Thursday, 31 January 2013

Shop Canadian Or Shop Thrift! A Warning To Retailers!

Darwinian Capitalism always seems to find new ways of amazing me as well as enrage me. Today it was announced that 700 Sears employees and 700 Bestbuy employees would be given termination notices and thus released from their positions. Not to mention that various Bestbuy and Futureshop stores would be closed down.

Before getting into anymore detail, I want to outline that yes...I understand how people may have their reservations about either Bestbuy or Sears and as a result both retailers are hurting. I also understand that many people have a preference in the places where they shop. However, I have had enough with the blatant ignorance that Canadians seem to live with regarding where we buy our stuff!!!!

Has anyone opened their eyes and noticed that not only are the majority of our shopping centres owned by American companies, but that almost everything...and I mean everything we buy today is either made in China or assembled there!?
The modern land of the free is run by ignorance and slavery!

I understand that the economy is still in a very fragile position as our politicians seem to stand by idly. However, the reality of the situation we as Canadians currently face, is that we are the ones to blame for our own misfortune. Another reality is that not everyone can become a doctor, lawyer or engineer and there are many people who once held middle class positions that are now forced into service oriented retail jobs against their will.

All of this would be semi-justified if these positions allowed for a decent wage and gave their employees the chance to grow and contribute to the economy, however the reality of this situation is simply the opposite.

This could one day be your daughter working for $1/day

The Chinese people are no longer citizens, they are employees of Commelist China, the Corporation Country

High end designer wear manufactured in the same factory as value Walmart brands, but you pay the premium because the name looks fancy and everything is good, right?

When you walk into a department store, you are often greeted by a friendly face, who is there to help you select your items and find them if they are unavailable. Currently, retailers seem content with cutting down those associates, whose job is to help, by stating that their employment is redundant.

I want you to think about that: How does an employer expect to improve the customer experience, when they constantly cut down their staffs hours and employment and thus decrease the number of people on the floor? More importantly, why would you shop at a retailer that treats its employees like this and are foreign to Canada just because their prices are a few cents cheaper?


Our economy is not going to improve if we continue to allow our retail sector to be controlled by Americans, who want nothing more than to profit from our hard earned cash with cheap Chinese goods.

You need to open your eyes and understand that the average piece of clothing you buy has been marked up a few hundred percent and is probably being made for peanuts. What makes this worse is that many of us understand this practice, yet we continue to purchase these items and live in a shadow of ignorance. That is...until we or someone we know is left out of a job, because their company has decided that it is cheaper to move production to China or the United States.

The Americans are our allies, but their corporations are our worst enemy and we as Canadians have allowed them to invade our country and subject our people to humiliation.

While we welcome corporations like Target and Walmart to open their doors in our neighborhoods, we forget our fellow brothers and sister who struggle to maintain their jobs. We forget about the communities of Canadians who instead of pushed forward with new ways of manufacturing and more environmentally sustainable ways of improving factories, went out of business because our government allowed a take over by an American company or did not punish a company for outright leaving us for Chinese labour and mega profits. 

Now you might be asking what one can do to stop the problem? Where can you shop to avoid feeding the American machine? The answer to that is simple, you as the consumer need to take a stand and shop Canadian. Support Canadian retailers and if you want to really stick it to the Darwinian Capitalist...BUY THRIFT!

That is right! Take your hard earned cash and purchase a second hand item that was most likely made in a western country by union hands and does not contribute to Chinese slavery and the growing gap between the rich and poor. Support your local Value Village and while dressing yourself, indirectly contribute to helping charities that these thrift shops support!



To end, if you have remained with me this far and think that I am just some biased NDP/Communist supporting political blogger, my other blog entries and also understand that I currently work part-time at Sears Canada, mainly because I am a university graduate, who cannot find a full time job. So, I want you to know that I have seen what many choose to ignore and I have been treated by consumers in ways that people should not be treated.

As famously quoted in the movie La Vita Bella: "God serves man, but God is not a servant to man. You serve others, but you are not a servant to others." 

Remember this the next time your shopping somewhere and put your ignorance and arrogance aside and open your eyes!

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Watch Out! Mayor Ford Is Hungry!

So, what do you know...Canadian politics has decided to take a huge u-turn and Rob Ford has won his appeal to remain Mayor of Toronto.

Whoever thought having a legal team could be so useful?

Ford is back in office and has developed quite a hunger from this entire ordeal. Quite literally in this case, as he is more of an emotional eater like myself. The stress alone must have added thousands of calories alone to the meal he is going to be served now that his power has remained. The sad, but also quite humorous, thing is that most of this emotional eating will probably be covered by Ford's expense budget, which comes from you, the taxpayers of Toronto.

