Why no outcry when capital goes on strike?

The Alberta Wildrose Party will hold their AGM in Red Deer on June 25. Amongst all the political posturing, handshaking and speechmaking the party faithful will at some point settle into adopting policy.

Dear Editor:

The Alberta Wildrose Party will hold their AGM in Red Deer on June 25. Amongst all the political posturing, handshaking and speechmaking the party faithful will at some point settle into adopting policy.

One such policy up for consideration is a motion that states, “A Wildrose Government will restore education as an essential service under the Labour Code ensuring that no child’s right to an education is denied by school strikes or lockouts.”

The wording of the motion caught my attention, because it only focused on the labour code. This is not unusual because typically conservative ideology and specifically the extreme right-wing element of the ideologists are generally less than supportive of union activities or labour unions in general. However, I found it fascinating because the motion could have said: “No child’s right to an education will be denied by reason of lack of funding,” or “A child’s right to an education will be protected by the Alberta Bill of Rights.”

I personally prefer the wording of the latter because it actually elevates the rhetoric of a “child’s right” into an actual protected right both labour and capital would be required to respect.

Observing the balance of labour with capital in a society that professes allegiance to free market principles is in many ways a study in irony. There seems to be a prevailing pattern that the more a person professes to the ideology that the market reigns supreme in all matters, the more anti-labour (union) they tend to be. The irony, in very simplistic terms, is baffling. A labour union is technically a democracy that pools individual labour resources together to maximize the benefits for its members. In contrast, a corporation is technically a democracy that pools individual capital resources together to maximize the benefit for each investor. In a union each member has a vote. In a corporation each share represents a vote. There are many other similarities (and differences) contrasting unions to corporations as an institution, too many to list here.

The question I ponder is why is labour (labour unions) generally criticised or vilified when there is a strike (withholding labour), and there is rarely any criticism levelled at a corporation if they withhold or withdraw (strike) capital?

For example: most recently Alberta’s government was faced with the threat of a capital strike when it attempted to raise royalty rates. There was no criticism levelled at the corporations threatening to leave Alberta for better drilling privileges in Saskatchewan. This was generally accepted as an unquestionable market right to withhold capital. The irony as the capital strike threatened, had a far greater potential negative impact on Alberta’s economy as a whole, than any teacher’s strike could possibly achieve. There was no outcry or threat of adopting policies to ensure that an individual’s right to sell their labour was denied by a capital strike. The fact is drillers wanted to drill, and the government wanted the resources extracted. How is it that a company that withholds investing capital for a better return is viewed as somehow different than a teacher who withholds labour for a better return?

For the record, I am in favour of identifying essential services such as the ones that doctors, nurses and teachers’ provide. I just do not adhere to the prescribed doctrine that only labour should be held responsible for the delivery of the service. There is a balance to managing essential services. Labour without capital (funding), and vice-versa, is powerless to deliver the service. If the balance has to be struck in practical terms, then it should be struck in terms of policy. The Wildrose faithful would be wise to question the words they chose in adopting policies, if they truly want to represent the middle political spectrum of the province. It is all about balance.

Joe Anglin
,


Rimbey

Just Posted

Central Alberta Sexual Assault Support Centre host Respect Day on May 24th

Event features BBQ, Country Pride line dancers, Indigenous drummers,dancers, and information booths

Ellis Bird Farm opens 2019 with book unveil of Charlie, Winnie and the Bluebirds

Site Manager Myrna Pearman documented the history of central Alberta’s natural treasure

Ponoka RCMP respond to intoxicated male in Golden Leisure Lodge

On May 15, 2019 the Ponoka RCMP responded to a complaint of… Continue reading

Town to sign five-year policing agreement with Ponoka Stampede

The Town of Ponoka will go ahead with a five-year renewable agreement… Continue reading

UPDATED: Ponoka RCMP arrest male on Canada wide warrant

UPDATE for Immediate Release: Collin James Courteoreille was wanted on a Canada… Continue reading

Trudeau touts economic record at Liberal fundraiser in Vancouver

The Prime Minister was in B.C. for much of this week

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Red Deer man arrested in connection with Leduc armed robbery

Leduc RCMP asking for public assistance after armed robbery – UPDATE

School bus crash in Edmonton sends 12 to hospital, 2 with broken bones

Alberta Health Services said there were no life-threatening injuries

Crews fight fire with fire to keep blaze from northern Alberta town

The wildfire now covers some 920 square kilometres

Supreme Court of Canada won’t hear Alberta murder appeals

Sheena Cuthill and her husband Timothy Rempel were found guilty three years ago of killing Ryan Lane

Pipeline protester chimes in on Justin Trudeau’s B.C. fundraising speech

The government purchased the Trans Mountain pipeline and expansion project for $4.5 billion

Canada stripping citizenship from Chinese man over alleged marriage fraud

The move comes amid severely strained relations between Ottawa and Beijing

Mayor says northern Alberta town still under threat from nearby wildfire

The blaze has now eaten its way through about 920 square kilometres of forest

Most Read