on 04.10.09 at 12:01 am

#100 taxpayer like you

I’m not disagreeing with you in the least. Change they must, and change they will. I’m only suggesting, as is the article, to let them die would be a LOT more painful than providing them with loans.

#127 Da HK Kid on 04.10.09 at 12:13 am

Garth, liked the draft! I think pro Union or against Union is not the point people should be making here, rather the avg. Joe laborer has been loosing his/her job for decades while cheap labor elsewhere got it done.

Less educated or not, we all owe it to ourselves to reflect on what has happened for those out of work or soon to be to take some responsibility for themselves to understand that we have been both played AND played ourselves by not seeing the end was near.

I will say once again that Stimulus = Protectionism and I fear for the western world they will have no choice but to face the harsh reality that this GREAT RECESSION will be full of wreckage for any labor producing jobs.

Protectionism will only produce so many jobs and they will go to most qualified and willing. These jobs will not be special in any way that a career is but a job just the same to support your family and self.

The damage has been done. The stage has been set for consumer goods being produced abroad and when China is too expensive it’s all in Indonesia or the Philippines.

Garth’s blog is made to put you on the right track and educate you far beyond anything else you could consume elsewhere. Get SMART, have a PLAN!

#128 "Sir" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.10.09 at 12:19 am


…When I am Federal Finance Minister I promise that The Cigarette industry will be banned, every citizen will have free health care, protected by a minimum wage, subdsidized housing for anyone who needs, prison inmates and any addicted druggie will be forced into the Armed Forces… day care and free university education.

it will all be paid for by the legalization and nationalization of marijuana.

As FFM, I will be paid a small % off the top of the marijuana revenues as my wage….so as a prime example for all Canadians by setting a standard of earnings based on merit not entitlement.

#129 Mike in Van on 04.10.09 at 12:41 am

I’m amazed at some of the idiots posting here like Johnny Five and the comingDepression, who seem to gloat and revel in what is happening with the unionized job losses in the auto sector and unions in general. It seems they can’t wait until Canada falls to the lowest common denominator and we sink to the level of India. Well, they can reap what they sow. I’ll probably meet them one day as they serve me coffee in the neighbourhood coffee shop or greet me at Walmart.

#130 Dave on 04.10.09 at 1:04 am


Die you union bastard with no skills, no hope and no future. You don’t deserve $40 an hour for being stupid.

Garth, I know this will never see the light of day, but you should think about it. There really are 2 sides to every coin.


well, at least after all these years you’re not holding a grudge.

#131 Sean in E-Town on 04.10.09 at 5:10 am

#36 Where I work we aren’t union, though we had an annual review it was, a manager later confided to me, done in bad faith, the management tying themselves into knot to keep us all in the middle of the bell-curve and everyone was given the same 2.8%, somewhat galling when inflation was 4.5% Competition sometimes doesn’t improve outcomes to the degree that merits the loss of stability concomitant, I’d say career decisions might fall into that category.

#132 David Bakody on 04.10.09 at 6:40 am

#111 David on 04.09.09 at 9:09 pm

Hi David, it is just not simple ….. CEO’s salaries and bonuses not only went through the roof but to the moon in same period of time. As for our hard working nurses and care givers they still remain overworked and underpaid.

David: If the world wealthiest people parted with 10% of their wealth not one single person on the face of this earth would go without food shelter and clothing! It was the not wages that did the NA auto industry in it was those multi million dollar over educated fart smellers who with all their brains and no wisdom designed and built inferior products coupled with multi million dollar lobbyists who were selling oil/gas and parts. Added to this was another crowed of clowns who allowed other countries to tap into the NA market with their products and bought nothing in return. As far as the working class be-they auto workers, plumbers, electricians or technicians governments and big business continue to claw and eat at their paychecks. Hello David, Garth has pointed out the cost of housing in all these areas where highly paid people choose to live. Another point: I was a mechanical technician receiving about 23$/hr and working contracts and we had to sent electronic equipment out for up to $240/hr …… just take your flat screen in for repair or some sound equipment and stand by for a shock. And another thing, should you ever have to go to court …. be prepared to take a second mortgage on your house! I have already mentioned health care costs so no need to go their ….. oh stopped into Super Store yesterday and a lady mentioned to my wife just how much prices have risen…. and the place was packed just because they are closed for one day! can you imagine a black out for even two days let alone a week!

More later when I have time just how rich the fat cats have become …. but for starters there were 355 less billionaires on the Forbes list this year … Think? betcha not one was a union man/women?

#133 DoWhatIsayNotWhatIdo on 04.10.09 at 6:54 am

Is there something wrong with this, Bill M?

3. Set the interest rate on mortgages at 1-2%…

5. Restore meaningful interest rates on savings accounts

#134 David Bakody on 04.10.09 at 6:56 am

#108 Johnny Five on 04.09.09 at 9:04 pm

Happy Easter Johnny, Hope the Easter bunny puts some grow up sugar in your Easter egg …. because with your attitude working anywhere will be hard task.

Over my 66 years and I am sure even your father and grandfather would agree: Some of most educated people have done the dumbest things and some of the least educated have done the smartest things. Many of our hero’s during WW I & II were just plain country boys with very little formal education and those who returned worked long and hard hours in many unionised factories across this great land so you can express yourself albeit in uneducated inappropriate language.

#135 WillsDad on 04.10.09 at 9:30 am

Look at Alberta. They killed the union liquor jobs, privatizing the liquor industry.

Before that, there were maybe 10 liquor stores in all of Calgary. Lineups were ridiculous, hours sucked, limited selection.

After privatization, stores everywhere, the market sets inventory, and hours suit the customer. And, you’ve got entrepreneurship. Same holds true for the privatization of the driver’s registry. I feel for those citizens of other provinces still dealing with govt run liquor and registries.

#136 Bill-mUskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 9:48 am

#131 DoWhatIsayNotWhatIdo on 04.10.09 at 6:54 am

Nothing whatsoever. Banks have interest on all their loans. Mortgages are for PEOPLE’s HOMES! Get it?