The first thing that came to mind upon hearing the news though was that of Napoleon  Bonaparte. He and Ford have much in common the way the Toronto city council dealt with his case. I mean, Ford was literally exiled from office and politics in general by the courts, but also by those in the very council he serves on. The only main difference however, is that while Napoleon ingested so much poison that his system rejected it, Ford came a big ol butterball turkey of political death and destruction.

Municipal politics in Toronto are going to get very interesting in the coming months and also very scary. You can easily bet that with a successful appeal, Mayor Ford is going to be on a warpath and is not going to take any prisoners, not to mention that his Conservative agenda is going to be screaming through like a bat out of hell!

Rob quickly! To the buffet!!!!

I can sit here all day and poke fun at Mayor Ford, but I would really be interested in hearing all of your thoughts and opinions regarding this topic. Are you mad? Happy? In Despair? Or just apathetic to it all? 

So once again, a fair and important warning to the people of Toronto, Mayor Ford is one HUNGRY politician now, better bring back that "car tax" in order to cover the excess expenses related to his comfort eating and vengeance food binges!

I almost wish the Argonauts lost the Grey Cup last year, because given the bet wagered to donate the losers weight in food to charity...hunger as we know it would no longer exist if Mayor Ford lost. No one still truly knows just how much he does weigh...(OK no more jokes, I am done). 


So please, post your thoughts, arguments and overall opinions in the comment section and tell me if you agree that this hungry!

Until Next Time!

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

OSAP (In)security...Students As Second Class Citizens?

Earlier this week I was given the notification that my name was included on a list of around 500,000 individuals who signed up for a loan from OSAP between the years of 2000 to 2006. I was given a telephone number to call and then asked to present my SIN number along with other information to verify that I was who I was.

An interesting feeling darted through my body at that moment, maybe it was the fact that my information is now potentially in the hands of someone other than the government agency entrusted to keep it, or maybe it was the kind of feeling you get when your credit card company tells you that your account has a credit on know that feeling, content and relieved that you do not owe anything further, but ultimately stagnant as you know your credit will not accrue any interest.

This feeling however, as awkward as it may have presented itself to me, suddenly changed when the young lady on the other end of the line confirmed that my information was on a portable hard drive that was lost sometime in November and then reported officially lost sometime in December. Only then to be officially officially reported to the public in January. Yup, quite the efficient and most effective service one should expect from a government agency entrusted with sensitive information that requires the utmost of confidentiality.

I will tell you a little story, I was given the honor of working on behalf of Statistics Canada a few years ago in order to complete Census related material. Upon being given the conditions of my contract, I was also required to sign a document and say an oath of confidentiality and integrity regarding the material I would be dealing with. If I was to lose something in error or sell any information/leak it to the public, I could face time in prison with a $1000.00 fine. What does the director of the agency state regarding this loss of information? He is deeply disappointed in his staff for causing such an error...deeply disappointed.

I mean, there are a lot of young students currently who are either underemployed or straight out unemployed and we have a government agency, who most likely compensates its employees nicely, lose information and apparently nothing is going to happen to those involved? I will tell you one thing with certainty, if I was in charge of ensuring this documentations confidentiality and was being paid what most of these individuals are getting, that information would be nowhere near lost and in the event that it did occur, I would most likely resign out of sense of embarrassment for my unprofessionalism.

This topic raises a number of questions that I believe people need to start asking themselves. Telling from experience, if I am late on a payment or am unable to provide the sufficient documentation to the student loans collection agency, a letter is written and documented on my credit score. Furthermore, many of us students, who are now searching for a meaning in life after school and who are entrusted with the responsibility to not only lead our society, but fix the messes it contains, have become second class citizens in the eyes of the government.

We are encouraged to attend schooling in order to further ourselves and then enter a market suffering from a lack of employment and instantly become a number in the system owing a debt. Not to mention, this number that represents us is being poorly managed if this incident is any sign.

I for one do not want something like this to happen and believe that if you are privileged enough to be serving on behalf of the government of Canada and for the people of Canada, you should take the extra measures required to make sure your job is being done to the best of it's abilities.

I urge all others involved in this recent mess to accept the letter arriving in your mailbox shortly and to follow the steps on it in order to file a complaint against OSAP, its subsidiaries and any other individuals involved in the loss of this crucial information.

Furthermore, I urge you to contact your local MPP and file a complaint with them in order for the possibility of an investigation to occur into this matter more. I understand that human error is inevitable within our society, but this case seems more to me than just simple human error.

Watch your bank accounts, monitor your mail and continue to demand better from our government!

I would also appreciate any feedback you have on this matter or information you would like to contribute. As always, your input is important and your questions essential to creating a better country for everyone. 

Until Next Time!

