This election is about our jobs and our pay
Published: September 8, 2008
Canadian Labour Congress
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For working people, there's a lot at stake in this election.
Our jobs – the prospects for our communities, the quality of life of our
families – should be top of mind for every political party and every
politician out there. All over the country.
We need a federal government with a vision for Canada’s future, for
fostering the creation of good-paying jobs in a changing economy.
Every week seems to bring a new announcement of job losses and plant
This week it was the John Deere plant in Welland, ON. Last week it was
300 jobs in the tiny community of Lavington in British Columbia’s
interior: the glass plant is closing. The same company also announced
earlier this year the closure of its plants in Scoudouc, N.B and in
Each time, one wonders if the federal government cares except at
In July, Canada lost 55,000 full-time jobs. In August, we are seeing no
real sign of recovery. In the major urban areas, between November 2002
and July 2008, Toronto has lost 93,000 jobs. Montreal – 70,000 jobs.
Edmonton – 16,000 jobs. Victoria – 5,100 jobs. Halifax – 1,700 jobs.
Those jobs offered, on average, wages of $21 per hour plus benefits and
pensions. The family-supporting jobs seem gone for good, given the
government's lack of action to address the crisis both in the
manufacturing and forestry industries.
In a time that is the greatest period of growth and prosperity since the
depression, most working Canadians saw their wages grow an average two
cents an hour a year, adjusted for inflation. That is 50 cents per hour
over 25 yeras. Yet, in the calendar year, the top CEOs and the elites
make more by lunchtime on January 2 than most of us make in a year.
Yes, we need a federal government with a vision – a vision to help our
vital sectors save and create jobs. A vision that will develop new jobs
– good- paying green jobs and make Canada a global leader in
environmental technologies – and to help workers and their communities
adjust to changes in the economy. A vision that addresses the inequities
in the Employment Insurance program and uses its massive surplus to make
it easier for women to access benefits, to help workers who want to
relocate and to provide support to those who need retraining or want to
train for new jobs.
We need a federal government that puts Canadian workers first, with
Made- in-Canada procurement policies, like they do in the United States.
We need a federal government committed to investing in municipal and
public transportation infrastructure. We need a government that puts the
safety of the public first with government inspectors and safety
officers, and not industry regulating itself.
We need a federal government that cares about our jobs and our pay
cheques, not the profit-margins of the already rich. We need a federal
government that cares about the prospects for our communities and the
quality of life of our families. We need a federal parliament that works
for working Canadians.