#137 "Sir" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.10.09 at 10:21 am

Conrad Black disagrees with you pansy a$$ eastern, Liberal/NDP belly achers….

“””One thing we do know is that Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty and Bank of Canada Governor Mark Carney have navigated this crisis, so far, as well or better than the leaders of any other important country. They have not over- or under-, prematurely or tardily, reacted; have revised prognoses promptly, preserved their credibility and kept plenty of dry powder to hand. Only Angela Merkel of Germany and Luis Inácio Lula da Silva of Brazil have been comparably effective. The Liberals are not going to reap any harvest of votes on this issue. “””

#138 Rhino on 04.10.09 at 10:47 am

I agree there is a need for a worker’s organisation to protect their rights and working conditions… BUT

My first “real job” after leaving school was in mining, and I became a “proud brother” of (I think)local 5569 United Steel Workers of America.

Then reality hit.

As a stores counter clerk, I was asked to temporarily replace an older high seniority worker entering requisitions into a terminal (my first experience with computers!) in a room with three other “brothers”. After a day and a half, I was visited by the steward, who accused me of trying to steal their jobs, since I, alone, was entering more data in one day than the other three together! Message received, screw the pooch…

Then, transfered to another location, I was almost late for my shift, so I was walking quickly to my counter, when two other “brothers” literally grabbed my shoulders, and stopped me. “Slow down… you are not allowed to run as it is a safety issue”. I was not running, and tried to explain the other “brother” could not leave his post until I arrived. Regardless, they ESCORTED to my work place, and as a result I was 10 minutes late. My pay was docked, and my “brother” got an hour overtime…

I could tell you many more stories, about sleeping on the job, about hiding from supervisors, about informal arrangements with management just to assure function, etc., etc.

Then, working for Siemens, I got the experience of “Shop Associations”. Rather than a HUGE bloody union, worker relations were handled at the site. Much better.

We need a unified front to combat abuse, but huge organisations like CAW. UAW, USWA, Teamsters, etc., have way over stepped their boundaries, and have made our companies uncompetitive.

BTW, the mining company has had to reduce their staff and operations by 1/2, since it is cheaper to get mineral overseas and ship it here, than source it locally.

#139 Rhino on 04.10.09 at 10:52 am

#93 David Bakody on 04.09.09 at 6:36 pm

David – simply an amazingly astute post.

Can anyone explain how our “culture” thinks we have gotten ahead? We have more toys, but where is ourt “freedom”. Hell we do not even have time to enjoy them!

Funny how family, friends, and our own time does nnot matter as much anymore.

Maybe it is time to go back to the farm… Hard work, but…

#140 pbrasseur on 04.10.09 at 11:18 am

Best way to make money building condos these days:

#141 gold bug on 04.10.09 at 11:22 am

Brothers and sisters:

A union protects the lazy, the weak, and the retarded. We come together because our labour and skills are deficient for competing in the free market.

It ups our extortion power, our political influence and the respect we receive from Marxists.

Too many of us – mostly because our monopoly over the workplace caused our companies to be the least competitive in the world – have lost our jobs.

You may have a new house or a car or a boat, had a family and come to expect 6 weeks paid vacation, 15 days sick time and a job for life, only to have the floor drop out from beneath you.

Opportunities will be divvied up according to seniority. We will fight together to improve the lives of every member, except when it’s convenient to sell out the younger workers, in which case we’ll give away all their rights to protect the old, the lazy, and the retarded. ,

This failure’s not ours. Well, we’re not accepting any blame, anyway. Be angry. You earned that self-entitlement when you signed your union card. Then walk out of this hall the same deluded idiotn you were walking in.

Hope this helps a little, Al. Use what you’d like. Take care. — Gold Bug

Walk alone. You have earned it. — Garth

#142 Dan on 04.10.09 at 11:39 am

Many of you hear are so brainwashed by the corporate owned media it is scary. How and why you would have workers attack workers is beyond me. I understand NA are by far the most ignorant brainwashed people in the world but come on you people are really that stupid and brainwashed? FACT when unions were strong CEO’s/upper management made 40 times more then the average worker. Now these same people make 400 times more and now unions are not so strong. Do some of you see the correlation? Also the banks are non-union and look what they did with no one to stop their greed. You talk about so called greedy workers? I see no crys about CEO/bankers/upper management who made 10’s of millions and some even have made BILLIONS. Do you understand that? Look at Nortel when Roth did nothing to add value and walked away with $125 MILLION and the look where NT is today. You stupid Canadians/Americans need to form a labour party for the workers. If you people think you don’t need unions or a labour party then there is no hope for as you as you are brainwashed but don’t even know it.

#143 Bill-mUskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 11:43 am

Megastructures aired a really informative show on the Tar Sands. If you want to really grasp what is happening out there I suggest watching it.

Also, here is a tidbit that exemplifies the sad situation of how Harper thinks.

Feds to deport deadbeat entrepreneurs

Sure, some of them deserve to be deported, but far too many never got the open road opportunity to succeed because of the closet racism that permeates Canada. Hmm…reminds me of the old Chinese Head Tax Canada so proudly had. NOT!

#144 taxpayer like you on 04.10.09 at 12:00 pm

124 Reg. I read the article again. Sorry, I still cant agree with public funds propping up an inefficient industry. However, the writer does provide us with the half scale scenario, which is where I think we’re headed.

My basic arguement against the reasoning is that the economic loss created by letting the industry die is no
more than the economic loss created by the ongoing drain
of public funds to support it. Supporting the industy in this manner simply drags it on indefintely.

I can handle the smaller packages for warranty guarantees, as this is just consumer protection. I’m not sure if guaranteeing the receivables to the suppliers will help if their long term sources of income disappear.

Happy Easter.