Friday, 11 January 2013

Adult Assembly Required: Idle No More?

Why the "Idle No More" movement is not only making Canadian politics more interesting, but also giving Canadians a chance to take a closer look at their own social groups.

Chief Theresa Spence is a very interesting individual to me, however until recently, I had no idea who she was and her importance to the Aboriginal community within Canada. A problem right off the bat considering that Aboriginal groups do get attention, but seem to not achieve any progress upon doing so. Another problem, the fact that I lumped all Aboriginals into one community, when in fact there are many different groups, who most likely have their own social dynamics that distinguish them. An important point regarding all of this as well, I do not like how we consider Aboriginals as "Indians". Yes, I am of Italian decent,which technically makes me an outsider looking in, but this terminology was used during the time of Christopher Columbus and is as outdated as the Indian Act itself.

What Aboriginals seem to be craving is attention from the government and luckily they have been successful in receiving it. However, what is the "Idle No More" movement and more importantly what direction does it want to head in? Is this an overall socially economic movement? First Nations do receive a lot of money annually, however the way it is distributed can be questioned.

Maybe the movement is in regards to social equality? Well, then Aboriginals should know that they are as equal as any other Canadian from any other social group.

The environment? Alright, then thank you to the Aboriginal groups for giving us a boost as you have many other brothers and sisters who stand beside you in this battle.

The main problem I find is that the media and many leaders are failing to properly outline why they are no longer idle. It seems that aside from Native rights, many minor groups within are throwing in their own issues thus creating a large pool of issues that they want Stephen Harper to review.

Politically, I truly believe that Chief Spence and the movement at large are giving Stephen Harper way to much credit! I mean, How do they expect him to view all of these different issues all packed into one movement and not get a headache over the stress and confusion it would cause him? Going further with this, I understand why recent demands are being given that the Governor General attend the meeting as well, because without him, it is very unlikely that anything of substance will be agreed upon and more importantly processed by the Conservative government.

The most important factor of the Idle No More movement, should be to distinguish not only what the movement hopes to gather from the government, but also what needs to be considered and changed within the Aboriginal community at large. For example, the government may provide social services and financial aid to Aboriginal groups, but this assistance is only as successful as the guidance and organization of the group itself. Why? Well, as many examples in the media would show, many communities and reserves are in serious disrepair. Now, I understand that there are many different people and groups whom rely upon this assistance, but there seems to be an internal problem that is causing a serious rift in the equal distribution of these funds and services.

Stephen Harper can only do so much in the representation and overall assistance of the Native groups in this movement, the rest of the work will be in the hands of the community leaders and chiefs and their commitment to the people who have elected them.

Furthermore, one has to consider that we currently live in 2013 and much has changed over the past few hundred years in our country. Aboriginal groups need to understand that they are considered equal in Canada and should not feel disenfranchised as a result. More importantly, politicians and chiefs should discuss the major issues present on an equal playing field among Canadians, not as if the government is dealing with a foreign entity or country.

Overall, I believe the Idle No More movement is very important and should cause Canadians overall to question how they are represented in this country. Recent legislation has affected many different groups that consist of not only racial, but also economic and social examples of diversity. Whether you are a teacher fighting the Ontario government or an environmentalist fighting development out west, you should know that your cause and fight is not alone, but a piece of a mosaic of social conflict that is currently defining Canadian politics. What happens to one social group within Canada, will always impact and cause derision among the rest, if not because of the rights and laws that protect diversity in this beautiful country, then mainly because of the disenfranchisement it causes all groups.

Best of luck to those speaking with the government and I hope that on behalf of all Canadians, progress can be made to ensure that this country maintains the right direction.

Also, I am very curious as to your thoughts regarding the movement and the response given by the government, please let me know and comment on here, as it is important for non-Aboriginals to input their opinions as well. 

Until Next Time!

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Why The NDP Are Going To Win The Next Ontario Election

10 years, I want you to remember this while you read my entry. 10 years is very important in anyone`s life for many reasons. In a decade a lot can and will change for an individual. 10 years can change the position and make up of a group of people, a society as well. 10 years can also change the face of a country if enough is happening.

10 is a popular number for this entry, because it is the amount of time that the Ontario teacher`s union has been on good terms with both Dalton McGuinty and his Liberals. That time is over however, with the recent addition of bill 115 and the abrupt cancellation of the same bill, many teachers are very upset with the Ontario Liberal party and they should be.

The education sector has been an almost crown jewel for Dalton and his party over the past decade. With promises of smaller class sizes, all day kindergarten and an overall improvement in the quality of education provided to Ontario children, one must stand here baffled at the idea that the same government, who has strived so hard to accomplish all of this, would target something as important to teacher as collective bargaining rights.

