Curiosity is terminal

Thursday, 26 July 2012

Offshoring Skills

Yesterday Politics and its Discontents had a post about finding products that are made in Canada, as a way of keeping jobs in Canada.

I have long been alarmed about the offshoring of jobs. I was alarmed by the Free Trade Agreement in 1988. I remember reading about it and being struck at the time by a quote from one of the American negotiators, (Yeager, I think his name might have been) "Canada has no idea what it has signed."
I watched the Battle in Seattle in 1999, and my heart broke to see all the people who cared, not for profits and money, but for survival, being arrested, and brutalized and denigrated as just so many dirty hippies.
I have watched us sell raw logs, and the jobs that go with them. Now we dismantle sawmills, pulpmills and papermills and we ship the whole plants to China, along with the jobs.
And when we lose those jobs, we lose the spinoff jobs that go with them. We lose vacations, and team sports for the kids, we lose a few dinners out a year/month/week. We buy fewer toys: boats, bikes, RVs. Maybe we lose homes.
It is no different for our minerals. Away they go, along with the refining, smelting, processing. How is our steel industry?

The thought this always leads me to  is that the more we don't DO anything with our resources here, the more we will forget how. We will not just have lost the resource, and the value-adding job, but the skill.

What is that likely to look like in 20 years?

h/t Lorne

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