#145 Jmack on 04.10.09 at 12:03 pm

Because 25-35 to dollars per hour is much too much to pay someone who has spent 4-5 years learning a trade fixing the problem you can’t fix. 60G’s per year, 500k houses….doesn’t add up to me. Not everyone can afford university or have mommy and daddy paying for it all. Unions wouldn’t exist if people were treated fairly and given the simple things they deserve like healthcare, dental and a few weeks off before they die. A short retirement would be really nice too. Collective Agreements are signed by two parties.

#146 MVW on 04.10.09 at 12:03 pm

It is because of Capitalism we reserve our right to Union Membership. Yet in spite of Union Membership we must permit common sense and rationale to reign.

#147 Bill-mUskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 12:04 pm

#130 David Bakody on 04.10.09 at 6:40 am

Hear! Hear! we got a flyer, very fancy catalogue actually printed in full high-res colour on high grade paper, in the mail yesterday promoting the new D.O.T. line of outdoor furniture. Now what caught my attention was:

1. I have never heard of this company.

2. They seem to present themselves as some type of global leader.

3. Their prices are not just high but assinine.

4. Their alleged website cannot be found, yet they claim to have 23 stores in Ontario.

Comparing their prices to Home Depot’s, WalMArt, etc. made me laugh. It looks like one of the biggest scams I have ever seen. Their products are 6 to10 times the price of their competitors. Bottom line is they appear to be another Ponzi scheme investor group looking to claim Big Box Store status milking the alleged rich and beautiful (you know, the total dumbf**cks that by Gucci and Prada just to brag about how much they paid).

Likewise, the only links that come up using their other url are to Target and Calibex. This seems to be another ‘foreign’ owned outfit attempting to milk consumers. BEWARE!

Reminds me of the cellphone vendor I looked up last week that ships used, broken, and otherwise worthless crap to unsuspecting customers. I ran a check and the number of complaints by those suckered was unbelievable. When I called I got somebody in India with a warning not to disclose any credit card information. Imagine?

#148 R on 04.10.09 at 12:20 pm

Jobs are melting away faster than the wicked witch of the west. So no union verses non union becomes a non issue. I.E. No JOBS… No UNION… PERIOD. I don’t understand why we are spending all this money on retraining. Retraining only works if jobs are available and I don’t see that happening anytime soon ( i.m.o 2015 ) The true survivors of all this will be the people with any form of medical training and the Walmart employees.

#149 Gord In Vancouver on 04.10.09 at 12:27 pm

Happy Easter, folks.

Positive economic news for British Columbia:

Healthy growth in B.C.’s service sector is, to a small extent, offsetting the steep drop in construction employment. The accommodation and food services sector saw employment grow by 7,200 jobs. For any newly unemployed journeyman carpenter who has been longing to become a waiter, that’s great news.

#150 dbg on 04.10.09 at 12:41 pm

Unions were created to protect the worker from poor working conditions(hours, environment, fair pay).

They weren’t created to extort money from companies and government.
We are all paying for the auto workers lifestyle.

Gov’t funding of the auto industry. We all just bought a GMC even if we wanted a Hyundai.

Solidarity………BS. Where is that union like brotherhood when you go out and buy at non union stores and support places like Walmart.
Take and take that’s all they do.

#151 dbg on 04.10.09 at 12:42 pm

The Hyundai was sarcassim……..just so you know.

#152 dbg on 04.10.09 at 12:49 pm


Ya, mommy and daddy usually gets you the union job while some poor sucker spends 60K at university and ends up managing a gas station with a student loan.
Nepotism exists everywhere. Inequality exists everywhere but extortion is only legal in the brotherhood.

#153 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 1:05 pm

#132 David Bakody on 04.10.09 at 6:56 am

Common sense comes from experience, not textbooks.

Like the Old Farmer whose son returned home from university for the summer.

The Old Man said ‘Speak to me in Collegese Son!’

The Son said ‘Pi ‘R squared.’

The Old Man said ‘Ya damn fool cornbread is square, pie are round!’

Having worked with many, many PhD’s I have found about 1-3%, maybe even 5-10% of them have actual value outside of their very narrow field of knowledge.

They become as lost as a blind man in a maze outside their area of study. Some in their field of study are nothing more than parrots of dogma forever worshiping those who came before them, but never questioning the conclusions.

They seem to lack the most fundamental understanding that knowledge and wisdom are two entirely different things.

Which is like the well-known tale of the truck stuck under the underpass. All the ‘experts’ could not figure out how to get it free. Then a little boy on his bicycle came along and said ‘Why not let the air out of the tires?’ It WORKED!!!

Which proves that sometimes you must go down by deflation to move forward! I think there is a lesson in that tale for our current times, eh?

Likewise, those who demand that the old ways be maintained are the real barrier to us moving forward. Imagine all that has happened in just the last century pertaining to labour, labor laws, workplace safety, etc., and yet, there are those living in a mindset that is centuries old. It is just the current version of Meglamaniac Masters over their powerless slaves.

We know better, but will we DO Better? Will people ever learn to simply say ‘No!’ to abusive mangement and bosses. Will they ever bother to learn the labour laws and make them work for themselves? Workers have the tools and management has the responsibility to comply with the laws. Many do right up to the line, but too many still think they are self-authroizing agents for themselves at everyone else’s expense. The only free people I have ever know are those who choose to be free by applying their rights under the law and fighting for the benefit of themselves and others. Again, like Pogo said ‘We has found the enemy and they are us!’

#154 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 1:21 pm

#143 Jmack on 04.10.09 at 12:03 pm

You are quite right…’Collective agreements are signed by both parties.’

So much of the rhetoric is nothing more than the old Redumblican, elitist mantra of calling anything that is ‘collectively good for the people’ SOCIALISM!

What a mindless, non-fiscal approach to building a healthy society these Neanderthals hold as their ideology.

They do not want government involved, no taxation of the rich, UNLESS it is corporate socialism, and protectionistic regulations that insure their unearned profits, etc.

Then, oh YES!, then it is all for the ‘good of the people.’ It is the people on whose backs and tax dollars these scabby freeloaders want to ride.

