Toronto: Free Trade destroys South Etobicoke


Globalization and so-called "Free Trade" have indeed helped in the development of commercial riches of elites. However, we often fail to understand that unregulated capitalism, which allows certain kind of so-called "Free Trade", often results in problems for the masses. The working class seldom benefits from these "Free Trade" Agreements and they are mainly designed to protect the interests of the capitalists.

The so-called Free Trade agreements, which have been signed between Canada and the US, have turned out to be counter-productive to Canada's rankings in the Untied Nations Human Development Index. These agreements have, in fact, destroyed the ability of the Canadians, to be the ‘master of our own house’.

As a result of these trade agreements, many people have been rendered jobless and homeless in Canada. An article posted by Michael laxer in states,:

“A factory in business from just after the Second World War, producing baked goods in a west-end Toronto community since 1948, that is now due to be closed. Over 500 well-paying jobs to be lost.”

“While the closure has been extensively reported on, the fact that it is occurring after a Mitt Romney/ Bain Capital-like takeover has been less discussed.”

"Mondelez Canada, who became owners of the factory after the North American split of Kraft Foods Inc. operations earlier this month, made the closure announcement Thursday afternoon to workers."

It is believed that the site of the closed factory will be used to develop high rise condos. The decision to close the factory and vacate the plot for developing condos is quite cynical. According to a market research done by the Globe and Mail,

"Sales of new condos fell to 3,317 in the latest quarter, the research firm said. In the first nine months of the year, sales slipped to 14,156, and are on track to close out the year with a 35-per-cent decline from last year’s record level of 28,190."

Which makes us wonder, who will buy these condos? Also, what will happen to those people who have lost their jobs due to the closure of the factory?  

South Etobicoke had a strong industrial economy just a generation ago. Its economy was based on massive unionized factories such as Crown Cork, Goodyear Tire Factory and Seal. The communities living in the region were self sustained.

However, these factories were all closed in the early 80’s and 90’s due to the demand of the ‘booming’ real estate sector. The industrial economy collapsed and today, South Etobicoke transformed into an infamous district, known as a hub of drug abuse and prostitution. The abandoned storefronts symbolize the downfall of this region.

In the article posted in, Michael laxer states that,

“I remember, as a young man, working security as they closed out Crown Cork and Seal. Going around the empty plant, seeing the empty train stalls and the deconstructed assembly lines. Row after row of empty lockers of the workers who had lost their jobs.” 

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