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Life as I see it can and does vary with each individual depending on one’s personal outlook and circumstance. In many instances, our lot in life is not by choice but purely by where we were born and to whom. It can be a life of subjective poverty, middle class or of great wealth. However, despite our lot in life there are some things that each of us can attain if we but try, using what we have to the best of our advantage and that is inner peace and honest gratitude for what we have in life no matter how little we may have monetarily… Something I honestly did not learn over night because like most I grew up wanting what I did not have based on desire and not need.
I am thinking, as I write, about life and what is termed here as the Great Canadian Dream, a dream that many Canadians, in my opinion, will never even have the hope of attaining based on pure greed of politicians and top-heavy corporations. That same said greed has forced many businesses to move much of their product production to third world countries in order to compete as labour continues to demand wages and benefits that most companies and more so the small mom and pop operations can ill afford. I say most because while in the same breath our government allows outside interest to exploit our natural resources and commodities while unionized labour forces the wages up for its members and the non-unionized Canadian is left scrambling to just to have the basic needs in life as prices continually climb. Added to the mix is the international ability of large corporations and their CEO’s to exploit 3rd world citizens a with sub-standard wages and living accommodations to increase profit margins to levels that are attainable in countries where they were held accountable for their actions.
Two Thousand and eleven(2011) saw British Columbia’s Union wages in the Government sector frozen, yet the politicians of the day decided that those wage savings would better suit their personal needs as opposed to assisting the non-union working class as they allotted themselves a 10% plus wage increase depending on their position held. In addition, now thanks to the now infamous past Liberal *Premier, Gordon Campbell again showing his contempt for the public at large as a whole minimum wage has finally increased in British Columbia by the new Premier Christy Clark ; albeit the cost of living in BC had all but eaten it up before it even came into effect.
*Now the obviously corrupt Gordon Campbell is (who had during his political career been charged with drinking and driving in Hawaii) is now once again being pampered as he climbed the political ladder to further abuse his position of power and bring further shame to the good people of Canada as the High Commissioner of Canada. It pays to be a politician. Where else can the employee tell the employer what they pay level they want and get it and benefits including extremely bloated pensions when they retire and get it?
That is not to say that all political parties and their often-questionable practices are totally at fault, after all we the populace elect them in the first place then fail to keep them in check as we put on our blinders and grumble and complain until the next election. Then, having forgotten what we were complaining about for a brief period of bind insanity, we make the same mistakes all over again as we vote without either rationally thinking or demanding change prior to electing anyone to protect ourselves from further damage. In retrospect, we are the employer and the politicians the employees yet we the employer in this scenario, are being told what to do by the employee. Alternatively, if you like, the tail (politicians) is wagging the dog (taxpayer) and not the dog wagging the tail)… Go figure…
In retrospect, Canadians are just as much to blame for our demise as those that lead us as we make the choice to refuse jobs based on the low pay, location, or both and in many instances we would rather collect welfare as opposed to working period. Yet, when individuals from outside our realm elect to make the sacrifice of leaving their homelands and often family we object saying they are taking away our jobs. In most cases they are not as they are taking jobs, we refuse to do for reasons as noted prior based on location and level of pay. While Canadian living standards are high and most positions unless you are skilled labour are indeed low paying, there are those from other countries who define our low paying positions we tend to decline as golden manna compared to their homeland.
I talked recently with a fellow from Czechoslovakia who informed me that what we term as skilled labour here in Canada, carpenters for instance, are the poorer paid positions in his homeland. In Canada and the USA, as an example, we are guaranteed a base hourly rate and more depending on your skill set and place of employment. In his homeland your wages, as he informed me, can be increased or decreased monthly, depending on the disposition of the company you are employed by and yet we as Canadians complain.
My finance and I for example have decided that although we love Canada, when we retire we desire to move to the Philippines. An opposite of Filipinos who leave their country to seek employment and send money back home to help feed their families due to poor and often non-existent jobs with a higher cost of living then we face here at home. Here we have welfare, Unemployment Insurance and Pensions where there as in other 3rd world countries there is no such option available.