They never actually sit down and compute the long term costs to society which includes more law enforcement, courts, prisons, health problems, crime, desperation, defaults, divorce, torn apart families and children who carry forth the anger and hate of their parents to the common future, or anything that links their narcissistic actions to the Big Picture of Reality!

It is the worst of both the Caste and Class systems that have harmed the world for centuries. They are without the ability to feel shame. They are the true sociopaths in our world. They create the disparities that cause the problems and then are the first to cry when their little world of selfish elitist isolation is disturbed.

They are portrayed as ‘Movers and Shakers’, people to be worshiped and admired, to be given special consideration solely because they portray the materialistic dementia that has become the norm…UNTIL NOW! They all remind me of the Seagull scene in ‘Finding Nemo’ ‘MINE! MINE! MINE!’

#155 justjanice on 04.10.09 at 1:22 pm

I cannot believe the degree of union bashing on here. People are losing their jobs, people will lose their homes, people will suffer because of the mess that was allowed to develop. We didn’t get here overnight
(although it might have felt like it), and we aren’t going to get out of here quickly either.

Perhaps this disaster will compel unions to go back to their roots – a good protion of unionization emerged during the great depression – for good reasons. When the race to the bottom is done, working conditions may not be what they once were, and there is a floor that should be maintained.

For companies that don’t want unions – the best way to avoid one is to treat staff fairly, with fair pay, fair benefits. I believe WestJet will not have to worry about unionization, purely because of the respect and working conditions it has given to its employees. In return the staff appears to give superior service and the company does not appear to be in any dire straits.

Not all unions support a culture of entitlement and laziness. The unions who work with their employers to navigate the difficult times while protecting the interests of their members (ie. to be employed fairly) are the ones that will survive. The other unions, are likely to see their membership dwindle as their employers become extinct.

Regardless, because we’ve let our social systems run into disrepair (EI is a bit of a laugh in the present context), we are all in this mess. If we’re smart we’ll be able to see that we’ll emerge better if we don’t leave our countrymen hungry and homeless.

#156 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 1:28 pm

#135 “Sir” North Vancouver Citizen Jr.

It figures you would chose to quote one of the most despicable, convicted fraud artists in recent history.

Birds of a feather!

#157 Johnny Five on 04.10.09 at 1:33 pm

Hey Mike in Van,

I have a professional job and make more than those asshats at the cement plant ever did. AND it’s not union. You know why? Because I have a marketable skill, unlike most union employees? Unions that impress me? Skilled labour unions. Fair and set standards. Unskilled labour unions? Extortion and idiocy.

Your marketable skill is what, butchery? — Garth

#158 kitchener1 on 04.10.09 at 1:38 pm

I have no sympathy for the union fools who want us to pay for their pensions. I respect what unions have done, it is because of unions that we have the employment laws we do in place today.

However, unions today have become bloated, inefficent, they spend 90% of their time protecting the worst employees. Seeing fellow employees get away with not working kills the moral of the productive workers and sends the wrong message.

#159 Vancouver_Renter on 04.10.09 at 2:14 pm

In contrast, here’s an example of a NON-unionized work experience I had many years ago:

When I first arrived for a job interview at this manufacturing company, with about 60 employees, I noticed the majority of the workers were young (mid 30s and under) and were literally racing around to get their jobs done. There was excitement in the air and everyone was smiling.

I was intrigued by what I saw and wanted to be on-board. My parents taught me a healthy work ethic and the thought of being on a team of like-minded workers appealed greatly to me.

I ended up working there for many years. I have memories of regularly working many unpaid overtime hours along with my coworkers. We all worked our butts off. Everyone encouraged each other. The management structure was flat, rather than hierarchical, and the management team, owners, and employees all became good friends.

Confrontation was rare. We all helped each other for the good of the company. Senior employees would drop everything to help our a janitor if he needed a hand, and vice-versa.

So much was accomplished daily that you’d go home feeling good about yourself and others.

What is the result of such cooperation and hard work? That little company grew to be a $1/2 billion corporation. A large number of those employees who worked hard to build the company bought a hand-full or more of cheap employee shares in the early days and are now millionaires.

#160 ts harpoon on 04.10.09 at 2:35 pm

No…Don’t do this. I don’t think it is a good idea…

#161 Mike B on 04.10.09 at 3:15 pm

An interesting aside… Outsourcing that is.. I got rid of Bell phone/mid speed internet and opted for the cotsco plan being supplied now by primus. Seems they have decided to end the customer service support line from India and are going all Canadian sources. They just got too many complaints and the were too many cancellations. Not that I am any union guy but it is nice to see the work stay here. Unions should be happy

#162 Argentum Aurum on 04.10.09 at 3:46 pm

BoC appoints David Wolf (Merrill Lynch) as a special adviser. Why if it is all dandy?

#163 conan on 04.10.09 at 3:50 pm

My only experience with being in a union taught me one thing.

The seniority system inherent in unions is a killer of innovation. It also tosses away the young workers as employment collateral damage.

If unions had evolved into a union + merit system instead union + seniority system they would not be on life support right now.

#164 Dan on 04.10.09 at 4:05 pm

“Positive economic news for British Columbia:

Healthy growth in B.C.’s service sector is, to a small extent, offsetting the steep drop in construction employment. The accommodation and food services sector saw employment grow by 7,200 jobs. For any newly unemployed journeyman carpenter who has been longing to become a waiter, that’s great news.”

“For any newly unemployed journeyman carpenter who has been longing to become a waiter, that’s great news.”

What kind of propaganda of lies is this? Longing to become a waiter? Who longs to make min wage plus tips?

