By Geoffrey Dow
Managing Editor, True North Perspective
It looks as if the Great Garbage Strike of 2009 is just about over (well, technically it was a strike by Toronto's outside municipal workers, which include day-care workers, those who maintain pools and parks, etcetera) and so this morning I decided to take a stroll along Dundas Street West, between Beaconsfield and Brock and record the filth and chaos to which this city's citizens have been reduced. For those of you beyond the bounds of the Centre of the Universe, Toronto has been without garbage pick-up for more than a month — and what a month it's been!
(In truth, my fellow-citizens have risen to the occasion with a quiet, civilized pride and dignity that's left me proud to live in this city; the mess was not nearly so bad as the negative publicity would have us believe.)
On a serious note, I commend your attention to CUPE Ontario's President Sid Ryan's excellent op-ed piece in Tuesday's Globe and Mail.
In the world of the magician, one of the most critical skills is "misdirection," wherein the illusionist employs sleight of hand to fool the audience into looking away from where the nitty-gritty of the trick is actually taking place.
Canada appears to be the target of just such a trick, in the form of a newly fashionable term that's come into vogue amid the recent spate of labour disputes. The term is "public-sector monopoly," and between conservative bloggers, right-of-centre newspaper columnists and television coverage, a sizable part of the commentariat has suddenly been transformed into rabid trust-busters...
True, Canada and the rest of the world have been in the grip of a difficult recession (although recent data appears to show that grip is loosening). True, this summer has seen a number of high-profile labour disruptions, most notably in Toronto and Windsor, Ont. But does a summer of labour disruption truly warrant such a heavy-handed response, or is that response simply an effort to shift attention away from those who put us in this economic crisis in the first place? Did the men and women walking the picket lines spend decades agitating for less and less regulation of global financial markets? Did they devise ever-more-complex financial instruments to provide cover for the unscrupulous lenders who approved mortgages to people they knew didn't have the means to pay?
Well, just read the whole thing already — and try to remember not to forget your principles when things get a little inconvenient. Okay?
28 July 2009 — Return to cover.