Month: June 2016

Brexit, Stage Left

By Vexels GroovyGraphics (Own work) via Wikimedia Commons

As stated in the article, I wrote this back in January 1999 on a web site called “Take One!”:

“We believed that once the recession was over, people who were let go would be rewarded for their sacrifices with a job market that was growing again. Well, things are better, according to the economists. Our economy expands at the time of this writing (January 1999) at an average of over 2%. Yet the downsizing continues. If you read the paper, you already know this to be true. If it’s not a mining company closing down, it’s a government department downsizing, or a factory that has gone to Mexico because of the free trade agreement.

So why the layoffs still?

I suspect that Corporate Canada has opted to make more money by cutting expenses rather than raising sales. It is the path of least resistance. It’s much easier for a company to tell an employee to clear out his or her desk than it is to design a better product that is higher in quality and lower in cost for consumers.

But this way of getting a bigger profit has a high cost. It downsizes an individual. There’s not much value left to a man or woman who loses the ability to earn an income, and cannot afford a place to live, food to eat, and clean clothes to wear.”

I wrote this in response to the growing transcendence of corporations over the will of elected governments, and the establishment of free trade zones that take local jobs out of the economy (resulting in increased unemployment and reduced tax revenue).

For posting this online, I was called a cultural xenophobe and an isolationist.

Fast forward 16 years. How you like me now? The North American Free Trade Act may have made a lot of money for corporations and Mexican workers, but it became the first of many tools used by companies to do more with less. Then there’s the EU, of which Britain has voted to leave via the Brexit referendum.

Good for them. The EU is a horrible example of an economic union that not only restricted trade through a hideously thick layer of bureaucracy, produced by nonelected officials housed in Brussels, it also whittled away the sovereign right of each member nation to determine their political direction unfettered. This was never the intention of the EU in the first place. It was to promote free trade. Not dictate immigration policies that destroy economies and social neighbourhoods. Not add a new layer of taxation that impacts the poor. It most certainly not draft plans for a secret army that would police the entire union. Perhaps even force members to adhere to EU policy or prevent members from leaving the union down the road?

The right of a nation to decide its political course and the right of the individual to determine a future through employment are intertwined. Britain now can decide who it can trade with, has complete control over what current and future tax levels it can set and what product standards it can adhere to. A free market, and I mean a truly free market, not a economic union pretending to be the United States Of Europe, allows personal initiative through the seizing of ample opportunities.  This translates into strong economic growth, healthy job creation, increased tax revenue and improved social programs.

It’s a no brainer, and Britain made the smart move. Jolly good show!

Thanks for reading!



The New Abnormal.

If there was a parallel negative universe, my doppelganger would be gainfully employed, getting along great with his family and absolutely rocking the Santa Claus look. Made with the Lunapic web service! Permission to use this image freely without restrictions provided credit is given to the author (David Alan Gay)

When my father passed away I said to my friends I had to get used to a new normal in my life. I lost a parent, someone who raised me, worked hard to ensure his family was provided for, taught me to always be a law-abiding citizen even during my darkest times.  I still miss my father dearly even after all the years that have passed, but the new normal I spoke of earlier became THE normal.

This transformative definition of what is normal for me appears to be more fluidic than I imagined, as demonstrated yesterday when a friend of mine and her boyfriend treated me to lunch and later a movie on my birthday, which was June 9th.

Since I treat my job search as an actual job, I didn’t do one that day: it is a rule of mine not to look for work on Sundays, holidays and my birthday. I slept in until 8:30 a.m., went to the library to use the wireless before being picked up by my friend and her boyfriend. We went to the Angel’s restaurant on Weber and then saw a matinee showing of Captain America: Civil War. While it was a great movie, forgive me for going full comic book nerd mode but the original Marvel miniseries it is based on is far better.

I enjoyed myself that day. My stress level was down for a change and I had a chance to really laugh and be free of worry. It also felt very weird. Abnormal.

I’m so used to waking up at 6:30 in the morning to go to Tim Hortons and later the library for what to me appears to be an exercise in futility that would rival even what Sisyphus had to put up with: my job search. I’m so used to arguing with friends and family members about having to watch my spending and why I haven’t find work yet, trying to explain to them how ageism and the jobless recovery are affecting my job search. I’m so used to doing all of that EVERY DAY it seems…normal…even though I had one day to live like a normal person should, free of this stress and not having to worry about a very uncertain and scary future.

How abnormal is that?

Thanks for reading!