#165 jess on 04.10.09 at 4:31 pm

i recommend for a better understanding of what is ahead and i can assure you it has nothing to do with unions people.

assessing the treasury’s plan from the april oversight
report ….this is well worth the read and also includes historical look at past failures

#166 David Bakody on 04.10.09 at 4:59 pm

#137 Rhino on 04.10.09 at 10:52 am

Right on! the more younger people I talk too they all tell me all they do is work and sleep. Soon many will have to find a second job just to make ends meet and then the health/social problems will increase. Our family never made big wages but we all had a life surrounded with family and friends. Family pot luck meals and simple games played by the children while the adults shared a case or two of beer was the order of the day. When we went on some special outing …. it was always a big deal and the memories lasted.

#167 Sail1 on 04.10.09 at 6:31 pm

#143 Jmack

There are many companies that give their employees all type of benefits without being black mailed by unions. This is so evident in the public sector it’s almost criminal. Teachers and transit to name a couple. There are times for unions to be heard, now is not one of them.

#168 confused and a little crazed on 04.10.09 at 7:05 pm

Hi Guys .

since we’re all sharing …my experience with Unions is good and bad . The idea of unions is good to protect the worker from being exploited but somehow it got twisted …now the industry itself is being exploited. It ‘s doesn’t matter which… hosp, Auto , maintenance or cleaning.

I organise events at an hosp …so typically I ask the union crews/ cleaning to help… they rarely show up and when they do they have to stick to a strict schedule of breaks. For example I planning a corp sponsor luncheon of 50 people .I asked the hosp Union Housekeeping dept to send people over for setting up the tables a week ago…they send 3 people over. While we were setting up, myself included, their breaktime arrived…we have 2 tables more to set up…maybe 10 mins max to finish. They just leave everything on the floor and go take their coffee break. It would take 20 mins just to walk back to and from the cafeteria. One guy said let’s finish first but was ignored by the others. I ‘m not saying don’t take a break…just be practical about it

However, once in a while I get couple of really great guys who help, strong and courteous individuals. I usually give them an a unopened beer after the event was over and told them to drink it after their shift…not during. These are good guys.

Another incidence one union housekeeper joined our christmas annual event . It was a big one for about an hundred . I don’t mind him joining in but shouldn’t he Ok it with his supervisor. I would gladly save a plate for him after his shift or lunch …whatever so he joined us for the whole 2 hours and then said he had to leave after the meal to finish work. I ‘m not sure he was even assigned to this building.

However, there are always great people as well. There was this small woman who was very diligent in her duties did it well and occasionall did some extra small things like bring a few extra garbage bags/ bins during special events …make it easier to clean. We do clean after ourselves once we are finished. we just have extra garbage bags to throw out and we did leave extra food and drinks to thank the clean up staff .

Anyways the bottom line is a few bad people maybe 10 % ruin it for everyone else. They have no one to blame but the union management who onus is to protect the lazy members and push the good members to do more…in this false brotherhood/ sisterhood.

Tell me this everyone . would you accept your blood relative, brother do little or no chores while you have to do your share and his as well…no.

then why accept in an union. Of course as you all know the hosp housekeeping is now privatized. The job is done . It’s not done as well as the dilliegent housekeeper but as least its done as opposed to the lazy housekeeper

#169 "Sir" North Vancouver Citizen Jr. on 04.10.09 at 7:38 pm

#154 Bill-Muskoka (NAM)

…it’s all crooked…every party is crooked…every union is crooked.

Regardless of who is in power, they are crooked.

Any power format is on the take.

that is the only point really worth considering.

#170 David Bakody on 04.10.09 at 8:48 pm

#161 conan on 04.10.09 at 3:50 pm

Seniority….. Bad judgement comes from the lack of experience Good judgement comes from experience. Perhaps that is why many children look up to their grandparents …. I remember asking my daughter if she thought her grandfather was a wise man, she said yes he was as was her grandmother. So I said then why do say that other older people are not wise … they are grandparents also? to whit she said never thought about it that way dad, I also asked her if any of her university professors were older people with seniority and she told me most were if not all.

#171 Herb on 04.10.09 at 9:02 pm

Listen here, Chillen, and I’ll tell you about moral equivalence.

Once upon a time there were bad capitalists who exploited workers to the extent possible, making them work long hours in sometimes dangerous situations for as little pay as they could get away with. You see, these capitalists were trying to extract the maximum financial and personal benefit for themselves.

Then the workers in some large shops banded together and formed unions. These unions threatened to close down the shop unless ownership/management got reasonable and gave the workers a fair return for their labour. And many companies paid attention and decided to be reasonable to avoid the strikes and unpleasantness they saw some unionized shops experience. And for a while, everyone worked happily ever after.

Now times are worse and some people are complaining about bad union members who try to get the maximum financial benefit for themselves, at the least personal output, of course. And there is a hue and cry about unions ruining the land.

Now, Chillen, explain to me the difference between an owner/manager trying to maximize the return for himself, and a union member trying to do the very same thing for hisself? Why is one respectable and the other a lout? Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone was reasonable and tried to get along without screwing the other guy, and everybody did try to work together ever after?

#172 Jmack on 04.10.09 at 10:37 pm

DBG, Sorry you couldn’t get into Sciences at University and had to take history instead. At least you will have interesting conversations with the people who’s gas you pump. Skilled Trades will always be in demand, and lucky for all you Arts and History people, the people with real marketable skills will still eat at the restaurant you serve at or grab a coffee from you on there way to do a real job. Workers in China and India will want what most average Joe’s want too. A little slice of life’s pie, and a better life for their families. Live better, Work Union…. How Quickly people hate on the lowly worker for making a living wage, when it’s the greedy CEO’s and Bank Thiefs who should be the target of everyones disdain.

#173 WakeUp on 04.10.09 at 10:45 pm

You wanna talk unions? I know of an IT company that has put people on a temporary layoff. The person can be laid off for 35 weeks without being called back.

Most people would find it hard to wait around for that amount of time so they look for a job in the meantime. If they find one they have to quit the company that laid them off and then the company doesn’t have to pay any severance.

The company is using a loophole to get around paying severance.

I wonder if this would be happening if they were unionized.

