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Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Locked Out

A group of union workers have taken over a closed auto parts shop after being denied severance pay. This, and another plant had shut down after disputes between the owner and Chrysler. Chrysler had publicly stated that they were debating pulling out of Canadian operations unless union workers would make "substantial concessions." The workers, fearing that they would lose all negotiating power, have welded the doors shut from the inside and refuse to come out until their demands are met. Since the company had made parts for Chrysler, the industrial giant had attempted to retrieve some of it's tools; this was met with the workers blockading the trucks and refusing entry to the complex.

This is the latest sign of the weakening economy, as the working man is the casualty while the company cut their losses, and leave. This may have been to extreme for most but desperate times call for desperate measures. Is this the right thing to do, or is it only hurting their cause? Is this actually a sign of desperation or evidence of unions coddling their members? Either way it will be interesting to see where this goes. My opinion is that this kind of thing was bound to happen and is a sure sign of the tough times. Nobody is really at fault here, as the companies are bankrupt and the workers are broke and jobless; just another sign of tough times.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

An American in Canada

On February 20th the 44th US president visited Ottawa. The main message of the visit was to promote cooperation and friendly relations between allies. Some of the major issues that came up during discussions was the mission in Afghanistan, the economy, and clean energy. Though the some party officials say that this meeting had many positive answers and a good relationship between the two leaders, how many questions were answered for the Canadian people still remains to be seen.

Any awkward and tough questions were dodged by either leader. When it came to the mission in Afghanistan Obama stepped in and said “I certainly did not press the Prime Minister on any additional commitments beyond the ones that have already been made,” he said, adding he only complimented Canada on its troops there, and the 108 who have fallen." Harper has stated that the main goal is now training the Afghan army to assume the mission. It seems the Obama does want the army to remain a bit longer however does not want to push one of the few countries that maintains friendly relations with the US.

The second issue, the economy, was met with Obama pleading Canadians not to enter protectionism but instead encouraged global stimulation, as well as playing down his desire to revamp the NAFTA agreement.

The environment was the final issue and was largely ignored by the president as Harper was calling for a joint- pact on Greenhouse- gas emissions and energy. Obama said that the US must first work out it's own system before joining in any North American system. “We'll be looking ourselves for our own sake at opportunities for harmonization to make our policies as effective as they can [be],” he said. This seems to portray, in my opinion, this is a lack of effort on the American President. The Canadian PM is showing honest effort but continues to be ignored.

In all I believe this visit needed to be done however it did not answer enough questions to qualify as a successful trip. These two leaders need to be a little more honest with those who put them into office and stop dodging any questions that might bring up controversy. If democracy is about the people then the people need to remain informed and this meeting, I believe, showed that in full.