Ottawa: U.S. Retailer Nordstrom pursues Sears location at Rideau Centre

U.S. luxury department store Nordstrom is looking for a home in Canada. The Aboriginal Radio Network reported on 5 March 2012 that Nordstrom is pursuing Ottawa’s Rideau Centre as one of its new locations in Canada.

Does this mean that Nordstrom also plans to import its reported bad labour practices into Canada? The Seattle Times reported: “Nordstrom did not pay workers for time they spent working off-the-clock, or on their own time, performing such extra tasks as writing thank-you notes to customers, delivering merchandise and stocking shelves.” This resulted in an employee class action lawsuit.

Since that time, Nordstrom has campaigned to change its image, but does "the leopard change its spots" that easily?

Are we as Canadians sacrificing our labour standards and whole quality-of-life for the cheap sizzle that U.S. retailers present us with. What is the state of our national conscience as Canadians who are committed to human rights, if we put up with such U.S. transnational enterprises coming into Canada, without any regard to their labour and human rights practices? Aren’t we also obliged to protect Canadian small business who are the backbone of our economy from potential predatory commercial practices? Such practices end up creating mass-layoffs and socio-economic disenfranchisement.

Are there no standards anymore that we must require for the entry of such foreign enterprises into Canada, that is associated with the affirmation of our values, as Canadians. Is Canada, along with our values for sale... just promise the allure of "luxury" or a few cents-off, and "we're in"? Is there no border that potential foreign intruders must respect that affirms our sense of ethics and quality-of-living?

Nordstrom spokesman Colin Johnson recently told Bloomberg and the Wall Street Journal that the company is scouting a number of sites north of the border for its full-size stores (not its discount arm Nordstrom Rack) in its first foray outside the U.S.

Seattle-based Nordstrom already has a dedicated base of Canadian customers living near border crossings. Canadians also make up the biggest share of Nordstrom's international online shoppers, based upon a report from Sun Media.

Nordstrom joins Target, Victoria's Secret, Kohls and Marshalls in the American retail invasion of Canada. The American retail invasion by multi-billion dollar retailers are pursuing the destruction of Canadian labour laws. These retailers want our Canadian labour laws to become as watered-down as labour laws in the United States.

Industry observers have long speculated that Sears would itself sell some of its leases to Nordstrom or another U.S. department-store merchant, just as Hudson's Bay Co. spun off as many as 220 of its Zellers leases to Target for $1.8 billion last year.

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