#174 Jmack on 04.10.09 at 10:50 pm

Sail1, I fully agree with your comment that many companies treat there employees fairly and do not require unions. In a perfect world, everyone would live happily ever after and care for and respect there brothers and sisters on this planet. This however, is not that case, and everyone is out for themselves and their own personal gain. High housing prices and stereotypical union bashing are just more proof of this. “Screw you for wanting a better life and an extra week off”. Only the rich deserve housing? Only the rich deserve medical and dental? only the rich deserve a decent life?. Love your brother, and respect one another, we are all part of the equation.

#175 dbg on 04.11.09 at 1:14 am

#162 Dan
Yup, waiters want to make min wage. That’s what’s wrong with everybody, they think one profession such as a carpenter deserves to be fully employed and paid handsomely. Sometimes you have to suck it up and pick up a mop and make a little less until the next opportunity comes around. That’s what people do. That’s why the auto workers and mgmt should suck it up and give us our cash back. No sale, no job, no handouts.

#176 dbg on 04.11.09 at 1:28 am

I agree. Let them fall.

#177 Pile_of_little_arms on 04.11.09 at 2:21 am

It’s becoming clear, through reading this perverse fascination with organized Ontario labour and crime, that what is perceived as denial and excessive economic optimism in the Republic of Western Canada is actually a positive, underlying condition of this culture. A substantial number of people have reserves here, either profits taken from sale of RE over the last decade, or savings from cyclic energy infrastructure work and other endeavors, that have not [yet] been squandered.

This contrasts itself with the practice of simply enduring life, living from paycheque to paycheque, and fighting over scraps and residue of the disappearing and soul-killing manufacturing industry of Detroit North.

That makes ubiquitous unemployment and the pending housing crash no less real. However these are not considered to be the same ‘nail in the coffin’ of a capitulated and bankrupt Ontario. Both the spirit of the West and actual physical potential for the future here are much greater.

#178 Glenn on 04.11.09 at 4:42 am

As to the above link, , I would like to say the following.

This is, without a doubt, the crowning glory of what can only be described as overt, wholehearted Canadian fascism. The only thing lacking in the clip is brownshirts marching around burning radios, and TV sets, American flags, and the odd dissenter or two.

If there is any one item that should adorn the grave marker of Canada, this clip is it. I have yet to see anything that typifies the ingrained arrogance, conceit, ignorance, and immaturity of the average Canadian.

So, my hats off to whatever little bolshevik that threw this puff peice together. In 24 months Ill post the clip over the smouldering ruin that is the Canadian ship of state and proclaim “Yes, you were right, it aint Flint…its much worse!”.

#179 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.11.09 at 6:16 am

#152 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 1:21 pm

“They are portrayed as ‘Movers and Shakers’, people to be worshiped and admired, to be given special consideration solely because they portray the materialistic dementia that has become the norm…UNTIL NOW! They all remind me of the Seagull scene in ‘Finding Nemo’ ‘MINE! MINE! MINE!’

I’m NOT Tom D’Aquino and I strongly approve your statement.

Should we blame autoworkers for the current economic mess? I say NEVER … because they played NO PART in PRODUCT DECISIONS, or moving production to right-to- work states, or offshore to produce higher operating margins.

Sample: [ Believe me, I could show thousands ! ]


EV1: GM and Chevron killed the Electric car

Never aired GM EV 1 Commercial [ ! ! ! ]

#180 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.11.09 at 6:27 am

#152 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 1:21 pm

In order to discover a RAT you must observe what comes from the RAT’S ASS, whose only intent is to possibly improve docking facilities for his large yacht. The first Mountbatten met his fate in such a frill.

GM retirees rip Flaherty

Anger sparked over pensions VIDEO

Flaherty says, “I’m the finance minister … we’re announcing the money.” [ $9.2 MILLION for Oshawa harbour cleanup over a 2-year period. ]

#181 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.11.09 at 6:45 am

#153 justjanice on 04.10.09 at 1:22 pm

“Regardless, because we’ve let our social systems run into disrepair (EI is a bit of a laugh in the present context),*** we are all in this mess. If we’re smart we’ll be able to see that we’ll emerge better if we don’t leave our countrymen hungry and homeless.

*** As jokes and laughing matters go, the current ‘system’ is a pitiful and total failure in meeting the most fundamental needs of those people who are in dire straits.

EI claimants face payment delays, ‘please try later’ messages

I’ve never had any doubt Canadians can herd all these incompetent LOCUSTS into a paddock, with Flairity and Finley leading the herd, to provide for their ultimate disposition.

#182 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.11.09 at 7:06 am

E-EYE, E-EYE … OH [ ! ! ! ! ]

It ain’t from Old McDonald, EYEther.

Comments from an E-EYE WORKER …

““I have worked with employment insurance for over 25 years. It makes me very sad to be reading some of the comments posted here yet I totally understand the frustration. I just have a couple of things to say. Firstly, folks, as we all know most all the claims are automated. This we have no control over….so complain as we may…that’s how it is…if you are applying, make sure you read the questions, it amazes me how many claims are delayed due to a question answered incorrectly. Having said that, I know that people are stressed when completing the application however that is one of the problems that continuously happen. Also, ensure that you have that ROE.”***

So, taken in context, not only are these people fully automated, … and you’re given the message, “nothing can go wrong … nothing can go wrong … nothing can go wrong … It has become a ‘new message,’ in that we don’t give a damn … we don’t give a damn, we don’t give a damn.”

It doesn’t bode well for the Harper / Flairity / Finley level of PREPAREDNESS.

*** ROE doesn’t mean ‘ rules of engagement It means RECORD OF EMPLOYMENT, a copy of which should always be near at hand for any anticipated discussions with E-EYE, E-EYE, OH ! ! !

What do I think? I think the sooner these M/fr’s are gone the better!

#183 ally ally oxycontin free on 04.11.09 at 7:27 am

The Record of Employment on the Web (ROE Web)

Again, from the words of an E-EYE, E-EYE, OH !!! [ employee ]

“To the person who said they encountered very bad service, call them on it. I don’t see this situation getting much better in the near future.”

