This article by the folks with The Bullet (Leamington: Ripe for a Cooperative) is exceptional in how it recounts the basic issues associated with damn near everyone involved with the closure of the tomato plant in Leamington.
The Wynne government, constantly working on damage control as opposed to vision, has nothing to offer.
The Cons want to exacerbate the situation and pit every Joe against every Jack, Jane and Jim by proposing ‘Right to Work’ legislation, AKA race to the bottom rules (search ‘Detroit Bankrupt’ for a good example of the outcome of this philosophy).
And the NDP and labour are simply looking for handouts to, ironically, give to their corporate enemies.
The Bullet recommends a totally different option: a cooperative. Why we don’t have more cooperatives in this country, I do not understand, but this situation is definitely ripe for creating a shining example of why we should have hundreds of owners of our enterprise instead of one.
Think about the hundreds of times you’ve heard about a ‘one-horse town’ shutting down because a company is fed up with ‘red tape’ (aka environmental or anti-pollution rules) or labour laws (aka paying people decent wages).
And think about the hundreds of times these companies were the first in line collecting corporate welfare from local, provincial and federal governments desperate to create a ‘feel good’ story about the economy.
It’s time we stopped this endless parade of short-sites economic planning and took a turn in a brighter direction.
There are thousands of coops in Canada, but there just aren’t enough.
Also, when a company rides into town promising a life-time of wages and stability in exchange for tax concessions, free land and other benefits, we need to change the rules so that the run in our favour.
When a company like Heinz shuts their doors, the property that they work from should be declared public property in exchange for all of the benefits that they’ve received. Roads to their operation, water for their processing and electricity to keep everything humming are all examples of public services being delivered at generous rates in exchange for the promise of continued employment.
Once those promises evaporate, so too do the property rights. They should be handed over to the next option which, based on my argument, would be about 800 potential new owners of the canning facility.
I know … it’s wild and wacky communism, so I’m open to ideas about how to tone it down, but I thoroughly believe that we are at a crossroads in our economic development. We can either choose to continue to be slaves to an outdated and inefficient model or we can move forward with some ideas about how our economic structures can also be environmental, social, personal and professional without destroying our planet.