View from Labour, Dec. 12, 2008

On Wednesday of this week it was reported that the former residents of Cowichan Lodge are now paying more at the P-3 Sunridge Place. When the Government fired all the workers at Cowichan Lodge and forced the residents to leave a publicly funded facility and move into Sunridge Place, VIHA and the Government promised no extra fees and better service. The extra costs are reported by one patient to be approx $300.00 per month. This is how the private part of the partnership makes money. They have to charge for “extras” that used to be covered in the main costs at the Publicly Funded facility. The government may be still paying the same amount per patient, but the company can’t make a profit on that unless they slash wages, lower services and increase “user fees”. This equals less care and more costs for our retired elderly workers and their families. Is this what we want for our parents or ourselves? With many seniors’ loss of assets due to the market downturn these extra charges are even more mean spirited than usual.
The news is once again full of cries for help from the Auto Industry joined this time by the oil industry. The West Coast has suffered for years with forestry jobs decimated and no one seemed to care as many of the displaced workers (those not too old) went to Alberta to work on the tar sands. The tar sands are slowing down with many workers coming back home.
It seems Ottawa either ignores or attacks the forest industry. The Conservatives, joined by our premier Gordon Campbell, brag about the Softwood Lumber Deal that decimated jobs in British Columbia. They call it good for Canada.
If the hurting Forest Industry got the Softwood Lumber Deal, maybe the Auto Industry should look else where for help. Harper just might agree to have all the cars and trucks built in the US.
The truth is that the Feds will likely use our tax dollars to bail out both the Auto and Big Oil industries. It was our tax dollars that got the oil sands started as Big Oil cried that they were too costly to develop. Then when the price of oil went through the roof, they whined about having to pay any royalties or taxes on the profits. Now we’ve come full circle and they want direct access to our money again instead of having to wait to charge us at the pumps. Yet B.C. Loggers and mill workers are ignored.
If the Government assists the Canadian Auto Industry I hope they adopt President Obama’s method of demanding changes and results. They should give the same assistance to Companies like Western Forest Products who despite being in financial distress still employ in our town.