Stay focused on who betrayed you … Tell them!

What is E-EYE, E-EYE, OH ! ! ! telling the CBC ?

”When contacted by CBC News for information on what impact the new staff is having on wait times, an official with the Ministry of Human Resources said it would take at least a day to fulfil the request.

In February, Finley said her department started hiring extra people months ago, including bringing back experienced employees who had retired or were on loan to other departments.”

#184 SURMISE on 04.11.09 at 7:51 am

I believe we can expect this DOOD, who formerly used the talents of Giorno [ Ten-Acres was too young at the time ] would find the current state of the economy far too challenging for his bully-boy tactics.

That doesn’t mean we’re not waiting for a faint overture.

#185 brothers & sisters on 04.11.09 at 8:58 am

Rallies in favor of nationalization of insolvent banks have started in US & Canada.


#186 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.11.09 at 9:45 am

#167 “Sir” North Vancouver Citizen Jr.

Therefore, you are crooked as well, or so it would logically follow based on your own statements?

Reading between the proverbial lines it would likewise be proper to assume your ethics are based on the situation of the moment rather than a set of learned rules of conduct.

Dog eat dog seems to be what you are supporting rather than a civil intercourse within society. Sounds a lot like a real estate agent or lawyer to moi!

This is precisely why we are in the state we are currently experiencing.

#187 DoWhatIsayNotWhatIdo on 04.11.09 at 10:11 am

#134 Bill-mUskoka (NAM) on 04.10.09 at 9:48 am

Nothing whatsoever. Banks have interest on all their loans. Mortgages are for PEOPLE’s HOMES! Get it?

Are you suggesting that the bank is going to subsidize the residential housing market or that the government nationalize the residential housing sector?

Are you for real?

#188 Apocalypse Now on 04.11.09 at 10:17 am

Garth: Once a politician, always a politician! and your heart wrenching but ultimately meaningless speech to the ‘brothers’ proves it to be so. Kinda like FDR’s ‘nothing to fear but fear itself’ crap. I used to work in a restaurant where Buzz Hargrove would come and guzzle bottles of Meursault and Chateuneuf du Pape all on the brothers tab. Union leaders like their political counterparts are scum but they are not the ones to be blamed. The ‘brothers’ and the ‘taxpayers’ deserve exactly the type of leadership they have because it is the brothers and the voters who make not the time to study and understand their government. Representative government was bought at great expense and bloodshed but the modern public is fat and lazy and too stupid to value what they have but sadly not for much longer.

A vigilant middle class is the only barrier against tyrannical megalomaniacal government and the middle class, blue collar or white collar, has been too busy pretending to be royalty with their 6 bedroom and 7 bathroom mansions that they have put all their energy into acquiring. Well they are not royalty and real royalty does not like to share the wealth or to spread the wealth and now we have come full circle where the financial royalties of the world have decided to take back what they perceive to be theirs alone and bring back the time tested governance model of feudalism. Whether you believe it is being done by design or by accident, it matters not a whit! The fact of the matter is that in the years ahead (no more than a decade) the middle class will be a distant memory, all that will be left will be the very wealthy few and many many serfs who will exist only to do their bidding.

Let’s forgo all the fancy speeches, let’s get realistic that things are going to get a whole lot worse before they get better, if they get better. No fancy speeches are gonna save the brothers now!

Always nice to hear from a Communist. — Garth

#189 robert j on 04.11.09 at 10:48 am

The real problem with real estate purchasing is ” looming on the horizon “. Interest rates at virtually all time lows will encourage buying today… but …. when the interest rates take off as they surely will, some really BIG HURT will happen. Never forget the early 80’s when mortgages were in the 15 % plus range. High Unemployment and forthcoming High Interest Rates are a recipe for disaster………

#190 Alberta Girl on 04.11.09 at 10:55 am

I normally don’t like unions, I have been union and non union and I find unions really don’t do anything for hard working deserving people, they prootect uneducated, lazy people that don’t actually want to work hard to get ahead! However, with that said, GREAT speach Garth, it should apply to ALL WORKERS, union or non union. We all should stand beside eachother and help our fellow man, when we can, through these hard times. When it all comes crumbling down, what do we really have but each other?

#191 Alberta Girl on 04.11.09 at 10:56 am

Yes, I know, I had a spelling mistake….perhaps I am the uneducated one (or just typing too quickly)

#192 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.11.09 at 11:07 am

Some thoughts to ponder!

The Fed, the Banks and Corrupt Politicians – Here’s THE Solution!

What banks don’t want us to know, is that money is created out of thin air, in response to the demand for borrowing. They are allowed a 10:1 loans to “assets” ratio. The borrower provides the credit, down payment and asset that give money value. Banks provide no good and valuable consideration.

A dollar is a debt instrument with interest attached. We are doomed to bubble and bust cycles, because you will always reach a point in any economic expansion when you run out of borrowers to create enough new money to cover the interest on the old. It’s a Ponzie scheme.

The banks know this and take full advantage. The faux crisis was planned and executed by the Fed and their member banks. The Fed is NOT a government agency. (See the Federal Reserve Act of 1913,) It’s a privately owned bank cartel, run and owned mostly by foreign banks and their royal/elite owners.

The money “loaned” to homeowners costs the banks nothing; when they foreclose they get whatever they get for the house plus the borrower’s down payment and a tax write-off for the “loss”. It’s an act of fraud.

The current crisis has us borrowing from the Fed so we can pay it to “bail out” their member banks and which we then get to pay back to them with interest! It’s a twofer!

How did this happen?

The big banks and the Fed set up the little banks like Washington Mutual and Wachovia and the big Wall Street firms, incl. AIG, Lehmann Brothers and Merrill Lynch so they could be gobbled up at our expense.

Last year, we paid $451 Billion in interest alone to these people, about $1500 per person. Since 1988 it’s been over $7 Trillion in interest!