We have concluded that to stay in this land of milk and honey we would have to use the greater amount of our combined monthly pension income to pay rent, maybe a little food and definitely little to no travel options even with the monies we are able to save in RRSP’s. On the other hand moving to the Philippines, where the love of my life is from originally, while contributing to the Filipino culture we can easily live very well, using just half my pension alone. The remaining along with her pension can be used to travel back to Canada to visit family here and other worldly destinations, help family there in the Philippines and be economically secure and happy in our senior years. A no brainer as we see it… That includes potentially buying a home, which here is unattainable even with both of us working… My eldest son and his wife are Mexico bound in the future and have already started purchasing a home there as for them they have plenty options not financially available here financially and otherwise. My second eldest is looking at the east coast of Canada as a potential option for his future due cheap land and good paying job options and due to the fact British Columbia is truly living up to its name (British Columbia or BC means bring cash and plenty of it if you want to stay…)
It seems as we look at the world as a whole, in many instances it is a hole and not in a good way, but then again it all depends what we make of it. One man’s misery is another man’s fortune for which can be taken many ways, but in the instance that I am alluding to, where an individual may be in poor country finding a way of leaving for another and taking what is considered menial work in another is by far a greater benefit for that individual. As a Canadian, for example, I am taking my hard-earned dollars and pension and moving to a 3rd, world country to retire is my beneficial escape and happiness.
I am reminded of story my Eldest son told me about a fellow he worked with many years ago when he (my son) first entered the job force. The fellow he worked with at that time was an ex-policeman from the Philippines. Now you know that working in a car wash in Canada is minimum wage at best… Well this fellow informed my son that working in a car wash in Canada allowed him a far better life style for him and his family then he enjoyed as a police officer in the Philippines, and yet we as Canadians complain…
The biggest problem I see as a Canadian is that we, due to our obsessive greed, out price ourselves to the point we can ill afford the basics of life let alone the greater desires to own an automobile, a home and to travel in later years when the children have left the roost. We demand higher wages, charge more for home-grown and manufactured goods then we charge outside customers, sell all our business off to outside investors and allow our governments to sell control of public sector business ventures such as BC Gas, BC Transit etc., as an example, to American investors. They in return bring their own business practices with them that are often just as shoddy or worse than they are at home and attempt to pay American wages to Canadian employees who live in a higher cost of living bracket than their American counterparts. I have enjoyed, in the past, more spending power as a Canadian then I do now with a wage that is over 4 times as much as I used to make.
I recall a farmer in Paris Ontario want to purchase a Massey Ferguson tractor for his farm, which then was manufactured just thirty miles away in Brantford Ontario. He eventually did purchase a tractor manufactured in Brantford, but he did so by flying to England, purchasing the Canadian made tractor there and shipping it back to Canada and his farm plus his own travel expenses in the process. He did all of that and still save himself $500, 00 He paid less than he would have if he had paid for the same tractor just thirty miles away and enjoyed a vacation while he was there.
In my opinion, we need to say NO to the Unions that have become what they once fought against; we need to stand up and say NO to the corrupt politicians who are fleecing us daily. We need to say NO to the governments selling off our land and public corporations (BC ferries was a prime example) and other big business who are raping our economy even as you read this. We need to say NO to those over paid CEO`s of Public corporations and to the banks who invest our money and giving us a pittance in return while giving it to the CEO`s for who without us, the working class they would have nothing… Moreover, you perhaps question my motives for retiring to a 3rd world country… because I cannot afford to live here in my senior years and because I do not want to give up my right to retire when I feel my body says so, not when my government says I can. I would stay if I had the outlandish pensions our elected politicians enjoy for just a few years’ service, but I don`t and I won`t… I am going to attempt to move to my self-proclaimed land of milk and honey and enjoying life, as it should be in my final years…
- The Minimum Wage Battle: A New Look at the “Takers” and “Makers” (freakoutnation.com)
- The Invisibles: Migrant Workers in Canada (in News) (thetyee.ca)