The Committee on Monetary and Economic Reform COMER

This website has the same URL for every page.

COMER is an international publishing and education resource based in Toronto, Canada, and is comprised of people who are concerned about the destabilization that current economic and monetary policies have caused and are causing for the citizens of Canada and other nation states … (full text about).

Click on the internal links as: Homepage, About, Events, New on COMER, Library, Obama Petition; Recommended, Oh Canada, Web of Debt, Meltdown Books, Current Articles, Kingston COMER, Trendspotting, Some History, Dept Ode, Afghanistan
… and a Link to a Video: the coming collapse of the American Middle Class, 57.37 min.

Exception: Contact by e-mail.

Some History: As I recollect, having been a male factory worker in a “traditional occupation” from about 1965 to 1989, it was not a case of what male workers demanded or didn’t demand. They/we had the ground shot out from under us. 

The first wave of the bankers assault happened in 1981 when Fed Chairman Paul Volker (he’s back with the Obama bailout operation) and BoC governor Gerald Bouey created a massive but fairly short lived recession by jacking interest rates to over 20%. The Inglis factory down on the Lakeshore (producing washers, dryers and dishwashers) where I was working at the time, within a month or so was on a 3 day work week. (At least half of the work force in the Inglis plant at the time were women by the way, and many had been there since WW II).

The interest rates stayed quite high throughout the eighties and only came down near the end. This kind of regime steadily undermined traditional manufacturing industry. I remember seeing statistics on different pages of the same issue of the Globe and Mail, talking on the one hand about a panic on the Tokyo stock exchange because interest rates there had just been jacked from 3.5% to 3.75% while in Canada interest rate declined slightly from about 12.4% to 12.2%. I even pointed this out to the president of the union local at the time – but no reaction and he was a radical. Combine these usurious interest rates with the fact that the banks would nearly always lend to a large foreign firm to buy out a Canadian firm but usually would not lend as readily to local entrepreneurs and you get the picture. The banks as they say, are risk averse. Unless it involves large bonuses for their managers.

In any case the next hammer blows came in 1989. BoC governor John Crow cranked our interest rates back through the roof to get “0%” inflation precipitating the recession of the 90’s (deepest and longest since the 1930’s) while the Free Trade Agreement came into force through a massive serious of changes in Canadian law. Between the two local industry and it’s workers were toast.

At the end of 1989 the Inglis plant closed its doors putting a lot of fairly well payed men and women out of work. Around that time I watched Chevy Van plant on the Golden Mile go down, Canada Wire & Cable in Leaside, Phillips Cable in Scarborough, Sunbeam electric and Goodyear Tire & Rubber in Etobicoke, Federal Nut and Bolt in the west end… and the list could go on for quite a while. Massey Ferguson Farm machinery on King Street and Brantford had already been run into the ground by Conrad Black. Along with all these closings went support operation like Bathurst Tool and Die. That’s only what I knew about from having worked in some of these places or heard about from others directly as well as seeing these factories flattened to make way for condos and shopping malls.

After the recession of the 90’s almost none of that came back. After that it was real estate development, banking and Burger King all sustained by unprocessed natural resource sales and immigration to fill the houses and fill the jobs that a lot of those ex-factory workers didn’t have the stomach for – or in many cases the training. The only thing that survived was auto and auto parts and for a time computer software development and support. Now those are nearly gone too.

Neither the men nor the women knew what hit them and their union “leadership” along with most of the NDP were asleep at the switch.

These issues were all raised by the Waffle movement of the NDP at the beginning of the seventies. This was the last significant left nationalist opposition movement to hit the national stage and whole process was only beginning then. The NDP brass moved to kill that operation but the rest of in the left didn’t do it much good either. They were ahead of their time and we really didn’t know what we were doing.

Without the history we are defenseless, and if you didn’t live through it and participate at the time you have no way of knowing it. At least not without investing a huge research effort and having the collaberation of someone who did live through it.

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