#193 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.11.09 at 11:11 am

Are you for real?
#185 DoWhatIsayNotWhatIdo on 04.11.09 at 10:11 am

Are you? Which is more important to you…people or money?

#194 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.11.09 at 11:15 am

A solution that has worked:

The solution is “Public Capitalism”. North Dakota has had this since 1919; a state bank that lends to the state, counties, cities and towns at 0%. It also lends to worthy businesses. With a pop. of 700K it has a surplus of $1.2 Billion, low unemployment and rising wages. If we take back the power of money creation under the constitution, we can eliminate interest payments and make the economy sustainable, because every dollar created won’t have interest attached. The creation of money is the sole domain of the people in the Constitution. We have the ability to fund the cost of government at all levels and eliminate all taxes. When money is created/loaned by the state to the private sector and paid back, the principal and interest can be used to pay the cost of government. The money would circulate over and over without being depleted by taxes and interest on government borrowing, instead of going offshore.

All we have to do is FIRE THE BANKS! Withdraw our money from the banks, and put it into credit unions, the banks will fail and the FDIC will have to take them. We can put the banks below the 10:1 loans to assets ratio to trigger the FDIC to take them over and Nationalize them without politicians having anything to say about it.

#195 Eduardo on 04.11.09 at 12:56 pm

We can all agree that unions appeal to the lowest common denominator and drive people to strive for the bottom rather than the top.

#196 dbg on 04.11.09 at 4:27 pm

“Skilled Trades will always be in demand”

You’re a walking contradiction.

Logic 100 or Critical Thinking 101 may aid you in your formulation of how the economy works.
Or maybe your a “One Skill Bill”.


#197 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.11.09 at 5:31 pm

We can all agree

#193 Eduardo

No, YOU may hold that view, but all of US do not necessarily. No more than saying a particular race, gender, religion, national origin, or other specific characteristic is 100% applicable. Anti-Union BIGOTRY would be the proper term.

The REAL world is many shades of GRAY, not Black and White like so many ass-u-me! Only in Rush Limburger’s inane and insane world do such statements bear weight.

#198 DoWhatIsayNotWhatIdo on 04.11.09 at 6:01 pm

#191 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.11.09 at 11:11 am

Are you? Which is more important to you…people or money?

How about BOTH, Bill, people and money. It is what this forum is about isn’t it – people and money? It’s a thing called the economy.

Nationalization of the housing industry so people can have a home?

What’s next? Nationalization of the automotive industry so people can have a car?

Nationalize health care? Oh, wait! we already have that!

Maybe we should nationalize labour and everyone is paid at the same level – the minimum wage.

Thanks Bill but I ain’t like living in your world.

#199 dd on 04.11.09 at 7:03 pm

#126 “Sir” North Vancouver Citizen Jr

… Unions … free health care, protected by a minimum wage, subdsidized housing for anyone who needs… free university education….

Sound like this is what unions strive for. Why replace it with you?

#200 taxpayer like you on 04.11.09 at 7:46 pm

192 Bill NAM – The solution is “Public Capitalism”.

All you’ve described is a type of bank. Money comes in (its actually created) then it goes out in loans and comes
back in payments, out in loans again – and some at zero
interest. So its not even a very profitable bank.

So the principal just goes back and forth. Where is the
money for the public purse? From the zero interest?

Bill, I’ll write this one off to just a poor description, but I have noticed you’ve been a bit of a train wreck lately. Can we try to keep it on the rails? Thanks.

#201 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.12.09 at 10:58 am

#198 taxpayer like you

Obviously, you lack a comprehension of the ‘income’ banks derive from their many varied channels.

#202 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.12.09 at 11:01 am

#196 DoWhatIsayNotWhatIdo

Well, actually you are, but you have no control over things because instead of a Common Good approach we have a Privization for the Few approach. Good luck!

#203 taxpayer like you on 04.12.09 at 5:50 pm

201 Bill NAM

I can comprehend what the banks make. But the bank you propose makes no, or little interest, and doesnt have credit cards – or does it? How do the provincial and local governments make their payments on their loans? Seems to me they would have to tax me. How does your bank pick and choose who to loan money to? Who are these “elite” companies?

I checked the Bank of North Dakota website. Its nothing
like you propose. It gives very specific loans under certain conditions. Sure it makes money. Why wouldnt it?
They run it like a bank!

Now I’m all over Credit Unions. I belong to two. Funny
thing though – their products and rates are little different
than the banks. Sure I get a piece of the action – a
dividend – just like I do if I own bank stock. It is much
nicer to have that head office in your home town rather than TO of course, which is why I invest there.

But your rants have been losing steam. Dont try to compete with NVC – you look silly. I used to agree with
90% of your posts, but lately Ive been skipping
them……..not worth the read……

Happy easter

#204 Bill-Muskoka (NAM) on 04.13.09 at 7:44 am

#203 taxpayer like you

The reference I used to the North Dakota Bank was from the article I linked to.

As to the credit card income for banks. Visa and Master Card established a world wide system which banks purchase a license to participate in. The parent companies (VC and MC) charge exhobitant interest rates and therefore have a built in means to protect profits, which the banks share in. It is a model for organized crime. ‘A piece of the action’ as they used to say! LOL

Now, that is merely one aspect, add to that all the service charges, and especially NSF charges. I had a friend who used to deliver pre-printed forms to major banks. They delivered sometimes two truckloads per day of just the NSF forms.

So tally up that income and mortgages are a small part of the ‘banking picture’ despite their being one of the most visible forms of bank activities.

Anyway, hope I have cut down your reading time?

#205 Fed-UPS on 04.13.09 at 3:23 pm

he difference between a union and a blood sucking
parasite is one stop sucking when you smack at it.
I remember during one summer I was working at a
unionized grocery store, a girl came to work and fell ill after an hour. So she went home and took rest of the week off. The following Thursday she got a paycheck for 15 cents. Apparently the Union deducted their mininum $5.75 union dues from her what’s left of her after taxes $6/hr pay.