Sunday, March 15, 2009

Whatever the Pollyanna pronouncements of our federal Conservative government the worldwide recession/depression continues to strike here in Canada. Recent statistics show a massive rise in unemployment last February. Here's the story about job losses from the CEP News.
Canadian Job Losses Mount, Unemployment Rate Soars to Five-Year High:
(CEP News) - The Canadian economy continued to shed jobs at a fast pace in February, while the unemployment rate rose to its highest rate since mid-2003, Statistics Canada reported.

The economy shed 82,600 jobs and saw its unemployment rate climb 0.5 percentage points to 7.7%, its highest rate in more than five years.

Economists had expected a loss of 55,000 jobs, and a rise in the unemployment rate to 7.4% from 7.2% in January.

January's decline of 129,000 jobs was unrevised. Since October, Canada has lost 295,000 jobs, or 1.7% of the workforce, StatsCan noted.

Statistics Canada's Labour Force Survey released Friday showed the decline in employment came as 111k full-time jobs were lost, while part-time employment edged up.

The construction sector saw a decline of 43k jobs, while 31k jobs were lost in professional, scientific and technical services. Another 15,000 were lost in educational services, bringing the total declines since October to 44,000 jobs.

The bulk of job losses were once again in Ontario, which lost 35,000 jobs, primarily in construction and finance, insurance, real estate and leasing, StatsCan said. Alberta saw its employment drop by 24,000 jobs, while 18,000 positions were lost in Quebec.
By Stephen Huebl,;,
edited by Sarah Sussman,;
Beyond the cold hard statistics here's how Canadian labour sees this situation. From the Canadian Labour Congress, via the Canadian Union of Public Employees(CUPE).


Lost: 83,000 jobs:
They can't have gone far. They were here a month ago. CLC President Ken Georgetti warns the recession will get worse if the government doesn't fix EI.

Today's news is all about new unemployment statistics which show that the unemployment rate has gone up half a per cent in two months.

According to the CLC's analysis of the announcement:

*The unemployment rate is up, now at 7.7% (it was 7.2% in January).
*The unemployment rate is back to where it was in July 2003, more than five years
*The number of Canadians who lost their job last month: 83,000.
*The number of full-time jobs lost last month: 110,000.
*The number of full-time jobs lost so far this year: 225,000.
*Canadian workers who have lost their jobs since October 2008: 295,000.
*Canada now has over 1.4 million unemployed men and women. This represents an increase of 23% since last October.
*The construction sector was hardest hit in February, as were men aged 25 to 54. Young workers also took a hit last month, pushing their unemployment rate to 14.2%, the highest since 2001.

The Congress is organizing rallies March 21 to protest job loss and government inaction on EI.

Finally, here's yet another view, this time that of Larry Gambone of the Porkupine Blog. This is a libertarian socialist view of our crisis and it points the way to other solutions to the crisis rather than what has been proposed by our political elites.
Two Thoughts On Unemployment:
Mass unemployment is caused by governmental and corporate policies and actions. It is social in origin and is never the fault of its victims, the now-jobless workers. Yet, that is precisely how the unemployed are treated by the authorities. They are forced to search for work and to engage in job-finding classes if they wish to collect unemployment insurance – for the minority fortunate enough to qualify. People who refuse are punished by having their meager benefits cut off. They did not cause the problem, but, in practice, they get the blame. Examine the logic behind it by this analogy. I assault you, yet the police don't arrest me, they arrest you. What happens to the unemployed in our system is a form of sociopathic inversion, where the perpetrator of a heinous crime blames his victim for what he did. Meanwhile, the guilty parties – the CEO's and politicians – still get their high salaries and perks. Those who caused the problem ought to be the ones to rectify it. They should be the ones finding you a job, and if they can't find one, pay you an income until they do.

Thing is, every unemployed person grumbles about their situation, yet no one seems ready to pin the blame where it ought to go. During our previous big economic crisis in the 1980's, groups organized unemployed workers. But they concentrated on helping the unemployed combat the Unemployment Insurance bureaucracy, certainly a worthy act, but shied away from directly confronting the system. Hopefully the situation will be different this time around.
2. It has always angered me that whenever an industry closes in a small town the locals are expected to pull up stakes and move elsewhere to find work. How about the work coming to them instead? Now many people will regard this as a ludicrous question, and the fact that they do, shows the great extent to which people are expected to serve the economy rather than the economy serving them. What is an economy really for anyway, but to provide people with necessary goods and services? An economy is a means to fulfill needs, not a end in itself, or rather it ought to be so, if a society is supposed to exist for human beings.

Uprooting masses of people and forcing them to follow the dollar destroys community. It is natural to live among people you know, it is natural to have roots. This is the way we lived for thousands of years, and only under capitalism have we been forced to scurry from place to place like lemmings. Peasants and First Nations peoples would rather die than give up the places where their ancestors lived. In small towns across the "developed" world some of this sentiment still lingers in the sadness of leaving.

The destruction of community brings with it a host of costly social problems not factored into the economic calculations of the MBA and state bureaucrat. And when the migrants flood into the new boom towns, they bring their problems with them, as well as putting stress on housing, public services and infrastructure. All totaled, it probably is not that more expensive to leave people where they are and start new industries to employ them. Of course, we would need a new kind of economy – one based upon need and solidarity rather than the greed and lust for domination of a handful of narcissists and sociopaths.


Poumista said...

Off topic: Thanks for the link Molly. Have reciprocated.

Btw, am not a "Trotksyist" blog. I see Trotism as the gentler face of Stalinism. I'm more in the democratic/libertarian socialist tradition.

Some of my @-related stuff here: Anarchists « Poumista

mollymew said...

Sorry, my mistake. It's been corrected. I did indeed have some difficulty categorizing your blog.
Re Trotskyism and Stalinism how about "Attila the Hun with good table manners" ?