Engineer tells PM: Stop sending Canadian jobs overseas

TORONTO – Retired chemical engineer Ed Farkas has a simple solution for Canada’s job crisis, and he’s written directly to Canada’s 307 Members of Parliament this week to explain. His remedy has the potential to create nearly one million manufacturing jobs, with positive and cascading effects for the Canadian economy.

“My message to Prime Minister Harper and the other MPs,” explains Farkas, “is focus less on international trade deals and more on creating manufacturing jobs here at home. Manufacturing is vital because it adds value and enriches our economy.”

Farkas is concerned about a 50-year trend of sending manufacturing jobs overseas – a trend that is being intensified under the Harper government. Using data from Industry Canada’s website, Farkas noted that since Harper was elected Prime Minister in 2006, Canada’s trade deficit in manufactured goods has nearly tripled to $80 billion in 2010.

“Canada has lost its once thriving base of manufacturing jobs to lower cost overseas markets, thanks to short-sighted decisions on the part of big business and government,” says Farkas. “In 2010, $80 billion of real Canadian wealth left our shores - the equivalent of over $2300 per year for every man, woman and child in Canada.”

He has calculated that if the $80 billion were re-directed into the Canadian economy, it could support nearly one million manufacturing jobs, including wages, overhead, and factory equipment. 

Farkas balks at the “insanity” of sending $80 billion to foreign countries to pay them to do our manufacturing for us, while our own Canadian workers stand in line at unemployment and welfare offices.

He is urging Federal politicians to stop their “alarming” push to negotiate more international trade deals. At the present time Harper is pursuing a trade deal with the European Union and further trade arrangements with China.

“When two countries go into a trade deal, the smaller country always loses. An $80 billion trade deficit is all the proof we need that signing international trade deals has been counterproductive,” argues Farkas. “Instead we should work at home to increase manufacturing and reduce imports.”

He suggests focusing on manufacturing simpler consumer items at first, and over time, as Canada’s manufacturing sector regains 50 years of lost ground, move on to more complex items.

Not only would this approach address Canada’s severe unemployment problem, but it would also offer hope to young adults who presently can’t afford to do typical Canadian things like save money, buy a house and raise a family.

“Our border is open to cheap goods pouring in, and cheap resources going out,” concludes Farkas. “I wonder how bad things will have to get before it becomes clear to all Canadians that we need a complete change of direction.”

To see the text of Farkas’ letter to Canada’s MPs, visit his blog:


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