Buzz of Irony

May 26th, 2008

I have been at two events with union speakers the last month. At the first, an in plant celebration of the launch of the new Challenger, Jerry Dias, assistant to Buzz Hargrove and, I’m told, the next CAW President, spent his time at the mike taking pot shots at Jim Flaherty. This was a celebratory function. Everyone else talked about the great car, the great company, the great workers. Jerry Dias whined about someone who wasn’t there. I was standing beside a guy who was the head of one of our locals chapters (i.e. chairperson for one of the companies), and he says to me with a roll of the eyes, “classy guy.”

Ten days later I went to the “hurry up, get the vote in during a long weekend, we only have six months to get this done” ratification vote for a new contract. Local bargaining committee is not even in place yet, but we have one day to decide on the contract. So naturally you would assume it would be an informative meeting: you would assume wrong.

Instead CAW economist (and Globe and Mail columnist) Jim Stanford spends over an hour explaining why we had to sign the contract now: note the difference; not why we should like the contract, but justifying the contract they got. The reason they negotiated early, and got us the contract they did: Evil money traders, Stephen Harper, Jim Flaherty. An hour of cheap political shots, very little real information.

I mention these stories to explain to the wife why there’s cornflakes all over the kitchen. It’s Buzz Hargrove’s fault, honey. You see, after these two events, I thought cheap political points where OK, that’s what we do. Then I open todays Toronto Sun and voila:

Cheap shots at Premier McGuinty are unfair


Oh, grow up Buzz!

So when Bob Runciman and Howard Hampton stand in the legislature and question giving money to a company who is laying off a few thousand Ontarians, it’s a cheap shot, and unfair to boot (unfair, by the way, is the official whine of the CAW).

On the other hand, attending a corporate celebration, or an unrelated contract ratification meeting, political thoughts are fair game. But doing so in the legislature, not so fair. Or rather, poking Conservatives in the eye, with other peoples money, is fine. Poking Liberals is cause for another bottle to go with the glazed chicken in truffle sauce.

One thing is becoming clear, I was right three months ago, Buzz is running in the next election, and auto-workers got sold down the river to accommodate that ambition.


Update: Progressive blogger Mack the Hackistan (i.e. Kevin Wilson) has written a piece for Now Magazine Blowing off Buzz.

Auto Industry, CAW, I Love My Job, Wasted Away Again in Buzzistan

  1. Mr. K
    May 26th, 2008 at 13:02 | #1

    Buzz states that General Motors spends upwards of $20 billion per year to build 800,000 vehicles in Ontario annually.

    He then asks “Does anyone possibly believe the Ontario government could force GM, through a one-time $235-million investment, to keep spending $20 billion per year making vehicles that it cannot sell? Get real.”

    By referring back to GM’s total operating budget, Buzz is implying that all of GM’s operations in Ontario might be in play. Since this is not the case, I suspect that Buzz is referring to the total budget, and not the much smaller marginal reduction simply to raise the rhetoric with misleading information.

    Ontario has one of the highest corporate tax rates in Canada, and McGuinty has spurned advise from Minister Flaherty to lower it to help businesses stay competitive, instead opting to spend money on re-training the future unemployed workers displaced by his uncompetitive tax policies.

    Yet, for some reason, Buzz is praising McGuinty and blaming Ottawa.

    Buzz should take his own advice and “Get real.”

  2. Powell lucas
    May 27th, 2008 at 08:14 | #2

    Yeah, poor ol’ Buzz is really hacked at the feds because they wouldn’t follow McGuinty’s lead and pony up $30 million for Ford. Just think…that might have enabled Ontario to rent another 600jobs (Oops, sorry about that…Ford cut 200 jobs elsewhere) 400 jobs to build V8 engines. What? V8 engines? How far sighted of McGuinty! How regressive of the feds!

  3. Mack the Hack
    May 30th, 2008 at 08:52 | #3

    Hey…Buzz isn’t the only one who can use the papers…

    You can link to the story I just wrote in NOW Magazine at my blog,

Comments are closed.