Jobs, jobs, jobs.
The phone rang, and it was a recording. The voice told me that I am invited to a rally where our “future” Premier Jason Kenney will host the Premier of Ontario to discuss a united front to stop the job-killing hated Carbon tax. Yeah, I whispered, we badly need jobs. Every day I see people losing their jobs here and everywhere else, and places like the Crowsnest Pass are shrinking. The cities gain more homeless and others who need Social Assistance. The Carbon Tax is hated by the Koch brothers and the other oil sands owners but will not solve the lack of jobs issues.
I go back in memory, a privilege that is reserved for old people like me. The year was 1970, and I went to the supermarket. The manager stopped for a chat. Our cashiers, he said, are second to none and they are highly paid. You must be pretty smart to know every item in the store, prices, codes and know what is on sale. He went on to describe some more positions, and I came out with a new appreciation for the people who serve me at the store. It was a short time later that barcodes and scanners were introduced. A worker pushed my cart to the parking lot and placed my groceries carefully in the trunk of my car. I stopped at the Gas Station, where a familiar person filled my gas, checked the oil and cleaned my windshield and then I went to the bank. The bank had four tellers and a supervisor. I came home and checked my mailbox where the Postman left the mail and took the milk that the milkman left in the milkshute to the fridge. Now I watched the news. Every station and each newspaper had reporters in every part of the world.
Later that night I paid an attendant at the hospital parking when I was visiting a friend and stopped at A&W where a young woman brought my order to my car window. The girl took my cash and cleared my tray away. There were no self-serve places. On the way home I passed by a few family grocery stores, laundry mats, and family restaurants. Every second or third corner had a garage with a gas station and the familiar barbershop Barber’s pole red, white and blue twirling. I looked around with satisfaction and confidence. It was easy to start a little business and jobs were everywhere. People worked in manufacturing, others in government jobs and thousands were busily fixing things instead of selling new “made abroad” items that will be thrown away in short order.
There was competition everywhere driving the economy forward. The little family owned businesses competed with each other on providing better service and downtown offered competition between the big stores, Hudsson Bay, Woodwards, Woolco, Woodwards, Kmart, Eatons, Simpsons Sears, and other names I have forgotten. It was Capitalism that we were proud of.
There were a lot of jobs around that were not very productive. I remember people doing personal business on work time, and we all complained about it. The small business owners very often were bitter over the fact that others in big unionized outfits got away with working ideal shifts and not doing much. Adjustments had to be made, and they were. Life is meant to be a struggle, and nothing remains the same for long.
The big crunch came somewhere in the eighties. It was gradual and hard to follow. The obvious fact was that we shifted emphasis from providing jobs and a reasonable standard of living for the majority, and highlighted a need to make everything more efficient. Slowly the little businesses disappeared and were replaced by big corporations. Made in Canada or the USA items became hard to find, and big stores were closing down to be replaced by chain big box stores from other places. Automation took over most of the working class better-paying jobs leaving people with average ability barely able to make ends meet.
Some of us went to upgrade skills, but there were so many who lacked the ability and often fell back on already strained safety nets called social security. We began to have surplus people. Combine this with changes in agriculture, loss of fisheries and newly developed building and manufacturing methods, and we were in trouble. Predatory Capitalism was born.
Instead of figuring out solutions we took the easy way out and moved production to places with lower labor costs. No-one was willing to admit that our efficiencies outstripped our needs and that the few people who made it to the top of the food chain no longer needed the billions of people who didn’t. No-one was dealing with the fact that the price we may end up paying for all the advances may be the end of the world as we know it.
Now I see Mr. Doug Ford on a stage proclaiming. My friends, we will beat the job-killing Carbon Tax and get Justin Trudeau's hands out of our pockets. Help is on the way. His one step of pulling Ontario out of the Cap And Trade agreement already costs Ontarians three billion dollars. Now he wants to help me save less than $6 on my energy bill per month to create jobs?
If Mr. Ford wants to help Alberta, I have a better suggestion. Why does he not use his influence down east, get together with the new premier of Quebec, and allow an Energy East pipeline to supply Alberta oil to the rest of Canada. An energy independent Canada could export excess refined in New Brunswick oil to Europe, and we could all be happy.
Above all, we would not purchase oil from terrible places and not create pollution transporting the oil halfway around the world. Come on Mr. Kenney, show your skill and get your friend Doug to help us where we need help. There are lots of jobs in building a pipeline, aren’t there?