Friday, October 25, 2013

No statue for victims of Canadian Capitalism in Bangladesh?

Our federal government, suddenly flush with cash it seems, has earmarked $1.5 million for a group called Tribute to Liberty so they can build a statue to honour victims of communism.  (Story Here)

As mentioned in the linked article, a twitter row ensued between the Green Party's Elizabeth May and Conservative cabinet minister Jason Kenney.  May wanted to know if there were plans to build a statue to honour victims of capitalism.  Kenney responded by saying that "Perhaps that's because no one was shot in the back while risking their lives to flee eastward over the Iron Curtain ".

No, perhaps not, but more than 1,100 people (including children) died six months ago when the factory they worked in for slave labour wages collapsed on them in Bangladesh.  The factory was making clothing for, among other companies, Canada's own Loblaws.  You can read about the tragedy HERE.  

Why are people...again, including children, working in conditions like this for wages equivalent to roughly $2 per day or less?  Well, that's unabashed capitalism for you.  The market is a competitive place, and a store that's able to sell things like t-shirts at a better price than its competitors is going to be rewarded with a higher market share and a better bottom line.  Consumers like it, shareholders like it and so we're all in some way responsible.  

So why are we spending money to build a statue for victims of a system Canadians didn't create while ignoring victims of a system we actually endorse?  Simple, its all about optics and feeling good about ourselves.  Its kind of like the millions being wasted on the Economic Action Plan ads, they don't do anything other than boost our self image. 

There have been victims of communism and victims of capitalism. But you don't get a statue if your cause makes people think and reflect, at least not in today's Canada it seems.     

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