July 18, 2022

Prices, Inflation and Greed & How to Use Abandoned Malls

By admin

Grocery Stores Jacking Prices Beyond Inflation

While many folks – including Con leadership candidates – love to blame Trudeau for international price increases (I truly admire that our country’s leader has that kind of influence!), the reality is that GREED is a key driver with increases in prices, from gas to home products to something we all need: FOOD.

The Toronto Star recently published an article about Loblaw, Sobeys and Metro profit margins are rising faster than inflation. These three companies account for 3 out of every 5 dollars spent on groceries in Canada and it’s clearly too tempting for them to bump up prices a little more than needed in order to add to their bottom line.

This is the high cost of allowing monopolies to continue in Canada, unchecked and without any kind of oversight.

This concentration of economic power puts downward pressured on wages and also on revenue generated by suppliers.

The answer’s VERY simple: Canadians need to grow, manage and distribute more of their own food for their own mouths.

Lawn ‘Victory Gardens’ can generate an enormous amount of plant-based food for a family of four and bigger projects like greenhouses and indoor grow lamps can extend the growing season into the balance of the year.

Community Shared Agriculture (CSAs) should get preferential tax treatment. These are almost always locally-owned, family-owned farming projects close to major urban centres. They typically focus on organic, seasonal and plant-based products to supplement our meat-based diets.

When individuals or families join as members, their membership fees should be deductible when preparing taxes.

Of course, the will has to exist with politicians to remedy the situation.

FIVE Ways to Use Abandoned Malls

This is primarily an American issue, but we see glimpses of it in Canada as well.

There’s a financial situation that I clearly don’t understand: suburban developments are approved, new land is ripped up, houses are built, occupied and communities grow. And then they collapse.

And then the process gets repeated a few blocks further up the road.

Everywhere you go in the US, there are abandoned malls where forests and natural habitats used to be.

We’re seeing the same thing on occasion in Canada, but at a much slower pace.

The collapse of anchor stores like Macy’s, Eaton’s, Sears and others along with online delivery services like Amazon have accelerated the demise of the mall, with the number in the US dropping from a staggering 42,000 in 1998 to just a little over 1,000 in 2021.

The other reality is that malls are just ineffecient and people want close, local and small when they do business … with other people.

Fast Company recently posted an article titled ‘5 clever ways that malls are being reinvented in the US’. They are:

  • A community college
  • Medical centres
  • Transition from a ‘white bread’ mall to a multicultural centre
  • Mixed use – apartments, small businesses and local shops
  • A park.

I can’t help but laugh with the last item. We do know what was there before, right?

Talk about the circle of life …

Some other ideas:

  • Growing centres paired with food & seed storage facilities
  • Expand on education facilities for all ages
  • Libraries – with broader mandates to help the public learn about unique topics
  • Physical fitness locations – covered areas allow for more indoor walking. Outdoor areas could be converted to running trails and bike paths
  • Transportation hubs
  • Amphitheatres and music halls
  • Instrument lending libraries
  • Renewable power generation structures – lots of sprawling flat roofs mean loads of solar feeding into greenhouses inside
  • Training centres for other needs (police, fire, medical, etc)

The first step is always the hardest: evicting absent corporate tenants.

Is the CBC Encouraging Alt-Right Trolls?

I’ve complained to the CBC ombudsman a couple of times and have even reached out to my local MP to document how the volume of alt-right and threatening comments has increased substantially over the last couple of years.

It may seem like I love to hate the CBC, but please hear me out …

Articles that speak about the need for the feds to pay more for the health care system – despite provincial and local tax cuts pushed forward by Conservatives like Doug Ford and Jason Kenney – have thousands of comments about Trudeau being the worst PM in Canada’s history. There’s NOTHING to points to the provincial responsibility in these vicious attacks and they’re just angry vitriol targeted at our country’s leader.

I tried to chirp in with a comment about how the provincial Cons are being disingenuous with their constant cuts and abuse of health care practitioners in the form of wage caps, salary limits and expansion of hours, only to have it be deleted and censored.

I honestly don’t know what to do.

I love the CBC and I think there’s great potential for our national broadcaster, but if they continue to allow alt-right feedback to fester on public domains, I’m going to have to stop using them as a reliable news service.

(PS the same now seems true for LinkedIn. Posts by different federal leaders are flooded with horrible and threatening comments that should be deleted).