Canada’s manufacturing sector has—like manufacturing in many of our Western allies—been on a long-term decline.
That decline is due in large part to the corrupt corporate and business elites, who sold us out for cheap labour in China, in effect exporting our manufacturing capacity to foreign nations.
As a result, entire sections of our nation have been hollowed out, with good-paying jobs often replaced with either low-paying precarious work or by nothing at all.
And the dignity and pride that came with manufacturing something real and tangible has been lost as well.
It’s no coincidence that the areas of our country that have suffered the most severe manufacturing job losses are also the communities where despair and opioid epidemics are the highest.
We kept getting told that more “free trade” and endless international trade deals would fix it all, while our domestic economy was ignored. Yet, while trade has brought some benefits, the downsides have been all-too-often ignored.
And now, Canada is losing even more of our manufacturing sector.
The Canadian auto industry has been hit hard in recent years, and some of the largest losses have been in Oshawa, Ontario.
As reported by the Toronto Sun, “The lights will start to dim this week at the General Motors Oshawa Assembly plant, and the last vehicle is expected to come off the line Thursday.”
2,500 workers will lose their jobs just before Christmas.
Workers at the Oshawa Car Assembly have been building cars since 1907, and the plant was building GM vehicles since 1918.
Now, over 100 years of Canadian history is being taken away.
This is a sad day for Canada, and a horrible day for the workers and families who are being hurt.
Slowly but surely, Canada’s ability to produce tangible things is being stripped away. We can see it happening dramatically in the West, with our energy industry under siege and over 100,000 energy sector jobs lost in Alberta, which has taken a massive toll on communities across the province.
Now, some might chime in and say “this is the price of free trade,” and it’s “the modern economy,” but that’s BS.
The idea that a country can succeed in the long-term with only low-wage jobs “producing” intangible things is totally false. Not only does it devastate communities by destroying high-wage jobs, but it is a serious national security risk.
If countries like China have such a massive manufacturing base while we and our allies have almost none, does anyone really think that will turn out well?
And does anyone really believe that a country can remain strong when workers are increasingly seen as disposable and desperate?
That’s why the closure of the Oshawa Car Assembly Plant, and the ongoing struggles in Canada’s energy sector are such a big deal, and why we need to turn the economic tide back in favour of Canadian workers before time runs out.