I understand why this topic was allowed to push through any barriers of common sense that the Ontario Liberals might have put into place. I mean, with a premier on his way out anyways, why should he worry about the political repercussions of such an act? Not to mention, there does exist groups of individuals who probably believe that teachers have it way to easy anyways and that their union is much to comfortable. When looking at it this way, one cannot really harp on Dalton for allowing such a drastic move to occur, I mean, look at the government under Harper, if anything, union bashing and the stripping of public sector rights is something to be proud of, worthy of honours and medals. Where this makes things very interesting though is the power that both the teachers and their union and supporters have in the coming days.

I often predict many things on the Political Road Map, since in politics some things can be seen a lot easier by a few than by the majority, when events such as Bill 115 occur. The question now remains if Andrea Horwath will take the necessary steps to utilize this Bill to the advantage of the NDP?

With a new premier being selected and a party with a tight majority in power, it does not take a rocket scientist to know that election talk is occurring, actually probably has been occurring over the past month and change. So certain am I that this will most likely happen, I am willing to estimate that if Queens Park does not totally collapse by the time the house is back in motion, it will not last past the first budget. A no confidence vote will most likely occur and another Ontario election will be called within the few months preceding it.

Why I think the NDP has the best shot at taking the most advantage of this situation? Well, we have Tim Hudak being as useless as ever in recent months, he actually went ahead and supported his party's cries that Bill 115 did not cut enough and should have imposed deeper conditions on teachers. Something else to add to the already (im)perfect record he and his party have at the moment.

As soon as this new election is called, the smart thing for many people would be to put their support behind the party that will do it's best to keep decision making where it belongs, in the hands of Canadians. I can already imagine the direction of the signs and campaigning now. "Help us win and help yourself at the same time, as you save the working man from the perils of contract and no job security."

The perfect opportunity for the NDP to gain some crucial points or out right capture the government if this scenario does in fact play out. With a strong teachers union able to rally other corresponding unions and those afraid of what security they may have or not have, it should be quite amazing to witness the potential change that can come out of it.

As always with the Political Road Map, you have to look to yourself, your peers and most importantly your government and continually ask: Where am I? Where am I going? And is the government heading in the same direction as me?

I would get your election gear ready and begin prepping for an election folks, because with the new year here and optimism for the future, I think we are headed toward some great change in Ontario. A change that might actually stray from the idle position our government is currently in and actually do something productive.

Until Next Time!

A Letter for 2013

Anthony Passaretti
The Political Road Map

Dear Fellow Canadians,

With the holiday season behind us and the new year with us, I write this letter to you, with the hope of addressing a growing problem within our beautiful country. We are all blessed to live in this great country called Canada and share in the potential that it allows us. We live our lives on a day to day basis and encounter many different people and experiences along the way.

Sadly, things have not been as great as they appear to be and our government has not done much in the way of warning us. Poverty increases at historic levels and the gap between the rich and the poor grows consistently greater. People are losing jobs or having difficulty maintaining the ones they currently have. Students and young adults, many of  whom  graduated from a post secondary institution are unemployed and in many circumstances those working are underemployed.

Our government has failed us, not because of any specific action, but rather because of the inaction it has maintained in addressing many important issues. What are those issues you may ask? Job security, growth, research and development, social security, sustainability and the environment are just a few.

Basically, when placed in a position of doubt, a position of uncertainty, many Canadians have looked up in search of some assistance, some reinforcements and the entity we entrust with this responsibility, has looked back with blank eyes.

2013 is here and strong, with it hopefully a strong sense of optimism and clarity, so that many of you may look forward during these rough times and seek the hope of a better day. Seek a time where employment meant something and your hard work was recognized, where opportunity came to those who seeked it and a helping hand was extended for those who happened to stumble.

We are in this together Canadians, our country is strengthened by our differences and our diversity, so long as we acknowledge that working toward the common good for all trumps working toward the common good of a few. We must band together and continue our march forward in order to not only improve our country for the better, but save it from adversity.

Look forward and focus on the long term, but do not sacrifice that vision for something you want now. Wise words that many in public office should be considering as they put their efforts toward assisting you during these tough times.

For 2013, I ask that you look around a little more, think a little hard, read something different and raise your voice.

I cannot tell you how important it is for you to take a stand now and work toward making a difference, because if no one says anything and we continue on as if nothing is wrong, we may wake up one day and wonder where our country went.

From the Political Road Map to you and yours, I extend a rather late Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays/Happy Hannukah/Happy Kwanza and I wish you good health, rich ideas and the confidence to make change in the coming months of 2013.

2013 is going to be a year of great change, remember that and embrace it and when it does occur, remember where you heard it from first!  

Until Next Time!