Thursday, June 08, 2006


charlies pics 005, originally uploaded by Oldmaison.

Sure would have been nice to know how the HERE paper without having the Irvings as the owners would have handle ATLANTICA??? Sigh...We'll never know.....

More Atlantica Stories in HERE (Irving Owned Media)..

By Fern Bennett

Atlantica to the rescue...
Maybe yes...maybe no

Atlantica sounds like a city for super heroes, and according to some
that may just be the case. The Atlantica concept rose out of a sense of
injustice for eastern Canadian provinces and northern New England
due to economic prosperity coming to other parts of North America, but
eluding them. Its proponents are upset over the status quo and want to
do something about it. They claim that this geographical area's
stem from being forced to trade on an east/west axis instead of a more
natural north/south direction simply because the area is carved up
between two different countries. Moreover, both areas have seen their
governments show greater favour to larger centres, in our case -
and Quebec.

The advocates for Atlantica plan to come to our rescue, to bring
abundance and wealth. Sounds so good I could almost hug them. One
of the solution is to reconnect and strengthen networks between
and American sides of Atlantica by proactively jumping on the
international globalization bandwagon, opening new markets on both
of the border. While many business transactions occur over the
goods still need to be physically moved from one place to another.
Therefore, the creation of a highway connecting Atlantica on a
north/south axis will enhance trade opportunities.

Moreover, developing the port in Halifax to handle Post-Panamax sized
cargo ships will shave a day's travel off European shipments to and
North America, giving this area an advantage. Maritime and Northeast
Pipeline has already forged a connecting network between the two
regions. (A network that takes Canadian resources into America for
production and distribution in the U.S.) Another weakness defined by
Atlantica proponents is what they term "public policy distress
which are: 1. Size of government relative to the economy (a measure of
the burden the public sector places on the private economy) 2.
Government employment as a percentage of total state/provincial
employment (a measure of public sector efficiency) 3. Total government
revenue from own sources as a percentage of GDP (a measure of
dependence) 4. Minimum wage legislation (a measure of labour market
flexibility) 5. Union density (a measure of labor market flexibility)
( I don't know about you, but items four and five
me very afraid. Not only do I no longer want to hug these supposed
saviours of eastern Canada, but I want to sound the alarm.

Current minimum wage legislation is woefully inadequate; however, it is
better than having no minimum wage at all. Do we really want to be able
to compete with places like China, and India if it means working longer
for less? Lower, or non-existent, wage laws may be a dream for the
business sector, but what about the majority of us who are working for
these businesses?

As for unions, how do we think labour laws favourable to the working
population came to be? It wasn't out of the benevolence of business
owners who decided one day that perhaps, shorter work-days/work-weeks,
higher pay, and benefits would make them sleep better at night.

While there are exceptions to the rule, generally speaking, business is
all about making money for business owners and shareholders. It's not a
holistic approach whereby corporate health and employee health are
accorded the same reverence.

Today, unions may have a bad name as some union leaders identify more
with company and personal interests than their fellow employees' needs.
Moreover, media tend to represent strikes in a negative light whereby
strikers are viewed as rebel rousers threatening the health of the
company. However, if it weren't for unions, where workers collectively
unite and withhold their labor, our working conditions would be more
reflective of sweat shop conditions one sees in the developing world.
would be better to band together and demand that their labor conditions
rise up to our standards than to have ours devolve toward theirs.

If you are a business owner you can welcome Atlantica with open arms,
but if you work for someone other than yourself "BEWARE" - the vultures
are hovering. The APCC are hosting a conference in Saint John from June
8-10 called "Reaching Atlantica: Business Without Boundaries."
Concurrently, "Resisting Atlantica" will also take place in Saint John.
Which side will win, has yet to be determined.

In a perfect world, they would both be winners because fair (not free)
trade could produce economic prosperity for both sides of the border,
and employees and business owners could share the benefits of business

One thing for sure, is that we cannot count on our government to step
and protect the public's interest, not because the government has
forgotten its role, but because government has been co-opted by
capitalism. Politicians bow to corporate pressures because of favours
owed for financial support, and because they have bought into the myth
that what's good for business is always good for people. Saint John is
in need of superheroes, but only if those heroes regard people as
as they regard profit.

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